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Path #1: What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

This learning path provides an overview of autism spectrum disorder, including information about the diagnosis, primary and secondary characteristics, early identification, and other introductory information relevant to those who provide early intervention. To get credit for this learning path, you must complete the four activities below, then take a quiz to test your knowledge. Once you have completed the learning path and scored at least 80% on the quiz, you will have access to a certificate of completion.

Total time to complete the learning path: 8 hours


Activity 1
Complete the Foundations of Autism Spectrum Disorder online course. (VCU ACE)

This course includes two modules with 6 lectures each. Module 1 covers an overview, history of the diagnosis of ASD, myths and truths, and primary characteristics in communication, social skills, behavior, and sensory processing. Module 2 covers secondary characteristics of ASD (e.g., challenges with imitation, executive functioning, motor skills), comorbid conditions, interests and strengths, and supporting individuals with ASD throughout the lifespan.

Instruction IconInstructions: Complete all lectures in Module 1 and Module 2. A certificate of completion (for this online course only) will be emailed to you from VCU ACE after you complete the course evaluation.



Activity 2
Read the What is Autism? webpages. (Autism Speaks)

Even though this series of webpages provides an introduction to autism spectrum disorder for parents, there is a great deal of valuable information for early intervention practitioners too. Information is provided about the diagnosis, first concerns, learning the signs, getting the child screened, accessing services, causes of ASD, associated medical and behavioral conditions, and autism therapies and supports.

Instruction IconInstructions: Click the link above. Once on the “What is Autism?” homepage, hover your cursor or click on “What is Autism?” in the top menu bar, then visit the pages to learn about signs and causes of autism, screening and diagnosis, associated conditions, and treatments.



Activity 3
Read the Basics about Autism webpages. (CDC)

This series of webpages about ASD includes information about signs, symptoms, causes, risk factors, who is affected, screening and treatment. In the menu (left side of the page), click on “Data and Statistics” to read the most current prevalence data. Click on “My Story” to read family stories about their experiences with ASD.

Instruction IconInstructions: Read the pages and click links to explore additional information.



Activity 4
Read the journal article, Infants and Toddlers with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Early Identification and Early Intervention (Boyd, Odom, Humphreys, & Sam, 2010).

This article summarizes current scientific and policy information on early identification and early intervention for infants and toddlers with ASD and their families. Early warning signs, screening and diagnostic tools, focused intervention practices and comprehensive treatment models appropriate for very young children are discussed.

Instruction IconInstructions: Read the article.



Complete the Quiz

You must achieve a score of at least 80% on the quiz to receive a certificate of completion. This certificate will document 1 professional development (PD) hour. With this certificate, and the certificate you received for completing the Foundations of ASD module, you will have documentation of a total of 8 PD hours.


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