Online Class: Autism 101

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Course Description


Autism Isn't…

A result of inadequate parenting

Nor is it a learning disability.

And a diagnosis certainly needn't be viewed as a life long sentence to mediocrity, emptiness, dissatisfaction or lack of either fulfillment or productivity.

Autism is plainly and simply a neurobiological condition (more specifically a neurodevelopmental disorder) that comes with lifelong challenges but also brings with it some fantastic lifelong opportunities for growth. Opportunities which are not only limited to the person who has the condition, but also for siblings and other family members, friends and supporters.

Certainly, nobody has to be condemned to a less than first rate life because they are labeled in some way, or another, as being defective or less than they can be, solely because they are autistic. Yes, it can be frightening (particularly to a new parent) when a child is diagnosed with a condition that has no known cure and about which many doctors and researchers still disagree. And yes, it may be a different life than a parent would have envisaged.

BUT there is much more than just hope, there are living breathing examples of autistic people who have achieved much and will continue to achieve do so, such as the widely acknowledged Dr Temple Grandin (college professor, sought after professional speaker and inventor). 

Famous people of the past who were very likely to have been in some way autistic, include such as Albert Einstein. So autism is not only treatable but can in many ways utilized and developed as a gift.

This course will give you an insight into this condition (once considered very rare) which touches many more lives than people realize, or even care to admit. There is much reason for hope!

Unfortunately, there are more than a few myths and misconceptions surrounding autism – they are numerous, with some actually relating to the cause of autism, and others simply plain old wives tales or myths.
All perpetuate ignorance -- ignorance of the kind that thrives and builds upon itself, influencing and twisting people's basic beliefs and level of understanding to the extent that tolerance and caring is virtually non-existent.

This course is not only designed to give people intimately touched by autism a proper and practical insight into the condition, but also to educate others in a way that will enable them to see autism in a much clearer light. This can enable them to actively participate in the promotion of a much more positive and pro-active attitude about this disorder and its sufferers.

The main reason that autism is so very difficult to characterize is that it is so very "individual," varying greatly from one person to the next. That is why it is called a "spectrum disorder" – meaning that its signs and symptoms vary both in frequency and severity – with practically every individual being affected differently.

Throughout this course, you will notice that sometimes we use the expression"ASDs" (meaning Autism Spectrum Disorders) or the word "Autism." The terms are often interchangeable and shall be used that way in this exercise.
There are many myths and misconceptions surrounding autism. Some are just the result of simple ignorance; some are downright dangerous. But whatever the reason or cause of myths or misconceptions arising in the first place, they need to be addressed.

Therefore, the objective of this particular lesson is to sift through a number of the myths and misconceptions connected with autism, and give you the full facts so you then have an accurate and full picture of the reality.

For example -- "children with autism rarely attend college," "individuals diagnosed with autism usually end up having to live in institutions," or "autism is an emotional disability," or even that "autism is rare": These are just a few of the totally incorrect myths connected to autism.

As a matter of interest, for those more analytical types, autism is the fastest growing disability in the United States – with over 1.5 million individuals being diagnosed. A little daunting?

Some of the more common myths would include:

1. All people with autism have special abilities, as displayed by Dustin Hoffman's character, Raymond Babbitt, in the movie Rainman.

2. Children with autism cannot speak.

3. Autistic children cannot learn in a normal school and need to be educated in a special program.

4. Children with autism cannot learn social skills, and therefore cannot relate at all to others.

5. People with autism cannot be active contributing members of the community.

6. Autism can be cured utilizing special diets and supplements, as it is caused by allergies and or chemical imbalances.

7. People with autism just don't want to interact with others.

8. Schoolmates of an autistic child shouldn't be told about their classmate's disorder, as they won't notice any difference anyway.

9. Programs of a behavioral nature can and will cure autism. 

10. Females are more likely than males to be diagnosed with autism.

The reality is:

1. Only a minute number of people with ASDs have extremely high IQs and are able to do amazing things (sometimes referred to as "splinter skills"). By far, most autistic people have average, or in some cases, slightly less than average, skills.

2. It's accurate to say that some children with autism cannot speak, but when the condition is both recognized and dealt with early, some three-quarters of those children are then able to communicate verbally. 

3. To actually separate autistic children and place them in a separate program would, if anything, inhibit their ability to learn -- and severely limit their possible progress. One of the symptoms of ASDs is abnormal social interaction, and surely one of the main goals of any educational program is to develop the children involved into contributing members of society. Therefore, to separate them would most likely inhibit their ability to learn the necessary social behaviors required of every normal human being. It's not only the autistic children that benefit from a normal school setting, it's also the other children in the class who can learn and benefit from mixing with others who are different.

4. The answer here, again, is to start early, and for intervention programs to be developed around that specific individual's disorder and needs. Remember that autistic children don't have the ability (that normal children do) to develop social skills along the way, unless actively taught how to develop them.

Autistic children can certainly have relationships with other children, and with other people. The myth that autistic people cannot have relationships with others most probably stems from the fact that the majority of them do not like to be touched. This doesn't necessarily mean they cannot love someone, but that they simply don't like to be touched by others – and may even find touch painful.

5. Many, many people with autism go on to have very successful careers and meaningful lives within their communities. 

6. Just the same as anyone else, autistic people may have allergies and intolerances to certain things that affect their health and behavior, but the assertions that dietary changes and/or supplements can provide a cure is totally wrong.

