Training Special Education Preservice Teachers: Exploring the Use of the i-PiCS Program

Shiri Ayvazo, Hagit Inbar-Furst, Hedda Meadan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Preparing special education preservice teachers (PTs) to serve students with autism includes understanding theoretical foundations of teaching strategies and developing competency in applying the resulting knowledge and strategies within teaching settings. The current pilot study explored the Internet-Based Parent-implemented Communication Strategies (i-PiCS) program, targeting evidence-based teaching practices, as an alternative training method in an autism field-experience course conducted online during the COVID-19 lockdown. The purpose of the pilot study was to explore changes in PTs’ knowledge, confidence, and implementation of naturalistic communication teaching strategies in a pre- and postfield-experience course. The participants were nine females enrolled in a 3rd-year special education teacher preparation program. A multimethod assessment was utilized, including self-rating questions, knowledge quizzes, video-model analysis, and videotaped teaching simulations. Quantitative data were graphically displayed and compared. Teaching simulations were analyzed qualitatively. The results showed that all PTs improved the identification of instructional steps. Self-rating of knowledge and confidence level improved as well. Five PTs improved the accuracy of evaluating the instructional steps, albeit the level of fidelity of implementation improved only mildly. We conclude that i-PiCS could be useful for training PTs in a special education program. We discuss the limitations of the current application of i-PiCS and the appropriate implementation modalities that could be further explored.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-33
Number of pages17
JournalEducation and Treatment of Children
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2024


  • Field experience
  • Online training
  • Preservice teachers
  • Special education teacher preparation
  • i-PiCS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Training Special Education Preservice Teachers: Exploring the Use of the i-PiCS Program'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this