Evidenced Based Practices

As a parent or teacher of a child with a disability you are confronted with a large amount of information on interventions without knowing what may be appropriate for your child or student.  Decision making is difficult and no one wants to waste time on interventions that will not lead to adequate progress.

Evidence Base Practices provide a framework for looking at interventions that are accepted, have been reviewed after gathering and analizing data from observations and not based on intuition. Outcomes are results oriented and reproducible when practices are applied with fidelity. Evidence-based practices (EBP) assess functional and educational abilities and are based on a student’s needs and the effect of the intervention is evaluated on an ongoing basis.

Individual with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) focused on scientifically based/ evidence based interventions in it’s mandate:

  1. Scientifically based early reading programs, positive behavioral interventions and supports, and early intervention services to reduce the need to label children as disabled in order to address the learning and behavioral needs of such children.
  2. Pre-service and professional development for all who work with students with disabilities to ensure such personnel have the skills and knowledge necessary to improve the academic achievement and functional performance of children with disabilities, including the use of scientifically based instructional practices to the maximum extent possible.
  3. In determining if a child has a specific learning disability, a local education agency may use a process that determines if a child responds to a scientific, research-based intervention as part of the evaluation procedures.
  4. The Individualized Education Program (IEP) shall include a statement of the special education and related services and supplementary aids and services, based on peer-reviewed research to the extent practicable, to be provided to the child, or on behalf of the child, and a statement of the program modifications or supports for school personnel that will be provided for the child.

Find these transition evidence based practices at 
Kohler, Paula D. “Taxonomy for transition programming.” University of Illinois (1996).

Evidence Base Levels

  • Strong
    • Multiple quality group experimental design studies and/or single subject design studies and sufficient effect sizes from meta-analytic studies.
  • Moderate
    • A few quality group experimental design studies and/or single subject design studies, multiple correlational studies, some systematic synthesis of findings
  • Potential
    • One acceptable quality group experimental design or 1 to 2 high quality single subject designs or 1 to 2 correlational studies.
  • Low
    • Descriptive studies, case studies, program evaluation studies only.


5 Transition – Evidence Based Domains *

1) Student Development – strategies in the areas of life skills instruction, career and vocational curricula, structured work experience, assessment, and support services.

  • Strong
    • Teaching Functional Life Skills
    • Teaching Purchasing Skills
    • Teaching Self-Advocacy Skills
    • Teaching Self-Determination Skills
  • Moderate
    • Teaching Functional Reading/Math Skills
    • Teaching Independent Living (banking, cooking, food preparation, grocery shopping, recreation, etc.) skills.
    • Teaching life skills via community-based instruction
    • Teaching job-related social/communication skills
    • Teaching job specific employment skills.
    • Teaching job application skills
    • Teaching self-management for employment skills

2) Student-Focused Planning – practices in the areas of IEP development, student participation in planning, and planning strategies.

  • Strong
    • Teaching self-advocacy skills
    • Teaching self-determination skills
  • Moderate
    • Involving students in transition planning meetings.

3) Interagency Collaboration – practices in the areas of collaborative frameworks and collaborative service delivery (No practices identified at this time).

  • Potential

o   Establishing a multi-level system of interagency collaboration

o   Reduce systems barriers to collaboration between secondary and postsecondary environments.

4) Family Involvement – practices in family training, family involvement, and family empowerment (No practices identified at this time).

  • Moderate
    • Parent/Family attendance at IEP meetings
  • Potential
    • Family training in transition and secondary education topics
    • Providing educators for strategies for working with culturally and linguistically diverse populations

5) Program Structure – practices in program philosophy, policy and evaluation, strategic planning, resource allocation, and human resource development.

  • Moderate
    • Providing community-based instruction
    • Plan programs and curricula that are outcome-based and meet individual student needs
    • Extend services beyond secondary to post-school environments
    • Work experience during school years, either through school or holding a part time job
    • Participation in regular academic program
  • Potential
    • Specific school dropout prevention programs (check-and-connect)