NJDOE Releases Updated Autism Program Quality Indicators

September 21, 2023

Autism New Jersey served on the professional advisory panel

Earlier this month, the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) released the revised New Jersey Autism Program Quality Indicators (APQI-R), a self-assessment and quality improvement guide for public and private school-based programs serving students with autism in Preschool through Grade 12. Autism New Jersey was honored to inform the updates to this guidance as selected members of the NJDOE’s APQI Advisory Panel.

The 2023 APQI-R replaces the original guidance publication from 2004 and establishes an updated set of evidence-based practices for effective programming and instruction for students with autism. The document improves upon the previous version by expanding the specific recommendations across three (3) categories of grade spans:

  • Early Childhood (PreK)
  • School Age (grades K-5)
  • Youth (grades 6-12)

Within each category, there are two (2) domains: Program Considerations and Student Considerations

  • Program Considerations outline best practices for learning environments, personnel, curriculum, assessment, instructional methods, family engagement, and community collaboration.
  • Student Considerations provide guidance on developing Individual Education Programs (IEPs) for students with autism and address challenging behaviors, program options and transitions, and individual progress review and monitoring.

To meet the diverse needs of learners, the APQI-R provides recommendations that can be incorporated across educational settings, including self-contained programs, inclusion, and general education. The revised guidance takes into consideration inclusive program practices and acknowledges the importance of diversity, cultural competency, and implicit bias in developing autism programming for the whole child.

The NJDOE will host five information sessions between September and December to support the effective implementation of the APQI-R in schools.

Dr. Amanda Philp, Ph.D., BCBA-D, from NJDOE’s Office of Special Education, will also present an APQI-R workshop at Autism New Jersey’s 41st Annual Autism Conference on Friday, October 20, 2023. Dr. Philp’s presentation will provide an overview of the APQI-R framework, highlight the 2023 updates to the framework, and showcase evidence-based practices that contribute to program effectiveness and positive outcomes for students with autism. APQI-R workshop attendees will gain valuable insights to understand how the APQI-R can guide their efforts to enhance the quality of autism programs.