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Autism Spectrum Disorder: Supporting Children and Youth


Welcome to this program designed to enhance your ability to effectively work with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

The course is divided into eight modules. Each of the modules was developed by a specialist with expertise in that area. Early Childhood Educators, Clinical Psychologists, Speech Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, and Researchers worked together on program development.

Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorders

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects a child’s rate and pattern of development. This neurodevelopmental disorder* is common and may affect children to varying degrees.

Setting the Stage for Learning

Creating a successful learning environment for children with ASD may require adaptations in the following areas: physical environment, visual supports, transition strategies, schedule and routines.

Observing and Understanding Behaviour

Teacher observes child drawing

Teachers learn most about children by studying their behaviour directly. By learning to observe with objectivity, to make careful notes, and to go over the notes thoughtfully, a teacher increases his/her understanding of a child’s behaviour.

Setting Goals and Teaching New Skills

An understanding of the child’s current skills and the setting of educational goals are necessary first steps to be taken prior to addressing the building of new skills.

Developing Communication Skills

Communication is one of the core areas of difficulty for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). We often think of speech as the main form of communication. Communication, however, involves much more than simply talking.

Developing Functional Play and Adaptive Behaviour

Child playing alone

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder often have challenges with functional play skills and adaptive behaviour (tasks associated with daily living).

Enhancing Social Skills

Children with ASD may desire social engagements but lack the necessary social skills to develop these relationships.

Working Together

The complexity of the needs of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder requires the integrated efforts of a community. This includes family, educators, health care providers, and others.

Additional Resources

Autism in High School

This online resource guide was created to help students with autism and their families navigate the transitions and challenges of high school. This is a joint initiative between Extend-A-Family, Waterloo Region Family Network, members of the former Autism Services Waterloo Region, the Waterloo Region District School Board, the Waterloo Catholic District School Board, and the University of Waterloo.

Autism Speaks Canada Connect

A national, multi-faceted virtual system revolutionizing the way people in the autism community are informed and engaged.

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Excerpt from “Neurodevelopmental Disabilities” (Let’s Talk: An Open Dialogue on Vulnerability in Toronto Series)
Presenter: Layla Hall, Surrey Place Centre.