Substance Abuse Resources & Disability Issues (SARDI)

Prevention through Alternative Learning Styles (PALS)


The middle school years are difficult ones for youth as well as parents and attention to the significant adults in the lives of youth with disabilities is often overlooked. The major goal was to develop a prevention curriculum that is inclusive of students with disabilities and learning differences, to field test and then implement the curriculum, and conduct evaluation with the overall goal of PALS becoming an Evidenced Based Practice.


  • Develop materials for field testing.
  • Conduct PALS training for students in a variety of schools in multiple states.
  • Finalize curriculum.
  • Conduct train the trainer sessions with middle school teachers.
  • Fidelity checks for teachers implementing PALS.
  • Interview and conduct focus groups for feedback, satisfaction, suggestions.


The curriculum went through several stages of modifications and adjustments. It was then aligned with the Ohio Department of Education's Middle School Standards. An NREPP application was submitted and PALS became an Evidence-Based Practice.

Grant Type

Direct Service

Funded By

  • Department of Education (Safe and Drug-Free Schools)
  • Ohio Department of Education (ODE)
  • Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services (ODADAS)

Principal Investigator

Jo Ann Ford

Primary Contact

Publications and Presentations

  • Workman, J., Huber, M. J., Ford, J. A., Mayer, T., & Wilson, J. F. (2012). The PALS prevention program and its long-term impact on student intentions to use alcohol, tobacco, and Marijuana. Journal of Drug Education, 42(4), 469-485. https:/
  • Ford, JA, Workman, J, Masoudi, N., Huber, M., Mayer, T., & Panchocha, K. (2012). Accessible substance abuse prevention for all children. In D. Hollar (Ed). Handbook of children with special health care needs (pp 353–368). New York: Springer.
  • McAweeney, M. J., Workman, J., Ford, J., Moore, D. & Mayer, T. (2009). Evaluating prevention through the alternative learning styles (PALS) program. Journal of Drug Education, 39(3), 259-269.
Last edited on 03/30/2022.