A Comprehensive School-Based Intervention for High-Functioning Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Marcus L. Thomeer

Christopher Lopata

Institute for Autism Research, Canisius College, 2001 Main Street, Buffalo NY, 14208

Publication date: 08/01/2018

Citation: Thomeer, M. L., & Lopata, C. (2018). schoolMAX - A comprehensive school-based intervention for high-functioning students with autism spectrum disorder: Program manual. www.canisius.edu/schoolMAX.


schoolMAX, was developed to address the unique social-cognitive and social skills/behavior impairments of high-functioning elementary school students with autism spectrum disorder (HFASD). Recognizing the multiple symptoms that characterize HFASD, schoolMAX is a comprehensive treatment comprised of multiple treatment components targeting multiple domains and applied intensely for an extended period of time and at a specified level of engagement. schoolMAX components use instructional techniques that adhere to a cognitive-behavioral framework.

The five core intervention components in schoolMAX include:

1. Intensive social skill groups;

2. Therapeutic activities;

3. Individualized Daily Note;

4. Mind Reading computer instruction;

5. Parent education/training groups.

Because the schoolMAX program is implemented across the school year by members of the student’s educational teams (i.e., teachers, related service professionals, aides), it also includes a protocol for the provision of ongoing consultation and regular team meetings to ensure the intervention is coordinated across interventionists and settings. Lastly, the schoolMAX program includes a system for monitoring fidelity of implementation of the components as well as the student’s progress.

Development and testing of schoolMAX was supported by United States Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences grants R324A080136 and RA24A130216.