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Autism Spectrum Disorder

Girl with Orange ShirtIt is estimated that 1 in 88 children have an autism spectrum disorder. In Virginia, as with other states, the numbers of young children being identified with an ASD are on the rise. Many children and families are being referred for early intervention supports and services, and it is critically important that Virginia’s early intervention workforce has the appropriate knowledge and skills to support children with ASDs and their families.


The resources and information found here are intended to help practitioners learn more about supporting young children with ASD and their families. Visit the resource landing pad for information about evidence-based practices and topics; online, print, and video resources, and Virginia-specific guidance.


Click the links below to jump directly to the following sections of this page.

Landing Pad | VA Specific Information | Archived Webinars | Other Webinars | Articles | Handouts & Documents | Audio/Video | Online Learning | Websites & Programs


Landing Pad

Autism Landing Pad PDF | HTML

*for best viewing experience we recommend pdf version


VA-Specific Information

Assessment of Screening, Diagnosis and Identification of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Virginia (external website)

White Paper

VCU Autism Center for Excellence

To help improve services for those with ASD and their family members, the Virginia Commonwealth University Autism Center for Excellence (VCU-ACE) convened an interdisciplinary task force to study issues related to medical and educational assessment. The task force evaluated three different topics related to identification of ASD: screening, diagnosis, and systems change. This white paper describes these evaluations and provides recommendations to improve services related to screening, diagnosis and identification of ASD in Virginia.

JLARC Resources

These resources relate to the JLARC assessment of services for children and adults with ASD in Virginia.

Assessment of Services for Virginians with Autism Spectrum Disorders  PDF (external website)

Report of the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission To the Governor and The General Assembly of Virginia
House Document No. 8

JLARC in Brief: Assessment of Services for Virginians with Autism Spectrum Disorder  PDF | HTML

Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) Organizational Information  PDF | HTML

Response to the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission Report | Establishing a Detailed Action Plan for Serving Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders  PDF (external website)

Supporting Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their Families (external website)

Infant & Toddler Connection of Virginia Guidance Document (Jan 2012)

  • This Virginia early intervention guidance document provides information for families and service providers about: Early signs and symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)
  • Virginia's early intervention process
  • Referring young children for further diagnostic testing
  • Virginia early intervention supports and services
  • Evidence-based practices for working with young children with ASD
  • Screening & diagnostic tools for toddlers with ASD, and
  • Information on focused practices and comprehensive intervention models

This guidance document was developed as a collaborative effort of the VA Dept. of Behavior Health and Developmental Services, Partnership for People with Disabilities at VCU, Virginia Dept. of Education, Commonwealth Autism Service, the ARC of Virginia, and local Part C early intervention providers.

Click here to download a 2-page summary document to share with physicians, child care providers, and other referral sources.



Archived Webinars

Talks on Tuesdays

Check Them Out: Great Resources to Support Infants and Toddlers with ASD and their Families
VA’s Integrated Training Collaborative
Partnership for People with Disabilities
Presented by Deana Buck and Dana Childress
This webinar provides information about a variety of resources related to supporting families of infants and toddlers with or who are suspected of having ASD. The CDC Act Early Campaign is highlighted, as well as the document, Supporting Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and their Families: Infant & Toddler Connection of Virginia Guidance Document. Click the link above to visit the 2012 Talks on Tuesdays Archive and scroll down until you find the webinar.

Using BCBAs as Providers of Developmental Services
VA’s Integrated Training Collaborative
Partnership for People with Disabilities
Presented by Catherine Hancock, Selena Layden, Carol Burke, and Cori Hill
During this web discussion, information is provided about how Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) or Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts (BCaBAs) can provide developmental services. Click the link above to visit the 2016 Talks on Tuesdays Archive and scroll down until you find the webinar.



Other Webinars

Practical Strategies for Working with Children with Autism Webinar Series (external website)

Texas Early Childhood Intervention

This free webinar series features 1-hour recordings on topics including establishing relationships and coaching, structuring the environment, embedding learning into daily routines, teaching specific skills, and current research.




Boyd, B. A., Odom, S. L., Humphreys, B. P., & Sam, A. M. (2010). Infants and toddlers with autism spectrum disorder: Early identification and early intervention. Journal of Early Intervention, 32(2), 75-98.

Johnson, C. P., Meyers, S. M., & Council on Children with Disabilities (2007). Identification and evaluation of children with autism spectrum disorders. Pediatrics, 120, 1183-1215.

This article provides information for pediatricians about their role in early identification of ASDs. Information is covered related to diagnostic criteria, etiology, clinical signs, screening, and evaluation.

Landa, R. J., Holman, K. C., & Garrett-Mayer, E. (2007). Social and communication development in toddlers with early and later diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 64(7), 853-864.

This study examined differences in development among children who received early or later diagnosis of ASD.

Mitchell, S., et al. (2006). Early language and communication development of infants later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 27(2), S69-S78.

