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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ACT SMART toolkit?

The ACT SMART toolkit is a web-based, comprehensive toolkit developed for agencies that provide services to children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ACT SMART assists Implementation Teams to successfully implement new research-based treatments throughout the agency. Specifically, the four phases of ACT SMART will:

  • Assists your agency’s Implementation Team to identify training and service delivery gaps and select research-based treatments to meet agency-wide needs.
  • Facilitate treatment adoption decisions.
  • Guide your agency’s Implementation Team to design effective training and use effective implementation strategies.
  • Support efforts that will sustain the use of research-based treatments.

How will ACT SMART benefit my agency?

The ACT SMART toolkit aims to help your agency grow and meet the needs of your current and future clients. This toolkit will provide you with a comprehensive assessment of your agency’s areas of strengths and areas for growth, and provide recommendations for your agency. It will also provide structure for your agency evaluate whether a treatment should be adopted, provide planning tools related to adapting, training, and implementing a new research-based treatment, and support your agency as staff begin to use the treatment.

Who should Use ACT SMART?

ACT SMART was explicitly developed for use by community agencies providing services to individuals with ASD. It was designed for use among a variety of ASD providers, such as behavioral service providers, speech and language pathologists, and mental health service providers.

Why was ACT SMART Developed?

This toolkit was developed to improve the process of implementing research-based treatments for individuals with ASD in community-based agencies. Our research and collaboration with community agency leaders suggests that most ASD community agencies do not have a systematic method for identifying treatment and training needs, matching research-based treatments to specific needs, or supporting initial training, implementation or sustained use over time. ASD community-based agencies play an integral role in addressing the developmental and behavioral problems, and core challenges that are common in ASD. Therefore, it is important that agencies have the tools necessary to efficiently and effectively implement research-based treatments.

How was ACT SMART Developed?

ACT SMART was developed with funding from the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) and in partnership with a team of community agency leaders (AMI Collaborative group). The AMI Collaborative group is comprised of 8 community providers delivering behavioral, speech and language, and mental health services to individuals with ASD, an implementation scientist, and several researchers. The AMI Collaborative group has met quarterly for a year and a half to develop the specific tools within this ACT SMART toolkit. Together, we integrated current procedures used by ASD community-based agencies to adopt and implement research-based treatments and available literature on implementation models and strategies to develop the ACT SMART materials.

What is the purpose of this study?

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, usefulness, and fidelity of the ACT SMART toolkit to determine whether it fits within your agency’s structure and helps to meet your agency’s needs.

How much time will ACT SMART really take?

We recommend that Implementation Teams spend at least 2 hours a month on ACT SMART web-based activities and an additional hour for the ACT SMART facilitation meetings (approximately 36 hours during the course of the year). However, the total amount of time that your agency’s Implementation Team spends on the ACT SMART activities will vary based on the number of members on the Implementation Team, how much planning is required, and the size of your agency. Research activities related to the study will take approximately 6½ hours throughout the year.