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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Elizabeth A. West
EDSPE 435
Seattle Campus

Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorders

Provides an overview of the characteristics, causes, treatments, and controversies about autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Addresses information about the history of the disorder, assessment strategies, and types of interventions. Offered: Sp.

Class description

The purpose of this class is to provide students with an overview of the characteristics, causes, treatments, and controversies related to students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). This course is designed to be a first introduction to ASD. Information about the history of the disorder, assessment strategies, and types of interventions will be addressed. We will provide information about a variety of interventions including educational, social, and bio-medical. We will also cover issues of how having a child with ASD affects families, schools, and communities. Finally, we will explore the complexities of providing appropriate programs for children with ASD and their families who have multiple risk factors (e.g., cultural and linguistic diversity, those who live in poverty, recent immigrants).

Student learning goals

•Identify and describe characteristics of ASD

•Discuss the history (causes and myths about the causes) of ASD

•Explain the assessment and diagnostic process for ASD

•List characteristics of effective interventions across the areas of cognitive, social/behavior, communication, sensory, motor, and adaptive

•Understand family dynamics associated with raising a child who has a diagnosis of ASD (parent and family supports, siblings, stress)

General method of instruction

This 10-week course will be offered in an online format. Content includes a series of readings, interactive activities, assignments, discussions, and quizzes.

Recommended preparation

Computer literacy.

Class assignments and grading

Specifically, this course will focus on several main areas which have been organized into modules:

•Module 1: Introduction and Historical Overview •Module 2: Prevalence and Causes •Module 3: Assessment and Diagnostic Issues •Module 4: Social Characteristics and Effective Interventions •Module 5: Communication Characteristics and Effective Interventions •Module 6: Cognitive, Behavioral Characteristics and Effective Interventions •Module 7: Motor, Sensory, Adaptive Characteristics and Effective Interventions •Module 8: Family Service, Supports and Lifespan Issues •Module 9: Effective Teams and Placement •Module 10: Public Policies and Legal Requirements

You will have assignments due for each module (discussion board posts and a variety of other short assignments) plus an online quiz at the end of each module. There is no final for the course.

A point system will be used. There are a total of 320 points for the class. The grading system is detailed in the syllabus.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Elizabeth A. West
Date: 03/13/2012