Characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorder and Assessment – EDUC 626

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 05/17/2022

Course Description

This course provides an overview of autism across the lifespan and examines characteristics, definitions, eligibility criteria, incidence rates, and etiology.  Assessment, diagnostic and identification criteria are described, and methods for monitoring the impact of interventions in a variety of service delivery models will be explored.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


As the autism prevalence continues to steadily increase, it is imperative that all classroom teachers and administrators understand the special needs of students with autism spectrum disorder. 

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Define the characteristics and diagnosis of autism as defined by the most recent version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
  2. Describe the evidence-based and promising practice interventions that have been identified as best practices based on the needs of the individual and their response to the intervention.
  3. Examine the implications of ‘dual’ diagnoses (autism and any other diagnosis from the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) and comorbidity.
  4. Design an individualized program using evidence-based and promising practices based on an assessment of an individual’s strengths and weaknesses.
  5. Describe the common behavior issues associated with students with disabilities and the evidence-based strategies to ameliorate inappropriate behavior.
  6. Describe strategies to communicate in a culturally sensitive manner with families and professionals on accommodations and modifications needed to access home, educational, work, and community environments.
  7. Implement intervention activities to support the individual’s goals and objectives.

Course Assignment

Textbook Readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Discussions (5)

Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the candidate will complete five Discussions in this course. For each forum, the thread must be at least 400 words and 3–5 paragraphs. The thread must be supported with at least two scholarly sources in current APA format. The candidate will also respond to the thread of at least two classmates for each forum. Each reply must be 200–250 words and in current APA format. (MLO: B, C, E, F, G).

Journal Article Review Assignments (5)

The candidate will complete five Journal Article Reviews in this course. Each article must be current (within the last five years), related to students with autism, and on the assigned topic for each review. Each review must include a title and reference page and must be at least one page. Each review must include a summary of the article that includes all pertinent data and a statement about how the content of the article compares/contrasts with the weekly readings and a personal reflection. (MLO: A, C, D)

Functional Behavioral Assessment Assignment

Given a scenario that describes observational data of a student with behavioral issues, the candidate will create a functional behavior assessment, behavior intervention plan, and describe the evidence-based strategies that will be used to teach the replacement behavior. (MLO: B, D, F)

Academic Instruction for a Bible Lesson Assignment

The candidate will plan instruction for students with a variety of academic, behavioral, and social skills support needs. The candidate will plan activities in inclusive whole group and small group environments. The candidate will plan independent work opportunities for students with autism with varying levels of support needs. (MLO: B, D, F, G)

Final Assessment Assignment

The candidate will complete a final assessment consisting of a variety of essay questions. This assessment will be open-book/open-notes and will cover content found in the readings, discussions, presentations, and research related to this course. (MLO: A, B, C, D, E, F, G)

Quizzes (3)

The candidate will complete three chapter quizzes in this course. Each quiz will cover the textbook readings for two modules (the previous and current modules). All quizzes will be open-book/open-notes and contain 25 true/false and multiple-choice questions. The candidate will have two hours to complete each quiz. (MLO: A, B, C, D, E, F, G)