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Path #2: Early Signs and Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder

This learning path focuses on illustrating and describing the early signs and symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in very young children. With this knowledge, early intervention practitioners can improve early identification and provide appropriate early intervention for children who have or are suspected of having ASD. To get credit for this learning path, you must complete the three 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: 3.5 hours


Activity 1
Complete the About Autism in Toddlers online course. (Autism Navigator)

This course discusses and illustrates the specific signs and symptoms of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in toddlers. You will learn about: 1) core diagnostic features of ASD; 2) importance of early detection and early intervention; and 3) prevalence and causes of ASD. Many video clips are included with narration to help you learn and hone your observation skills. Comparison videos are included so you can consider the symptoms of autism against typical development. You will also find a video series of eight children and parents, showing them before and after receiving early intervention, and other videos in which you hear from families about their experiences receiving the diagnosis.

Instruction IconInstructions: Once on the site, click “Get Started” and register for the free course. Click “Get Started” again on the next page under the course title. Once you are in the course, click “Start Course” in the upper right to begin. Use the slide sorter at the bottom of the screen to advance through the presentation. If you need to access the script for the presentations, click “Tools” in the top navigation bar. To learn how to navigate the course, click “Help” in the top navigation bar and look for “Learn to navigate Autism Navigator.”

Please note: You will not receive a certificate of completion from Autism Navigator for this online course. To receive your certificate, continue through this learning path and complete the final quiz (below).



Activity 2
Read the journal article Early Identification of Autism: Early Characteristics, Onset of Symptoms, and Diagnostic Stability (Webb & Jones, 2009)

According to the article abstract, the authors review current knowledge of the early signs of ASD in the infancy period (0–12 months) and the manifestation of symptoms in toddlerhood (12– 36 months), noting the importance of considering the variability in onset and trajectory of ASD. The authors also discuss the implications of this emerging research for those who work or interact with young children, including the importance of early monitoring and the development and evaluation of age-appropriate interventions.

Instruction IconInstructions: Read the article.



Activity 3
Watch the video Bringing the Early Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorders into Focus (Kennedy Krieger Institute, runtime 9:02)

Using video illustrations of children with and without autism spectrum disorder (ASD), this video highlights early signs of ASD associated with a child’s ability to see social opportunity through play, make social connections, and effectively communicate and share enjoyment.

Instruction IconInstructions: Watch the video.



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 3.5 professional development (PD) hours.


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