Current Research Studies

Autism - RUBIES in Educational Settings

Condition or Therapy:

Autism Spectrum Disorder, Disruptive Behavior


Autism Center

What is the goal of this study?

Do paraeducators like the new RUBIES Program? (e.g., the content of RUBIES, the training in RUBIES, etc.) Do paraeducators find RUBIES helpful, easy to learn, easy to use, and useful in their school and with their students who have challenging behaviors? When a paraeducator uses RUBIES, does it help with reducing challenging student behaviors in the classroom?

The proposed three-year pilot randomized trial aims to test the effectiveness of the newly-redesigned paraeducator-delivered RUBI for use in Educational Settings (RUBIES) intervention compared to usual care training in reducing disruptive behavior in 80 elementary-school children with ASD. Given the critical need to understand not just whether, but also how interventions work, this study also will examine paraeducator-and child-level mechanistic pathways of the RUBIES intervention.

View the study flyer here.

Who can join the study?

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Paraeducators must be employed by the school district and work directly with children with ASD in the classroom at their school.
    Students with ASD will be included if they:
    1. Have a documented ASD diagnosis and a Social Responsiveness Scale-2 total raw score > 70 for males and 65 for females;
    2. are enrolled in a Kindergarten-5th grade general or special education classroom and participate in a general education classroom for a minimum of 4 hours/week;
    3. have a participating paraeducator;
    4. have a teacher-rated Aberrant Behavior Checklist-Irritability (ABC-I) subscale score >15; and
    5. have a stable educational plan and placement.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Paraeducator is not supporting a student with autism in a general education classroom
  • Student does not have a diagnosis of ASD or elevated disruptive behavior problems

What will happen if my child takes part in this study?

If paraeducator and student qualify for the study, they would then be randomized to receive training in the RUBIES program or the Autism 101 Psychoeducation program.

Both RUBIES and the Autism 101 Psychoeducation program involve eight 45 to 60-minute training sessions over 12 weeks. Participants would be followed in the study for up to 24 weeks.

At the start of the study (after being randomized to RUBIES or Autism 101), paraeducators in both groups would then be asked to complete a demographic survey as well as two questionnaires. Participants would be asked to repeat these two questionnaires at 2 additional time points (Weeks 12 and 24 of the study).

If a participant is randomized to the Autism 101 training, the sessions would be pre-recorded webinars that participants can view at their convenience over the course of the 12 weeks as well as two "live" (via zoom) meetings with study therapists, to provide an opportunity to ask the therapist questions about materials covered in the webinars. The two "live" (via zoom) meetings will also be video recorded.

If a participant is randomized to the RUBIES training, the sessions would be "live" and run using a web-based platform like Zoom or Microsoft Teams. These sessions would be video recorded. The sessions would be scheduled at a time that is convenient to participants. Sessions may be individual or group, depending on availability of other paraeducators. Participants would receive a RUBIES workbook to work through during the training and would be given practice assignments at the end each session to try with their student during school. At the end of the study (by Week 24), participants would be asked to complete a 30-minute interview with study staff to learn about experiences with the RUBIES program.

Who can I contact for more information?

Richard Torres

If you are interested in enrolling, please fill out our educator screener survey or parent screener survey.

Study Location(s):


Principal Investigator:

Karen Bearss, PhD