Saudi National Professional Development Program on Autism Spectrum Disorder

Saudi National Professional Development Program on Autism Spectrum Disorder:


Our Goal

Is to provide the materials, technical assistance and essential techniques to help develop the teachers, therapists, and technical assistants who work with individuals with ASD using evidence-based practices and improve the environment in the best possible way.

Program Description

Saudi National Professional Development Program on Autism Spectrum Disorder (SNPDP-ASD) is in collaboration with Autism Speaks, New York, USA and the National Professional Development Center (NPDC) of the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA. CFAR is developing a network of connected local Autism centers and schools to work together to provide high quality services for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

Since 2012, the Saudi National Professional Development Program on Autism Spectrum Disorder. (SNPDP-ASD) has achieved to develop free professional support for teachers, therapists, and technical assistance providers who work with individuals with ASD. Support includes detailed information on how to plan, implement, and monitor specific evidence-based practices. During the past five years, SNPDP-ASD worked with Jeddah Autism Center (JAC) and collaborated with the 51st elementary school as part of the program. Moreover, the SNPDP-ASD team is in contact with other centers in the Kingdom to start the professional development program at their site.

The mission of the SNPDP-ASD is to increase the number of highly qualified personnel serving children and youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder through the promotion of evidence-based practices, and by implementing sustainable, outcome-based professional development and technical assistance that optimize the use of resources through the following:

  • Promoting evidence-base practices for early identification, intervention, and education that produce optimal child (infancy to 22 years) and family outcomes.
  • Providing sustainable, outcome-based professional development and technical assistance that optimize resources.
  • Establishing model programs that showcase evidence base practices (EBP).
  • Evaluating/measuring child, family, practitioner, and system level outcome.


it's an adaptation of NPDC in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia


Selection of an EBP begins with assessing four elements:
  • Program quality
  • Learner goals
  • Family and learner strengths and history
  • Team members experience and knowledge.
1. Program Quality
The Autism Program Environment Rating Scale (APERS) is designed to assess quality indicators of programs for children and youth with ASD. The 10 domain, 60+ item instrument is available in two versions: one for the preschool/elementary grades and one for the middle/high school grades. The APERS requires certification training to ensure validity, therefore the instrument is not publically available.
2. Learner Goals
Teachers and other team members work together to select priority goals from the learners’ Individualized Education Program (IEP) or Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) to address. Next, the team determines whether the goals are observable and measureable and, if necessary, modify the goal statement. Data are collected to fully understand and describe the learner’s present level of performance relative to the goal. See the Outcomes component for information about how the Goal Attainment Scaling (GAS) is used to monitor progress.
3. Family and Learner
There are four areas for consideration when identifying EBPs for individual learners:
  1. learning style
  2. temperament
  3. interest and motivators
  4. history of what has and has not worked.
This information about the learner is important to gather in order to individualize the intervention. Also, the family may be a resource for the teacher/team for continuing the intervention while not at school and for information that would encourage the school to consider a practice that is already being implemented in the home.
4. Team Members
The selection of an EBP needs to take into consideration the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the teaching staff. For example, it would be important to consider if there are staff trained in Picture Exchange Communication Systems (PECS) if considering the use of this EBP. Consider who in the program can implement the chosen practice with fidelity. If no one, then determine if other resources are available to implement an EBP with fidelity.


The implementation step involves selecting and using the practice.

Matching the intent of the goal with an instructional domain is a good place to start when selecting an EBP. For example, if the goal is targeting social-communication, you might want to refer to the NPDC Age and Domain matrix (see below) as a first step in identifying those EBPs targeted by the research literature for the age of the student and the domain of instruction. While this format provides professionals with information on which practices might be useful in targeting certain skills, it is not meant to be restrictive. Teams are encouraged to begin the selection process by identifying a single EBP to use with an individual goal. This is especially helpful for teams who are hesitant about the process and/or less confident in their teaching skills. However few practices are used in isolation. Prompting and reinforcement, for example, are used in almost all of the other practices.


What are Evidence-Based Practices?

Many interventions exist for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Yet, scientific research has found only some of these interventions to be effective. The interventions that researchers have shown to be effective are called evidence-based practices (EBPs). One reason for using EBPs is because, by law, teaching practices must be based on evidence of effectiveness. Evidence Based Practices

Self-learning Materials

The selected EBP will need to be implemented with fidelity. Several professional development and coaching resources are available for professionals to ensure implementation fidelity.

The following self learning materials are currently available:

  • Summative information for each practice is available in the Evidence-based Practices section. These are called “practice briefs” and contain an overview of the practice, step-by-step instructions for implementation, implementation (fidelity) checklists, evidence base, and sample data collection sheets.
  • The Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Toddler Initiative expanded the work conducted by the NPDCs by creating additional module resources on EBPs for young children (brith-3) and their families. These learning materials include practice scenarios for how to use the practice in home- and center-based settings and lead the learner through the three-step process of using each practice. ASD Toddler
  • The Center on Secondary Education for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (CSESA) has developed online case studies to supplement resources developed by the NPDC. These case studies apply specific evidence-based practices to high school students with ASD. High School Case Studies
  • The NPDC developed content for online modules for many EBPs for the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI). The Autism Internet Modules (AIM) website features content on these EBPs as well as on other topics of interest such as assessment and identification, characteristics, transition to adulthood, and employment. Autism Internet Modules


Educators and professionals need to evaluate the outcomes of individual learners to determine if the EBP was successful in addressing the goal or if a different EBP needs to be selected.

Monitoring Progress

The Goal Attainment Scaling (GAS) assists with monitoring the progress of learning a skill or modifying a behavior of a learner. At regular points throughout the academic year, learner progress is gauged using the GAS. An important part of the GAS process is establishing the present level of performance so that the benchmarks that are set toward acheiving the goal or outcome are specific, clear, and observable. The final rating summarizes the learner’s progress relative to the expected annual goal or outcome. If a learner is not benefiting from the selected EBP, a new EBP can be selected and implemented.

Goal Attainment Scaling PowerPoint:Sample GAS Forms (PDF)

Data Collection

Likewise, in monitoring progress toward achieving the student goal, data collected, recorded, and analyzed.

If a learner is not benefiting from the selected EBP, a new EBP can be selected and implemented.


Coaching is a key ingredient of the SNPDP-ASD model to enhance the implementation of EBPs, facilitate the assessment of learners, and to evaluate the effectiveness of selected EBPs. The NPDC has created a Coaching Manual, Coaching Logs, a Coaching Presentation, and Coaching videos to support the use of coaching.

Participation in the Program:

To request for your school or center to be part of the SNPDP-ASD program, please send a formal letter stating your request to the following email address:

This Program is for:


Program Training Registration:
Enrollment into this Program is currntly closed

The program affiliation(s)