Early Childhood Education Journal

, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 97–105 | Cite as

Coaching in Early Education Classrooms Serving Children with Autism: A Pilot Study

  • Kaitlyn P. WilsonEmail author
  • Jessica R. Dykstra
  • Linda R. Watson
  • Brian A. Boyd
  • Elizabeth R. Crais


Coaching is gaining attention as a promising professional development approach in early education. However, in practice, many adult educators continue to rely on methods with inconsistent effectiveness, such as one-time trainings and workshops. In addition, there is limited evidence supporting the use of specific coaching models in early education. This article describes the development and pilot study of a coaching model developed to support early education teams in implementation of the supplemental intervention for preschoolers with autism, Advancing Social-communication and Play (ASAP). Two early education teams were assigned to each of the following groups: those who received ASAP training, those who received ASAP training and coaching, and a control group that received no support related to the intervention. Through descriptive analysis of qualitative and quantitative data, preliminary results of this pilot study suggest the coaching model impacted teams’ collaborative practices and adherence to key elements of the intervention approach. Implications and practical applications are outlined for early education professionals and researchers who may implement coaching to support intervention efforts for students with autism.


Coaching Professional development Adult education Autism Intervention 



The research reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R324B070056 to UNC-Chapel Hill. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education. We would also like to acknowledge the practitioners, children, and families who participated and provided feedback throughout the development process.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kaitlyn P. Wilson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jessica R. Dykstra
    • 1
  • Linda R. Watson
    • 1
  • Brian A. Boyd
    • 2
  • Elizabeth R. Crais
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Speech and Hearing SciencesUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Division of Occupational Science and Occupational TherapyUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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