Educational Psychological Counselling and Collective Competence Improvement Related to Autism/Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

Main Article Content

Kamil Özerk Elise Öksendal Meral Özerk


A collective Competence Improvement Project (CIP) was conducted for educational psychological counselors (n=5) along with teachers (n=11), special education teachers (n=7), and child and youth workers (n=11). All of the participants were involved in the training and teaching of children with autism/ASD in a small municipality in Norway. The CIP focused primarily on competence improvement in the participants’ overall knowledge and theoretical conceptions about autism/ASD. Additionally, other goals included competence improvement in Discrete Trial Teaching (DTT), Pivotal Response Training (PRT), and Social Stories™ (SS). The results demonstrate that the CIP contributed to improvements in some of these targeted areas but not in all. Educational psychological counsellors and special education teachers benefited more and satisfactorily from the CIP than teachers and child and youth workers (CYWs). It is now clear that achieving significant improvement in competency does not necessarily equate to satisfactory improvement. Additionally, improving the professionals’ theoretical knowledge is important, but it does not necessary lead to improving their operational knowledge--their capacity for implementing their knowledge in practice. This paper presents the background, implementation, and results of the CIP, and it closes with a discussion of the findings and conclusions about their implications for future CIPs and research.

Article Details

How to Cite
ÖZERK, Kamil; ÖKSENDAL, Elise; ÖZERK, Meral. Educational Psychological Counselling and Collective Competence Improvement Related to Autism/Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). INTERNATIONAL ELECTRONIC JOURNAL OF ELEMENTARY EDUCATION, [S.l.], v. 10, n. 3, p. 339-354, jan. 2018. ISSN 1307-9298. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 26 may 2018.


Baron-Cohen, S., Scott, F. J., Allison, C., Williams, J., Bolton, P., Matthews, F. E. & Brayne, C. (2009). Prevalence of autism-spectrum conditions: UK school-based population study. The British Journal of Psychiatry. 194, pp 500–509. DOI:10.1192/bjp.bp.108.059345.
Cardinal, D. & Griffiths, A-J. (2016). Summary of findings. Report presented at the Inagural Disability Summit. Orange: Chapman University, Thompson Policy Institute.
Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E. & Heward, W. L. (2007). Applied behavior Analysis. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Merrill Prentice Hall.
Darling-Hammond, L. & Sykes, G. (1999). Teaching as the learning profession. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
Darling-Hammond, L., Wie, R., Andree, A., Richardson, N., & Orphanos, S. (2009). Professional learning in the learning profession. Washington, DC: National Staff Development Council.
Fombonne, E., Quirke, S., & Hagen, A. (2011). Epidemiology of pervasive developmental disorders. In D. G. Amaral, G. Dawson, & D. H. Geschwind (Eds.), Autism spectrum disorders. New York: Oxford University Press.
Frea, W. D. & Vittimberga, G. L. (2000). Behavioral interventions for children with autism. In J. Austin & J.E. Carr (Eds.), Handbook of Applied Behavior Analysis. Reno, NV: Context Press.
Fullan, M. G. (1992). Successful School Improvement. Buckingham: Open University Press.
Gundersen, T. og Hem K-G (2005). Brukerundersøkelse blant personer med diagnose innen autismespekteret. Erfaringer med Autismenettverket- 09-15 STF78 A054504.
Kasari, C., Dean, M., Kretzmann, M., Shih, W., Orlich, F., Whitney, R., Landa, R., Lord, C. & King, B. (2015). Children with autism spectrum disorder and social skills groups at school: A randomized trial comparing intervention approach and peer composition. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines. DOI: 10.1111/jcpp.12460 Koegel, L.K, Kuriakose. S., Singh, A.K & Koegel, R. L (2012). Improving generalization of peer socialization gains in inclusive school settings using initiations training. Behavior Modification 36(3), 361-77. DOI: 10.1177/0145445512445609.
Koegel, R.L., Kim, S. & Koegel, L.K. (2014). Training Paraprofessionals to Improve Socialization in Students with ASD. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. Volume 44, Issue 9, pp 2197–2208.
Matson, J. L. & Kozlowski, A. M., (2011). The increasing prevalence of autism spectrum disorders. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 5, 418-424.
Ministry of Education and Research (2006): National Curriculum for Knowledge Promotion in Primary and Secondary Education and Training 2006.
The National Autism Center’s (2009): The national standards project—Addressing the Need for Evidence-based Practice Guidelines for Autism Spectrum Disorders, Randolph, MA: The National Autism Center.
National Autistic Society (2006). Accessed 03.03.2016).
Özerk, M. and Özerk, K. (2013). Autisme og pedagogikk. (Autism and Pedagogy). Oslo: Cappelen Damm Akademisk.
Özerk, K. (2016): The Issue of Prevalence of Autism/ASD. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, 9 (2), 263-306.
Stoltenberg, C., Schjølberg, S., Bresnahan, M., Hornig, M., Hirtz, D., Dahl, C.,Lie, K.K. Reichborn-Kjennerud, T., Schreuder, P., Alsaker, E., Øyen, A-S., Magnus, P., Surén, P., Susser, E. & Lipkin, W.I. & The ABC Study Group (2010). The Autism Birth Cohort: a paradigm for gene–environment–timing research. Molecular Psychiatry 15, 676–680.
Surén, P., Bakken, I.J., Aase, H,, Chin, R., Gunnes. N., Lie, K.K., Magnus. P., Reichborn- Kjennerud, T., Schjølberg, S., Øyen, A-S. & Stoltenberg, C. (2012). Autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, epilepsy, and cerebral palsy in Norwegian children. Pediatrics 130: 152 – 158.
Zablotsky, B., Black,L. I., Maenner, M.J., Schieve, L.A, Blumberg, S. J. (2015). Estimated Prevalence of Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities Following Questionnaire Changes in the 2014 National Health Interview Survey. National Health Statistics Reports nr 87, 13th of November, 2015. Hyattsville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).