Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

Course Outline

A few words about the course: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder marked by impaired social interaction, limited communication, behavioral challenges, and a limited range of activities and interests. Individuals with ASD can show a wide variety of behavioral symptoms, from failure to develop appropriate peer relationships to a delay in or a total lack of spoken language.
While much has been learned about how to educate children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and program successes are widely touted, children and youth with ASD are nonetheless at heightened risk for poor academic outcomes, including conflictual relationships with general education teachers and more restrictive classroom placement. However, autism is a global concern, and it is equally important to consider how cultural differences may affect awareness and understanding of autism, and the particular challenges it poses in low income countries where resources are scarce.
This 5-day-intensive course provides meaningful insight into autism and how autism affects children and their families, how the condition is identified and how ideas and understanding have evolved through time. Participants will be presented with challenging behaviours and will be shown strategies to deal with them. They will be shown good practices applied in various educational settings and will be led to design the proper educational setting and curriculum for their ASD students. Moreover, trainees will have the unique opportunity to implement job shadowing in a center working with children on the spectrum and see first-hand how music, arts and physical education can accelerate students’ learning and inclusion.

Interested in this course?

Course modules

Day 1

  • Ice-breaking techniques- Creating a team spirit
  • Let’s talk about Autism- Introducing the Autism spectrum
  • Setting the frame- Definitions and overview of existing theories
  • What are the signs of Autism and levels of functionality?
  • Autism and its connection to anxiety, aggression and ADHD

Day 2

  • Autism in the mainstream school (documentation of challenges)
  •  Addressing challenges: approaches and interventions
  •  Sharing good practices and pedagogical resources
  •  Reflection on good practices and approaches
  •  Empathy raising activities to implement in classroom

Day 3

  • Setting the pedagogical framework for students with ASD
  • Creating an inclusive learning environment
  • “if you were me…” – a hands-on workshop
  • ICT and Autism: design inclusive lesson plans with online tools
  • Drama and role-play as pedagogical tools in ASD

Day 4

  • Job-shadowing in an all-day center for children with ASD and other behavioural and learning difficulties- Innovative approaches with music, art and physical education

Day 5

  • Cooperating with parents of students with ASD
  • Social stories in autism
  • Write your own social stories with “storyjumber

Learning outcomes

After completing this course, participants will be able to:

  • outline what is meant by autism, why it is considered a spectrum, and how it affects different individuals and families
  • appreciate different approaches to understanding autism, including theoretical and clinical perspectives and personal accounts
  • explain key aspects of diagnosis, intervention, education and life-span development
  • demonstrate critical competence in communication, compassion and empathy
  • defend independence and promote a person-centric approach to the understanding of both autism and ADHD
  • develop competencies so that they can teach with an inclusive approach
  • use social stories and other good practices in the teaching process
  • use ICT, drama and arts as a means of reaching ASD students
  • train classmates of students with ASD and raise empathy


The methodology of this course is based on learning by doing and active learning strategies. The instructional approach is also used in order to provide the theoretical framework but all modules include task-based activities and group work promoting collaboration and synergy among trainees. Job shadowing is also applied so that teachers see firsthand how certain interventions are implemented.

Evaluation- feedback

Participants fill in a course evaluation form providing thus feedback on what they have been taught.