Southwest Michigan Autism Resource Team (SMART)

Serving Allegan, Berrien, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, and Van Buren Counties


The Southwest Michigan Autism Resource Team (SMART) is a 6-county partnership that focuses on the development of resources, professional learning, and systems change to support students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families. A Regional Collaborative Network (RCN) of the Statewide Autism and Resources and Training (START) Project, SMART works together to develop and execute annual goals in the areas of:

  • Professional Development

  • Establishing a Coaching Structure

  • Coaching for the Implementation of Evidence-Based Practices

  • Peer to Peer Programs

  • Family Engagement

For upcoming events, visit our Professional Learning page.

START Project Website Resources

For these and many other helpful resources, visit the START Project's website:

  • Differentiated Output Hierarchy Resources: The differentiated output hierarchy is a systematic, organized approach to support student's active engagement in the general education curriculum. The differentiated output hierarchy supports the concepts defined in differentiated instruction.

  • Effective Team and Meeting Mechanics: The most efficient and effective meetings adhere to a defined process and agreed upon guidelines that the group follows to execute the goals of the meeting. The Effective Teaming and Meeting Mechanics processes and tools are both universal for all meetings and customized for specific types of meetings so that it will function as a resource for various meetings.

  • Evidence-Based Practices: For children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the research literature is clear about the importance of using the best available evidence and professional judgement to systematically address learning and behavior support needs, while also respecting the strengths and preferences of the individual and the family. The use of data collection and progress monitoring assures that interventions are effective in helping children to develop social, behavioral, adaptive, and academic skills. If schools are going to meet the complex needs of students with ASD and improve long-term outcomes, it is necessary to follow an evidence-based practice model.

  • Individual Student Data Collection Forms: The purpose of student data collection tools are to (1) provide an efficient data collection system that gives educators a method for evaluating student performance at the individual level by providing: immediate feedback, embedded graphing, and embedded analysis, and (2) evaluate the impact of START’s training and resources at the student level on three specific target behaviors: Independence, Engagement, and Social Interaction.

  • Peer to Peer Resources: Peer to Peer support programs increase opportunities for students with ASD to access general education settings and curriculum. Peers model typical academic and social behavior in educational environments throughout the school day and provide support for students with ASD to promote independence and socialization. Peer to Peer support programs and inclusion of students with ASD not only affects outcomes for the students with ASD, but can also benefit peers.

  • START Passport: A guide to assist families and school personnel in ensuring that typical grade-appropriate opportunities are provided for students with ASD.

  • START Connecting Articles. Sign up to receive START Connecting in your inbox!

*Resource descriptions developed by the START Project Team.
START Project Logo
Meeting Mechanics Binder Cover
Peer to Peer Logo
START Passport Cover