REMINDER, REMINDER...Our 9 Teacher Tested Strategies to Prepare Your Autism Classroom FREE guide is now available !!!

General Autism Information

Introduction to Autism Video 

VA Training Website

Books for Families and Schools

Yale University Free Autism Course

Autism Identification

Nebraska Autism Spectrum Disorders Network- ASD 101 Webinar

Autism Society of America- Autism 101 Free Online Course 

Classroom Supports 

Photos and Ideas for Autism Classrooms 

TeachersPayTeachers-Autism Classroom Store 

Thompson Center for Autism- 5 training modules

How to Set Up a Classroom for Students with Autism

Visual Supports


Using Visuals to Teach Autistic Students- Video

Behavior Support

National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders- Reinforcement

Beginning Steps to Working with Challenging Behaviors ABA Tutorial

Real Look Autism- Anxiety in School

Sensory Supports

Aspergers Society Video- Sensory Issues Solutions

Sensory Processing Disorder University- 101 Videos


National Professional Development Center on Autism- Functional Communication Training

Autism Internet Module on Language and Communication

Family Supports

Autism Speaks Family Service Grants 

UC Davis Mind Intitute Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabiltities- Autism Distance Education Parent Training #1

UC Davis Mind Intitute Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabiltities- Autism Distance Education Parent Training #2

ADEPT Entrenamiento en Autismo pars Padres. Educacion a la Distancia) Aprendizaje Interactivo Version en Espanol #1

ADEPT Entrenamiento en Autismo pars Padres. Educacion a la Distancia) Aprendizaje Interactivo Version en Espanol #2

Real Look Autism- Grocery Store Outing

Teacher as Leader Pre-Packaged Professional Development  

People with autism spectrum disorders may exhibit some of the following traits. However, it is important to remember that each person is an individual and not all of the listed characteristics will be seen in every person with autism spectrum disorder.  The Autism Society of America lists the following characteristics for autism spectrum disorders:

Insistence on sameness; resistance to change

Difficulty in expressing needs; uses gestures or pointing instead of words

Repeating words or phrases in place of normal, responsive language

Laughing, crying, showing distress for reasons not apparent to others

Prefers to be alone; aloof manner


Difficulty in mixing with others

May not want to cuddle or be cuddled

Little or no eye contact

Unresponsive to normal teaching methods

Sustained odd play

Spins objects

Inappropriate attachments to objects

Apparent over-sensitivity or under-sensitivity to pain

No real fears of danger

Noticeable physical over-activity or extreme under-activity

Uneven gross/fine motor skills

Not responsive to verbal cues; acts as if deaf although hearing tests in normal range

Characteristics, of course, vary in every person.  One book, that is a great read, helps us to see the unique qualities that each individual with autism brings to the table. More about this book from our affiliate can be found by clicking on the book.   

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Links to the Current DSM-V Criteria Information

Criteria for DSM 5

Criteria for Diagnosis of Autism 

Former Definition Autism Diagnostic Criteria (from DSM-IV Manual)

(A) A total of six (or more) items from (1), (2), and (3), with at least two from (1), and one each from (2) and (3):

1.  Qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following:

(a) marked impairment in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body postures, and gestures to regulate social interaction

(b) failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level

(c) a lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people (e.g., by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest)

(d) lack of social or emotional reciprocity

2.  Qualitative impairments in communication as manifested by at least one of the following:

(a) delay in, or total lack of, the development of spoken language (not accompanied by an attempt to compensate through alternative modes of communication such as gestures or mime)

(b) in individuals with adequate speech, marked impairment in the ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others

(c) stereotyped and repetitive use of language or idiosyncratic language

(d) lack of varied, spontaneous make-believe play or social imitative play appropriate to developmental level

3.  Restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities, as manifested by at least one of the following:

(a) encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus

(b) apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals

(c)stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g., hand or finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole-body movements)

(d) persistent preoccupation with parts of an object


(B) Delays or abnormal functioning in at least one of the following areas, with onset prior to age 3 years: (1) social interaction, (2) language as used in social communication, or (3) symbolic or imaginative  play.

(C) It is not better accounted for by Rett’s Disorder or Childhood Disintegrative Disorder.


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“Autism is a developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life. The result of a neurological disorder that affects functioning of the brain, autism and its associated behaviors occur in approximately 1 out of 88 children.

Autism is four times more prevalent in boys than girls and knows no racial, ethnic or social boundaries. Family income, lifestyle and educational levels do not affect the chance of autism’s occurence.

Autism interferes with the normal development of the brain in the areas of reasoning, social interaction and communication skills. Children and adults with autism typically have deficiencies in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions and leisure or play activities. The disorder makes it hard for them to communicate with others and relate to the outside world. They may exhibit repeated body movements (hand flapping, rocking), unusual responses to people or attachments to objects and resist any changes in routines. In some cases, aggressive and/or self-injurious behavior may be present.

It is conservatively estimated that nearly 400,000 people in the U.S. today have some form of autism. Its prevalence rate now places it as the third most common developmental disability – more common than Down’s syndrome. Yet the majority of the public, including many professionals in the medical, educational, and vocational fields are still unaware of how autism affects people and how to effectively work with individuals with autism.”

 -Autism Society of America

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