What It's Like to Have Autism (external website)

R. Morgan Griffin

This article provides information for caregivers to help them understand and cope with the symptoms of autism.



Handouts & Documents

A Parent’s Guide to Evidence-Based Practice and Autism (external website)

National Autism Center

The National Autism Center is the May Institute’s center for the promotion of evidence-based practice. Their latest publication for parents is available as a free download. Click on the Parent Guide link, enter your information, and then you will be given access to the booklet.

Autism 100-day Toolkit  PDF

Autism Speaks

This booklet is written for parents to guide them in what to do following their child’s initial diagnosis. This booklet is posted here with permission from Autism Speaks.

Booklist of Autism Resources PDF | HTML

Valley CoPA

This 4-page booklist contains the titles, authors, and descriptions of print resources related to ASD.

The Donovan Family Case Study: Guidance and Coaching on Evidence-based Practices for Infants and Toddlers with ASD (external website)
National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders

The purpose of this case study is to describe the coaching process in the context of early intervention and to outline two parallel coaching processes. This case study provides a description of how an early intervention provider, Jillian, supports the Donovan family through coaching on the use of evidence-based practices with their two-year-old son, Joey, who has autism.

Concerns about Autism: Talking to Families PDF

Adapted by VA Community of Practice in Autism (CoPA)

This handout provides EI practitioners with guidance for how to talk to families about autism spectrum disorders under two common circumstances: when the practitioner has a concern and when the parent expresses a concern. This handout was adapted with permission from a similar resource from the CDC’s Learn the Signs. Act Early Campaign.

Evidence-Based Practices for Children, Youth, and Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder PDF

Autism Evidence-Based Practices Review Group
Frank-Porter Graham Child Development Institute

According to the authors: “The purpose of this report is to describe a process for the identification of evidence-based practices (EBPs) and also to delineate practices that have sufficient empirical support to be termed “evidence-based.” (p. 1)

Exploring Feeding Behavior in Autism: A Parent’s Guide (external website)
Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network (AS-ATN)

Written by medical experts, through their participation in the Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health (AIR-P), this free publication is designed to help families affected by autism understand eating behaviors, give guidance on how to address feeding issues and review some common questions that families have about eating problems.

Information for Parents of Infants and Toddlers on the Early Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorders PDF

Autism Speaks - Baby Siblings Research Consortium
Information in this handout for families is based on the results of the High Risk Baby Siblings Research Consortium (Nov 2013). Three questions asked most often by parents are addressed: 1) If I have a child with ASD, how likely is it that my next child will have ASD or related developmental challenges? 2) What are the earliest signs of ASD and when do they appear? and 3) What can parents do if they are concerned about their child’s development?

INSIGHT from Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders  PDF | HTML

Sally Chappel, M.Ed., Coordinator, Region 5 T/TAC @ JMU

This handout shares guidance for working with children with ASD based on insights learned from persons with ASD themselves.

Identifying Autism in Young Children: A Collection of Recommended Resources from
Autism CARES Grantees (2015) PDF
Autism CARES
This document is a compilation of resources focused on the identification of autism in young children. Resources topics include: community practice guidelines and initiatives; databases; research and scholarly literature; resource guides and directories; policy, advocacy, and awareness; screening and diagnostic measures; tools for families; and training materials and opportunities for professionals. Each resource includes a description and links to access it online.

Sensory Differences in Autism PDF
Donald Oswald, PhD
Commonwealth Autism Service

In this paper, Dr. Oswald shares insights into recent autism-related research reports on sensory differences. Terminology and definitions are reviewed as well as the evidence related to sensory differences in children with autism.

Tips for Early Care and Education Providers: Simple Concepts to Embed in Everyday Routines (external website)

This resource provides tips from top researchers for helping care providers and teachers work with young children with ASD. Each tip addresses why a concept is important and includes step-by-step instructions for how to include it in daily routines. Concepts include engagement, interest-based learning, using visual cues, joint attention, learning words, book sharing, managing behavior, etc.




Autism Awareness: Screening for Autism (external website)


This video is the last in a 3-part series. It focuses on screening and what to do when an autism diagnosis is suspected.

Autism Video Glossary (external website)

The glossary is a free web-based tool that contains over 100 video clips illustrating the subtle differences in behaviors of young children that are typical in contrast with those that are red flags for ASD. The glossary also features a treatment section which includes videos in five categories: behavioral interventions, developmental interventions, structured teaching and supports, clinical therapies, and toddler treatment models.

Bringing the Early Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorders Into Focus (external website)

Center for Autism and Related Disorders – Kennedy Krieger Institute
This free online video tutorial was developed to help pediatricians, parents, and EI providers recognize the early signs of ASD in one-year-old children. The video is 9-minutes long and consists of 6 video clips comparing toddlers with early signs of ASD with toddlers who do not show signs of ASD.

National Database for Autism Research (external website, YouTube)

This video features information about autism spectrum disorder and the National Database for Autism Research.

