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​Autism is a developmental disability, generally evident before age three, that adversely affects a student's educational performance and significantly affects developmental rates and sequences, verbal and non-verbal communication and social interaction and participation. Other characteristics often associated with autism are unusual responses to sensory experiences, engagement in repetitive activities and stereotypical movements and resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines. Students with autism vary widely in their abilities and behavior. The term does not apply if a student's educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the student has an emotional and behavioral disorder. [refer to 34 CFR 300.7(c)(1)(i)]

The term of autism may also include students who have been diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Asperger's Disorder, Rett's Disorder, or Childhood Disintegrative Disorder provided the student's educational performance is adversely affected and the student meets the eligibility and placement requirements. Autism may exist concurrently with other areas of disability.

Resources for Professional Development for Staff

  • Autism Internet Modules:  Forty-five modules provide high quality online professional development on evidence-based practices for students with autism. Module formats include informational text, videos, checklists, and data collection documents.  Each module takes approximately 2 hours to complete. Additional links and resources are provided for deeper understanding.  Sample topics include: Comprehensive Program Planning, Differential Reinforcement, Language and Communication, Restricted Patterns of Behavior, Interests, and Activities, Self-management, Structured Teaching, and Video Modeling.
  • AFIRM Modules: Autism Focused Intervention Resources and Modules created by the National Professional Development Center support twenty-two evidence-based practices. Module topics include: Antecedent-based Intervention, Cognitive Behavioral Intervention, Differentiated Instruction, Discrete Trial Training, Functional Behavior Assessment, Modeling, Peer-Mediated Instruction and Intervention, Prompting, Reinforcement, and Response Interruption and Redirection, Social Skills Training, and Visual Supports. Each module takes approximately 1.5 – 2 hours to complete. Videos and parent guides are available, as well as implementation briefs, handouts for staff, and checklists that can be used for observation and feedback.​
  • Iris Center at Peabody College at Vanderbilt: The IRIS center offers multiple in-depth modules on18 evidence-based practices and programs including: Accommodations, Assessment, Behavior and Classroom Management, Collaboration, Diversity, Juvenile Corrections, Learning Strategies, RTI/MTSS, and Secondary Transition. Resource formats include modules, case studies, activities, informational briefs, video vignettes, and web resources.
  • Interactive Autism Services Map: Visual Policy Initiative that illustrates the inequity of services for students with autism across the state, and helps Georgians find the services they need.
  • Autism in Numbers and Stories: Shows the latest evidence on the cost, benefits, and outcomes of early detection and treatment of autism spectrum disorder, autism prevalence in Georgia, and stories from affected families.

Potty Training

Potty training a child with autism can be daunting for parents and caregivers because of the unique challenges the child faces. Traditional approaches to toilet training may not always be effective. Many parents and therapists have used principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA) to effectively potty train children with autism.

​Autism Resources Webinar Series - NEW!!

Webinars highlight Georgia agencies that provide services to students with autism.  Supports available for families as well as school districts are discussed.  Information is shared about the agency location, population served, services provided, and contact information.  Mark your calendars for the dates!

​Catatonia in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Catatonia is characterized by repetitive movements, mutism, posturing, and frantic agitation. These signs are also frequent in autism yet usually do not amount to a diagnosis of catatonia unless there is a sharp and sustained increase of these symptoms lasting days or weeks. 

Guiding Questions for Youth Exiting from High School

This 15-page resource, jointly developed by the National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT) and the Center for Parent Information and Resources (CPIR), is designed to help youth with disabilities take steps to transition from high school to adult life. It speaks directly to youth, moving through secondary transition considerations step by step.

​Getting a Driver's License

Although the idea of your teen learning to drive may be a scary one, in many cases, there are valuable benefits that can be gained from it. Research shows that learning to drive strengthens community living and feelings of self-identity, both of which are key to emotional well-being in adolescents and young adults.

Going to College with Asperger's & Autism

Transitioning to college can be stressful for any young adult, but those with Asperger’s syndrome or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) often face additional challenges during this time.  There are people and programs in place to help, though.  This guide offers information, expert advice, and resources to help make the transition to college smooth and successful for students with ASD and their families.

Career Guide for College Students with Disabilities

The Career Guide for College Students With Disabilities offers information for students with disabilities in order to help them with their career search. The guide covers everything from knowing your rights to mental and physical disabilities as well as how to prep for a career in college so students can enter the workforce as competitive candidates for a job.

Georgia Colleges That Welcome Students with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities

Inclusive college programs across the state of Georgia offer students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) a variety of experiences and opportunities for growth as they prepare for the next chapter of their lives. Transition planning should include college and begin as early as possible during their middle and high school years.  With inclusive programs, referred to as Inclusive Postsecondary Education (IPSE), students with I/DD can now realize their dream of continuing their studies in a university or college setting with their peers.

Planning Trips for Children with Autism

This resource lists important questions to ask about the preparedness of new spaces for our children, as well as offering strategies for planning trips for children with autism. It includes a link to a trip-planning pdf document to help parents get ready for short and long trips with their children. This website also helps caregivers adapt and prepare for unexpected encounters in new places when changes are not possible.

Instructional Support for Teachers of Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities

Jessie Moreau has provided 2 webinars for students with autism and/or cognitive disabilities.  The first webinar, Part 1, highlights the importance of using visual classroom schedules.  Consistent use of visual schedules is an effective behavior management tool.  Classroom schedules help students understand the sequence of daily events, and thus ease their transition from one activity/location to the next. Examples of individual student schedules for school and home are also provided.  Depending on cognitive ability, these schedules can be tactical, visual, and/or print. 

The second webinar, Part 2, illustrates ways that IEP goals and objectives can easily be embedded into daily classroom activities.  A worksheet for embedding IEP skills is included.