What are they?

The Virginia Autism Council believes that paraprofessionals and professionals must respect the individual’s and family’s beliefs, traditions, values and cultures when supporting people with autism.  It is imperative that hopes, dreams and desires drive program development. The Virginia Autism Council intends for the Competencies to be used within a person-centered approach, keeping the individual at the center of all program planning and development.

What are the skill competencies?

The skill competencies were developed to guide personnel development of professionals and paraprofessionals supporting individuals with autism and their families across the lifespan from early intervention through adult services in the Commonwealth of Virginia. These competencies focus on assessment of individual needs and program planning rather than on the diagnosis of autism. However, this list is not comprehensive of all competencies that professionals should have.  Instead, the list includes those competencies that are specific, unique, and/or critical to successfully serving individuals with an autism spectrum disorder.

What is the intended use of the skill competencies?

The competencies can be used in several ways to:

  • assist providers in identifying their areas of need for professional development;
  • guide development of a program that would strictly address the needs of people who plan on working with children and adults with autism;
  • guide the development of university-based classes to augment existing programs;
  • serve as a framework to incorporate into existing programmatic instruction, if universities or others preparing paraprofessionals or professionals consider additional program or class development not practical; and
  • guide training and staff development for direct service staff that serve individuals with autism.