The Autism Equal Access Project was a 2-year long project funded by the WA-State Attorney General’s Office and addressed the needs of the many non-English speaking families-of-color who have children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The Autism Equal Access Project provided opportunities for multicultural families of children with ASD, who had not received information and treatment due to cultural or language barriers.

Programs offered were primarily targeted toward the most diverse areas in South King County, but families in other areas also benefited. The project will provided parent training and support, as well as training for ethnic service providers and medical interpreters to better understand and assist families of children with ASD. Materials were translated into at least six languages. Open Doors Family Support Specialists, board members, and community volunteers assisted families by utilizing their native languages and understandings of cultural needs.

Contemporary information about this program is archived below.

The Autism Equal Access Project will work to create “equal access” in 4 areas for families of diverse cultural backgrounds:

1: Access to Knowledge about Autism

  • Organize and direct training for diverse parents of children with autism, educators, service providers and interpreters
  • Ongoing parent support groups, specific to individual community needs

PARENT EDUCATION WORKSHOPS on Autism-related topics:

Autism 101 – 10/5/2013

IEP and Special Education Law – 5/3/2014

Autism & Anxiety – 9/27/2014

ABA Therapy Knowledge – 10/25/2014

Use of ABA to Assess and Treat Disruptive Behaviors – 11/15/2014

TRAINING WORKSHOPS FOR PROFESSIONALS on Autism and disability awareness:

Certified Medical Interpreters Training – 12/7/2013

Social Service Provider Training – 9/17/2014

2: Access to Assistive Technology

  • Provide iPads and iPad training workshops to qualifying families of children with Autism

In partnership with Federal Way Public schools, we identified 40 students qualified for iPads and iPad accessories, with communication apps that were specific to the IEP communication goals. Parents attended monthly iPad training classes from January to June 2014 to learn how to use iPads and the recommended communication apps. There will be ongoing parent group meetings from July to December 2014 for parents to continue learning how to use iPads for their child’s communication needs.

3: Access to Safe Environments

  • Parent training workshop on creating safe and healthy environments for families of children with Autism
  • Work with community members to help repair damaged property for families

We invited speaker George Braddock, the CEO of Creative Solutions (based in OR), to conduct a 6 hour parent workshop (3/29/2014) on how to create safe and healthy home environments for families of children with Autism.

4: Access to ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapy treatment

  • Work with Open Doors Family Support Specialists to assist Medicaid eligible families to access ABA therapy and learn more about implementing ABA therapy practices in the home

Program Photos

The Autism Equal Access Project Signing Ceremony

‘Autism Knowledge’ Parent Workshop by Seattle Children’s Autism Center 10/5/2013

‘Safe & Healthy Home Environments’ by George Braddock Parent Workshop 3/29/2014

‘Advocacy for Students with IEP’ by Barbara Ransom, Esq. Parent Workshop 5/3/2014

‘Use of ABA to Assess and Treat Disruptive Behaviors’ by Eric Boelter, Ph.D BCBA-D, Seattle Children’s Parent Workshop 11/15/2014

In August/September of 2014, in collaboration with Ivy Chung, M.Ed BCBA (Sum of Learning), 40 hours of ABA Therapist Training was provided to bilingual professionals working with children with Autism.

Program Sponsors

iPad: Seattle was designed to provide training to culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) families with children with Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) attending Seattle Public Schools, to use iPads as assistive technology for communication needs.

The overall goals were to increase parents’ knowledge and skills, as well as students’ skills on using iPads and iPad communication apps. 10 Seattle Public School Special Education students met the requirements of the Autism Equal Access Project iPad Program, according to their Individualized Education Plan (IEP) communication goals. iPads, iPad apps and accessories were provided at no cost to these 10 CLD Seattle Public school students in Special Education and the training necessary for parents and students to use these iPads effectively for communication needs.

Recommendations for appropriate communication apps and whether iPads are suitable assistive technology devices were led by Seattle Public School Assistive Technology team. A commitment to full participation was required from all participating parents.

In April – August 2015, parents of eligible students participated in 12 hours of iPad training classes and 6 hours of parent-child play group sessions. Parents and students also received support in their homes on using iPads and iPad communication apps over a 4-month period. Each visit consisted of providing any necessary support on using iPads and specific communication apps to parents with their child present, as well as getting a better understanding of how to support CLD families more effectively when using iPads. Home visits provided opportunities for parents to try what they learned in class with their children, with the direct support of ODMF. This ensured that parents understood the training content, in order to increase their knowledge on using iPads and iPad communication apps.

With the cultural and language support of bilingual ODMF Family Support Staff Specialists and the technical support through STAR Center staff, these CLD families will increase their knowledge and skills in using iPads to communicate more effectively with their children with ASD.

Some communication apps that were used for this project were:

Proloquo2go; Touch Chat; First Then Visual Schedule; Choiceworks; Pictello

This project was supported by

City of Seattle Technology Matching Fund


The Office of Attorney General of Washington

In collaboration with

The STAR of Seattle