Strategies for Teaching Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder Online

Course Description

Various educational institutions, both private and public have long encouraged the use of critical and analytical skills. This course is designed to focus on developing an understanding of Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome, of intervention strategies to enhance communication and learning for these students and methods of teaching social skills to assist them in interacting with their peers. This course will provide teachers with tools and strategies to implement effective teaching practices for students with Autism/Asperger’s Syndrome.


  • Examine the definition of autism and how it is diagnosed
  • Analyze the characteristics of autism and their effects on the classroom dynamic
  • Utilize resources found on the Internet
  • Evaluate  the secondary skill challenges of autism: cognitive/language/motor/sensory
  • Facilitate methods to improve learning by teaching specific activities for social skills
  • Analyze the range and impact of communication challenges and how to support these differences using strategies
  • Devise appropriate responses to the different types of behaviors that typically accompany Autism (challenging/ritualistic)
  • Determine how to appropriately interact and respond to a child with Autism
  • Compare and contrast students with these disorders with other students, and how to teach them given these differences
  • Critique articles and Internet resources on Austism/Asperger’s 
  • Acquire a basic knowledge of the existing body of research dealing with Autism
  • Evaluate the course

Curriculum Design & Time Requirements

There are a series of major assessment concepts systematically presented by the instructor using the Socratic or Instructional Conversation method. Each concept acts as a building block to form a basic understanding that teachers can weave into their own classroom strategies and best practices to assist teachers in creating a school setting where assessment and learning go hand in hand. This is a sixty hour, three-credit graduate level course completed over a thirteen-week period.  This course is taught both in the classroom and online.

Hardware & Computer Skills Requirements

Students may use either a Macintosh computer or a PC with Windows 2000 or higher. Students should possess basic word processing skills and have internet access with an active e-mail account. Students also are expected to have a basic knowledge of how to use a Web browser, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer, Safari, Mozilla Firefox etc.

Course Materials

The required textbook for this course is You’re Gonna Love This Kid! by Paula Kluth. In addition, online readings and Web site reviews (including journal articles and best practices from the body of educational research) will be assigned during the course to enhance learning. These readings will be presented as annotated Web sites within the course content.

Session Outline

Session 1: Introduction and Defining Autism

  1. Member introductions
  2. Individual and group expectations
  3. Course modules, resources and requirements
  4. Defining autism
  5. Diagnosis of autism
  6. Increase in prevalence
  7. Assignments

Session 2: Collaboration and Cooperation

  1. Principles of Collaboration
  2. Team members
  3. Team teaching
  4. Independent instruction
  5. Peer support
  6. Assignments

Session 3: Friendships, Social Relationships and Belonging

  1. Common social deficits in autistic students
  2. Building a ‘community’ in the classroom
  3. Social stories
  4. Using role play to enhance social skills
  5. Promoting acceptance and belonging in the classroom.
  6. Assignments
Session 4: Sensory Needs

  1. Sensory processing issues
  2. Sensory overload
  3. Sensory Integration Therapy
  4. Multi-sensory approaches
  5. Self-stimulation
  6. Assignments

Session 5: Building Communication

  1. Echolalia
  2. Eye contact
  3. Communication boards
  4. Using BoardMaker
  5. Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
  6. Augmentative communication
  7. Assignments

Session 6: Fostering Independence

  1. Teaching life skills
  2. Using work systems to build independence
  3. Creating personal schedules
  4. Dealing with transitions
  5. Long term goals
  6. Assignments

Session 7: Rethinking Behavior: Positive Ways to Teach and Support

  1. Positive ways to support behavior
  2. Rewards and reinforcement
  3. Challenging behaviors      
  4. Ritualistic behaviors
  5. Applied Behavior Analysis
  6. Assignments

Session 8: Creating a Comfortable Classroom

  1. Monitoring the atmosphere (lighting, smells, temperature)
  2. Seating challenges
  3. Importance of classroom organization
  4. Allowing opportunities for movement
  5. Assignments

Session 9: Lesson Planning

  1. Cooperative learning
  2. Service learning
  3. Project-based instruction
  4. Using centers/stations
  5. Authentic assessment
  6. Assignments

Session 10: Teaching Strategies

  1. Routines and schedules
  2. Successful transitions
  3. Helping students with organizational skills
  4. Providing choices
  5. Opportunities for breaks
  6. Using nonverbal cues
  7. Assignments


    Assignment Points   Grading Scale  
  Talking Points   30      100 – 93 A
  Reading Assignments & Reflections   20       92 – 85 B
  Final Exam   30       84 – 77 C
  Final Project   20      
  Total Points 100    

Student Requirements

1. Actively participate in all activities.
2. Reading & Reflection Assignments: Complete all readings and reflection assignments.
3. Students are required to put the assessment strategies and concepts into action and will be required to construct a portfolio during the course that will serve as a toolkit of specific ideas and protocols for their classrooms as a part of their final project which will include a final exam and will be due by the end of Session 10.

Student Academic Integrity

Participants guarantee that all academic class work is original. Any academic dishonesty or plagiarism (to take ideas, writings, etc. from another and offer them as one's own), is a violation of student academic behavior standards as outlined by our partnering colleges and universities and is subject to academic disciplinary action.


To register to take TEI's Strategies for Teaching Students with Autism/Aspergerís Syndrome Online course, go to the Course Registration page.