Communication Sciences and Disorders 611

 611: Autism Spectrum Disorders

Prerequisite: Graduate standing or permission  

Credit Hours: (2) Two hours lecture     

Study of autism spectrum disorders with emphasis on research, assessment issues and efficacious intervention.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

This course gives the student an understanding of the nature of autism spectrum disorders (ASD), the challenges of assessment and efficacious treatment.  Etiological factors, and theories as well as the impact of autism on social and communicative exchanges will be discussed.  The following topics will be included in the course:

  • Differential diagnosis issues
    • Asperger Syndrome, Pervasive Developmental Disorder- Not otherwise Specified, Rett Disorder, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, and autism
  • Theories of  ASD
    • Cerebellar differences
    • Limbic system dysfunction
    • Higher Cortical dysfunction
  • Assessment issues
    • Commercially available assessment
    • behavior sampling
  • Efficacious treatment
    • Visual schedules
    • Picture Exchange Communication System
    • Social Stories
    • Augmentative/Alternative Communication
    • Floortime (Greenspan)
  • Social Impact of ASD


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

The course contains lectures, video samples, multimedia presentations related to ASD.   The video samples provide the learner with specific examples of ASD and its variable manifestation in children.  The learners are required to make observations of each video sample for later class discussion.  The samples also allow for improved observational skills.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

The goals and objectives for the students in the course are:

1.  to acquire an understanding of the theories associated with ASD.

2.  to evaluate assessment strategies for ch9ildren with ASD..

3.  to critically evaluate treatment strategies and to identify efficacious intervention.

4.  to understand the impact of ASD on social communication.


Assessment Measures

Assessment methods may include in-class examinations and take-home examinations requiring practical application of assessment and treatment strategies.  Students will complete an annotated bibliography of at least 10 current journal articles related to diagnosis, etiology, assessment and /or intervention.  Students will also identify at least 4 different web-based information sources for information regarding ASD.


Other Course Information