How to Reach and Teach Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

(Grades PreK-5) / Flex Course

PDI Course Number: 125T02 / UCSD Course Number: EDUC42242

Course Description

Are you finding it increasingly difficult to meet the needs of your diverse learners, especially those with autism spectrum disorder? As more students transition into the least restrictive environment, teachers are finding themselves at a loss concerning how best to reach this unique population in an inclusive setting. This online course is specifically geared toward PreK-5 teachers who want to explore a wide variety of strategies so that they are better positioned to meet the needs of students with autism in the least restrictive environment. Teachers will take a deep dive into autism spectrum disorder, otherwise known as ASD. As they progress through the course, teachers will learn how to adapt their instruction so that it can be differentiated to meet students with ASD at their level. Teachers will learn about the social aspects of ASD and how it can lead to anxiety, especially if there is a comorbid diagnosis. Teachers will learn strategies to help students with ASD remain structured. The basics of behavior are discussed, and teachers will learn about the various functions of behavior and the primary role that reinforcement plays in behavior intervention plans. Social skills deficits are discussed in detail, as this is one of the cornerstone characteristics of students with ASD. Teachers will learn a variety of strategies for helping students with ASD cope academically, behaviorally, socially, and emotionally in the least restrictive environment. Teachers will learn the importance of collaboration, and they will take a deep dive into the various co-teaching models. By the end of this course, teachers will have gained valuable insight into autism spectrum disorder, and they will feel much more capable of meeting the academic, behavioral, social, and emotional needs of this diverse population. This course is worth 3 ⅓ semester units/5 quarter units (50 hours of training) from University of California San Diego (UCSD) Division of Extended Studies. For detailed information on university credit, click here.

"This course was an excellent resource for me as I continue to try to improve my teaching skills, especially with students who have ASD." - Nicole Morman

Enrollment Options

Course Only

$127 with the discount

Course with Credit from UCSD

$323 with the discount

This course is worth 3 ⅓ semester units or 5 quarter units of graduate-level credit from UCSD.

You have up to one year from the date you are enrolled to complete a flex course.

Click here to view the course syllabus.

Print our customized course approval form to share with your school district.

UCSD Course Number: EDUC42242
Unit One
  • Special Education: Then and Now
  • Breaking Down an IEP
  • The Importance of a Collaborative Community
  • Assignment #1: Write an autobiography
  • Test #1
Unit Two
  • Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Existing on the Spectrum
  • Comorbidity and Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Assignment #2: Article reflection
  • Test #2
Unit Three
  • The Social Aspects of ASD
  • Anxiety and Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Learning How to Engage with Peers
  • Assignment #3: Share your expertise
  • Test #3
Unit Four
  • How ASD Affects Academic Learning
  • Differentiating Instruction
  • The Importance of Routines
  • Test #4
Unit Five
  • Understanding the Basics of Behavior
  • The Role of Reinforcement in Behavior Intervention Plans
  • The Importance of Self-Regulation
  • Test #5
Unit Six
  • Teacher Collaboration and the Co-Taught Classroom
  • Partnering with Parents
  • Embracing the Entire School Community
  • Assignment #4: Respond to ASD student scenarios
  • Assignment #5: Course Reflection

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