Children’s Hospital of Colorado expands access to free online teacher training to help students with ASD and ADHD improve executive functioning skills

ByMike V. Cooper

Sep 15, 2022

Aurora, CO- A free online training for teachers and parents, designed to improve the executive functioning of elementary school-aged children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), is now available. available nationwide. The availability of this training is possible due to

to a $2 million contract awarded to the Children’s Hospital Colorado (Children’s Colorado) Pediatric Mental Health Institute by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) in 2020. A team from Children’s Colorado, Children’s National Hospital and from the Institute for Innovation and Implementation at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, is working to implement a successful online training and remote support system for the Unstuck and On Target (UOT) program for any parent or educator who needs it.

Since 2020, this team has piloted UOT video training with 293 school staff in 230 elementary schools in Colorado and Virginia. The work follows a related PCORI-funded research project, Improve classroom behaviors in students with symptoms of autism spectrum disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorderled by researchers from Children’s Colorado. This project demonstrated the effectiveness of UOT in improving executive functioning—or frontal lobe skills, including flexible thinking, planning, and self-control—of school-aged children in Title 1 schools. .

“Through our initial research, we found that the classroom behaviors of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder improved markedly when a teacher implemented Unstuck Groups. and On Target,” said Laura Anthony, PhD, Colorado child psychologist, professor of psychology. at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and principal investigator. “Making a video version of this training accessible and free to educators around the world is a dream come true. This is a huge achievement for this research team, and we would like to congratulate the school districts and educators who are already taking advantage of these invaluable resources. There are many children who need Unstuck in every school, and we hope this training will make it easier for them to receive it. »

In developing the online teacher training, the team did not alter the content and procedures of the manual UOT curriculum. Instead, it moved proven UOT School Staff Training content from an in-person platform to an online platform. Completion of the new training will also allow teachers to earn related continuing education credits.

“The Institute has been honored to produce and host the UOT Elementary School Teacher Training,” said Meredith Gunn, PhD, MSW, director of instructional design and media at the Institute for Innovation. and implementation. “The participating teachers overwhelmingly responded positively to the overall impact and importance of this training. In the words of one educator, “I deeply appreciate how this program understands and values ​​the importance of student input into its plans and development of coping strategies. »

In addition to creating more accessible training for educators, the team has created free short videos highlighting tips and tricks on executive functioning that parents can use at home. These videos, rated by 100 parents and revised based on their feedback, are now available to parents nationwide.

“These free, accessible, and effective tools for improving children’s social-emotional development build skills that are more important today than ever,” said Lauren Kenworthy, PhD, director of the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders at Children’s National Hospital. “The vast majority (96%) of caregivers and educators found these tools useful and relevant. These comments are a testament to our team’s efforts to ensure that these resources have been created and validated as usable, accessible and actionable for all who need them.

Many school districts, whether rural or low-income, do not have access to clinics offering services to support executive functional skills, such as planning and flexibility, which children with ASD and of ADHD often need. Now, UOT training is online and accessible, so any school with internet access can offer UOT where school staff (including special educators, teachers, paraprofessionals and counselors) can actively teach students how to plan, set goals and be flexible. The team’s next goal is to create a comparable training video for the high school version of UOT.

For educators – Find resources at, including links to free trainings, tips and tricks, and FAQs.

For the parents – Find resources on Unstuck and On Target YouTube

For schools – Add the free parenting videos to relevant school district websites, landing pages and newsletters:


Colorado Children’s Hospital is one of the largest and most expansive pediatric health care systems in the nation, with a mission to improve the health of children through patient care, education, research and advocacy. Founded in 1908 and recognized as one of the top ten hospitals for children by U.S. News & World Report, Children’s Colorado has established itself as a pioneer in the discovery of innovative and revolutionary treatments that are shaping the future of pediatric health care in the world. Children’s Colorado provides a full range of family-centered care at its urgent, urgent, and specialty care centers throughout Colorado, including its location at the Anschutz Medical Campus and throughout the region. In 2019, Children’s Hospital Colorado, Colorado Springs opened as the first pediatric-only hospital in southern Colorado. For more information, visit, or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Children’s Hospital Colorado abides by applicable federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate based on race, color, national origin, age, disability, or gender.

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The Children’s National Hospital, based in Washington, DC, was established in 1870 to help every child grow stronger. Today it is the fifth largest children’s hospital in the country. It is ranked #1 for newborn care for the sixth consecutive year and ranked in all specialties rated by US News & World Report. Children’s National is transforming pediatric medicine for all children. The Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus opened in 2021, a one-of-a-kind pediatric center dedicated to developing new and better ways to care for children. Children’s National has been named Magnet three times in a row® hospital, demonstrating the highest standards of nursing and patient care delivery. This pediatric academic health system provides specialty care through a convenient community primary care network and specialty care centers throughout the DC metro area, including Maryland and Virginia. Children’s National is home to the National Children’s Research Institute and the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation. He is recognized for his expertise and innovation in pediatric care and as a strong voice for children through advocacy at local, regional and national levels. As a non-profit organization, Children’s National Hospital relies on generous donors to ensure that every child receives the care they need.

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The Institute for Innovation & Implementation (the Institute) was founded in 2005 at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. The Institute is committed to creating research-driven, innovative, sustainable and transformative systems and services to serve youth and families, and to building workforce capacity within these systems. We do this work in partnership with government agencies, healthcare providers and community organizations to improve outcomes for and with young people and their families. For more information, visit and follow us on TwitterFacebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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