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"Degrees & Programs"


Characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorders




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Course level: EDU Graduate

This introductory course is designed to assist teacher candidates in developing strategies and techniques to support students with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). It is designed to familiarize teacher candidates with the complexity of ASD. The course provides the theoretical background information and practical instructional strategies needed for working with students with ASD. Participants will gain a better understanding of the key issues related to inclusive instructional practices as well as the skills to adjust behavioral challenges. This course fosters communication and social-perceptual thinking skills among teacher candidates. This course is not available for enrollment to residents of Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia. Wisconsin, Wyoming, and individuals who reside outside the United States


  • This graduate level course requires proof of completion of a Bachelor's degree. Be prepared to provide documentation during the checkout process.

What you'll learn

Course skills and outcomes

Week 1

  • Compare historical and theoretical foundations of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
  • Examine state, federal, and Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) definitions of ASD.
  • Categorize early indicators, diagnostic tools, etiology, and prevalence of ASD.
  • Describe the academic, behavioral, social, functional, and linguistic characteristics of ASD.
  • Analyze evidence-based practices and service delivery models designed to meet the needs of students with ASD.

Week 2

  • Analyze the theoretical frameworks underlying applied behavior analysis (ABA).
  • Examine perspectives surrounding ABA theories.
  • Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of ABA interventions as well as the criteria and selection for use.
  • Summarize the components of an effective ABA plan.

Week 3

  • Describe the development of receptive and expressive language in students with ASD.
  • Evaluate augmentative and alternative communication supports, including technology, for enhancing the learning of academic and functional skills for students with ASD.
  • Analyze the sensory processing challenges and stereotypical behavior patterns in students with ASD.
  • Explore evidence-based instructional strategies to promote effective communication development for students with ASD.
  • Examine strategies and resources to adapt instruction ensuring sensory regulation of students with ASD.

Week 4

  • Describe cognitive development patterns and socio-cultural influences on students with ASD.
  • Evaluate effective strategies used in the social-pragmatic approach to working with students with ASD.
  • Assess the importance of social stories and skills groups for facilitating peer interaction and reciprocal play, and enhancing interpersonal skills with students with ASD.
  • Identify therapies and related services used to build targeted skills in students with ASD.

Week 5

  • Categorize assessment tools and techniques that focus on language skills, academic skills, and social-emotional functioning for students with ASD.
  • Examine developmentally appropriate instructional strategies for students with ASD that promote learners’ growth and development.
  • Evaluate multiple sources of data across settings to assess and monitor individual learning, development, and overall progress.
  • Explore strategies for developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills in cross-disciplinary academic settings.

Week 6

  • Explore evidence-based practices for accommodations and modifications to support improved outcomes for students with ASD.
  • Evaluate social communication, emotional regulation, and transitional support tools to assist students with ASD in establishing safe and productive learning environments.
  • Analyze visual and technical supports to enhance verbal interactions and task completion for students with ASD


Why take courses at University of Phoenix

Accreditation that matters

We’ve been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission ( for more than 40 years.

Real-world instructors

Learn from instructors who bring an average of 25 years of working experience to the classroom.

Affordable and potentially reimbursable

Our tuition and fees are competitive and fixed. Also, check to see if your employer will cover you for this course.

Next Steps

Start a conversation about your future with an enrollment representative today.

Start a conversation about your future with an enrollment representative today.

Call (844) 937-8679

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