Project DATA Model for Teaching Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

This training is designed for teachers to successfully support students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in their classrooms. The goal of the Project DATA Model is to provide a school-based program for young children with ASD and related disorders that is effective, meets the needs of its consumers (e.g., families and school personnel), is acceptable to consumers, and is sustainable. Therefore, this training focuses on building capacity of teachers to support preschoolers with ASD in learning to be more independent in school and community settings. School-readiness skills such as attention to teachers and materials, following directions, social skills, and independent use of school materials are a focus of the Project DATA model and are the primary focus of this training.

Includes 6 clock hours


Instructor Bios:

Dr. Ilene Schwartz is a professor and chair in the Area of Special Education at the University of Washington and the Director of the Haring Center for Research and Training in Education at UW. She earned her Ph.D. in child and developmental psychology from the University of Kansas and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA-D). Dr. Schwartz has an active research and professional training agenda with primary interests in the area of autism, inclusive education, and the sustainability of educational interventions. She regularly conducts trainings for early childhood professionals in the area of autism, social-emotional learning, and positive behavior support. 

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Julie Ashmun has an M.Ed., with an emphasis in early childhood special education, and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). She began working in childcare centers and preschool classrooms in 1995. She has been a Project DATA (Developmentally Appropriate Treatment for Autism) teacher and coordinator, a professional development research assistant and trainer, a family resource coordinator, and is currently an education specialist with the Professional Development and Training Team at the University of Washington’s Haring Center. Julie specializes in working with children with neurodevelopmental delays, including autism, and has worked with families and educators. Her research focuses on assessment and intervention practices for inclusive school-based programs for children with special needs, including autism spectrum disorders. 

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Kristen Mengistu (Men-giss [rhymes with “kiss”]-too) has an MEd with an emphasis in Early Childhood Special Education and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She has been working with children on the autism spectrum and other developmental disabilities for over ten years. She is currently a headteacher in the Haring Center’s Project DATA classroom and has been working in that role since 2011. Prior to that, Kristen has worked as a supervisor of home ABA programs and a consultant in school districts, supporting students with behavioral or learning challenges. Kristen is passionate about using a family-centered approach to supporting students and enjoys working with families from diverse backgrounds to help children reach their fullest potential. 

If you have questions or comments, please contact the Haring Center Professional Development and Training team at