Rethinking Autism: Dispelling Myths about ABA (external website)

This video addresses some common misconceptions about using applied behavioral analysis (ABA) with children with ASD.

Audio IconSound Advice on Autism from the American Academy of Pediatrics (external website)
To answer parents' questions about autism spectrum disorders, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers a collection of interviews with pediatricians, researchers and parents.

Talking to Parents about Autism (external website, YouTube)

Autism Speaks

This video provides very practical guidance that child care providers, preschool teachers, and other service providers can use when discussing developmental concerns related to autism spectrum disorders with families.

Topical News: Understanding the Rise in Autism (external website, YouTube)

A new report by the CDC estimates 1 in 88 children in the U.S. have some form of autism. That's a 23% increase since 2006 and a 78% increase since 2002. In this interview, Lisa Shulman, M.D., puts the latest report in context. Dr. Shulman speaks with Paul Moniz, managing director of communications and marketing of Einstein.



Online Learning

ASD Strategies in Action (external website)

Autism Certification Center
Visit this site to preview the Toddler and Preschool Age course which will introduce you to evidence-based strategies that can be used in natural environments during typical routines and activities. Information about fees to subscribe and complete the courses on the site is available. This site also houses a video library featuring videos from the courses which can be viewed at no charge.

Autism Internet Modules (AIM) (external website)

The autism internet modules are written by experts in the field of autism are available for free, and cover a wide array of topics focusing on interventions for children and adults with ASD.

Autism Navigator (external website)
Autism Institute at the Florida State University College of Medicine

Autism Navigator is a unique collection of web-based tools and courses developed to bridge the gap between science and community practice. The site has integrated the most current research into a highly interactive web platform with extensive video footage to illustrate effective evidence-based practice. The video clips come from the unparalleled library of video footage from federally funded research projects at the Autism Institute at Florida State University.

Early Identification of Autism Spectrum Disorders Learning Module (external website)

ASD Toddler Initiative
FPG Child Development Institute

This module addresses early identification of ASD, characteristics of ASD, screening and diagnostic assessment practices, and national resources related to follow-up and referral to supports and services.

Learning Modules Practices (external website)

ASD Toddler Initiative

FPG Child Development Institute

Visit this site for modules on focused intervention practices that were found efficacious for use with toddlers as well as with other age groups of children with ASD. These practices were identified from a review of the research literature conducted by staff of the National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorder (NPDC on ASD) in 2013-2014. Modules include:

  • Prompting
  • Naturalistic Intervention
  • Pivotal Response Treatment
  • Functional Behavior Assessment
  • Reinforcement
  • Video Modeling

VCU Autism Center for Excellence (ACE) (external website)
On the VCU-ACE website you will find lots of resources related to supporting individuals with autism, including free monthly webcasts, online courses, resource materials available through the Virginia Autism Resource Center, etc.

  • Access free archived webcasts on a variety of topics related to young children with autism spectrum disorder, including sensory, communication, and social-emotional development. When you reach the page, scroll down for access to the webcasts.
  • Access free online courses such as the Foundations in Autism Spectrum Disorders course. This course provides participants with an understanding of characteristics of ASD, the impact ASD has on the person and family unit, and an overview of learning styles, history, cause, and early signs of ASD.


Websites & Programs

ASD Toddler Initiative (external website)

Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This project focuses on promoting evidence-based practices for young children, ages birth to 3, with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Visit the site for a variety of resources, including information on coaching practices, presentations, learning modules, and other training resources.

Autism Case Training (ACT) (external website)

Learn the Signs. Act Early.


The "Autism Case Training (ACT): A Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Curriculum" is designed to educate future healthcare providers on fundamental components of identifying, diagnosing, and managing autism spectrum disorders through real life scenarios. EI practitioners and administrators may find this information useful when collaborating with referring physicians in their areas.

Autism Spectrum Disorders Knowledge Path (external website)

The Maternal and Child Health Library at Georgetown University

This knowledge path about autism spectrum disorders (ASD) has been compiled by the MCH Library at Georgetown University. It offers a selection of current, high-quality resources about ASD screening and diagnosis, treatment and intervention, communication, education, vocational challenges, and impact on family life. Separate sections identify resources that address concerns about vaccines, environmental health research, and inappropriate use of seclusion and restraints. Separate briefs point to resources for families and schools. This knowledge path will be updated periodically.

Center for Autism and Related Disorders (external website)

Kennedy Krieger Institute

CARD is an interdisciplinary program that supports children, families and practitioners in the ASD community through research, clinical service, day support, and training programs. To learn more about CARD, read their Fact Sheet

National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders (external website)

The National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders is a multi-university center to promote the use of evidence-based practice for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. Visit this site to find information about evidence-based practices and early identification.

Summary of Advances in Autism Spectrum Disorders Research (external website)

Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC)

Each year, the IACC releases its annual list of scientific advances that represent significant progress in the field. The Summary of Advances provides short, plain language summaries of the top research breakthroughs selected by the IACC from a pool of research articles nominated by the members.



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