7. Simply not true! Both autistic children and adults want to interact with others. However, the disorder does make it very difficult for them to develop the normal social skills which allow them to build friendships and social relationships with others.

8. The honest truth is that autism is noticeable, some cases more than others, naturally. Also, let's face it: Children are much more perceptive than they are usually given credit for, and certainly more perceptive than a lot of adults.

Children as young as three will notice differences in the people around them, and if they are not provided with the correct background information about a classmate's disorder, invariably they will draw their own conclusions, which is not always the best thing.

Naturally, before any classmate's situation (whether it be in reference to general health, a disability or anything else) is discussed in a classroom situation, the parents' permission must be sought and granted.

9. The people that claim that behavioral programs can cure autism are not only incorrect, but downright dishonest -- to make a claim of this sort is reprehensible. 

Behavioral programs will often help a person be better able to handle autism, but they will definitely not cure it. Autism does not have a cure.

10. In fact, males are four times more likely than females to be diagnosed with autism.
MMR Controversy
One of the most important, if not the most important, misconceptions that needs to be addressed relates to the MMR vaccine. It is also probably the most controversial association made in regard to the autism spectrum.

The argument that the MMR vaccine can cause autism most likely comes from the simple fact that autism symptoms usually begin to emerge within those first few years of life – at the same time as most children receive their various vaccinations.

Parents and others can be comforted by the fact that research shows strong evidence that there is absolutely no link between ASDs and the vaccinations.

So what can an individual do to challenge myths and misconceptions, and change perceptions, in relation to autism?
It's not a simple task, unfortunately, and you won't do it within an hour, week, month or even a year, but you can make a start by looking at one of the nine points above and working on that.

Research, read, and talk to various people. Look on the Internet; there are plenty of great sites that are extremely informative and helpful, as well as being interesting.

  • Completely Online
  • Self-Paced
  • Printable Lessons
  • Full HD Video
  • 6 Months to Complete
  • 24/7 Availability
  • Start Anytime
  • PC & Mac Compatible
  • Android & iOS Friendly
  • Accredited CEUs
Universal Class is an IACET Accredited Provider

Course Lessons

Average Lesson Rating:
4.7 / 5 Stars (Average Rating)
"Extraordinarily Helpful"
(3,468 votes)

Lesson 1 - Autism: Myths and Misconceptions

Lesson 1 - Myths & Misconceptions 33 Total Points
  • Lesson 1 Video
  • Review 2 Articles: 5 Common Misconceptions; Raising Awareness
  • Take Poll: Autism Course
  • Take Survey: Reasons for Taking this Course
  • Complete: Lesson 1 Assignment
  • Complete: Quiz for Lesson 1 - Myths & Misconceptions

Lesson 2: An Overview of a Special World -- Autism!

Lesson 2: An Overview of a Special World - Autism! 34 Total Points
  • Lesson 2 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 2 Assignment
  • Complete: Quiz for Lesson 2 - An Overview of a Special World - Autism!

Lesson 3: Exploring the History and Language of Autism

Lesson 3: Exploring the History and Language of Autism 34 Total Points
  • Lesson 3 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 3 Assignment
  • Complete: Quiz for Lesson 3 - Exploring the history & language of Autism

Lesson 4: Symptoms, Screening, and Diagnosis

Lesson 4: Symptoms, Screening, and Diagnosis 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 4 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 4 Assignment
  • Complete: Quiz for Lesson 4 - Symptoms, Screening & Diagnosis

Lesson 5: Treatment Options - Understanding, Evaluating, Deciding, and Managing

Lesson 5: Treatment Options - Understanding, Evaluating, Deciding, and Managing 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 5 Video
  • Take Poll: Treatments
  • Complete: Lesson 5 Assignment
  • Complete: Quiz for Lesson 5 - Treatment Options - Understanding, Evaluating, Deciding & Managing

Lesson 6: Education -- You, Yours, and Everyone Else!

Lesson 6: Education -- You, Yours, and Everyone Else! 34 Total Points
  • Lesson 6 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 6 Assignment
  • Complete: Quiz for Lesson 6 - Education: You, Yours and Everyone else!

Lesson 7: Family Life With Autism

Lesson 7: Family Life With Autism 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 7 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 7 Assignment
  • Complete: Quiz for Lesson 7 - Family Life with Autism

Lesson 8: The Beginning of Life: A Child With Autism

Lesson 8: The Beginning of Life: A Child With Autism 33 Total Points
  • Lesson 8 Video
  • Review 2 Articles: 5 Steps to Take When Your Child is Diagnosed With Autism; Behavior Charts
  • Complete: Lesson 8 Assignment
  • Complete: Quiz for Lesson 8 - The Beginning of Life – A Child with Autism

Lesson 9: Continuing Life: Living as an Autistic Adult

Lesson 9:Continuing Life: Living as an Autistic Adult 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 9 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 9 Assignment
  • Complete: Quiz for Lesson 9 - Continuing Life; Living as an Autistic Adult

Lesson 10: Communicating Within the Autistic World

Lesson 10: Communicating Within the Autistic World 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 10 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 10 Assignment
  • Complete: Quiz for Lesson 10 - Communicating within the Autistic World

Lesson 11: Support Is Often the Key - Choices and Options

Lesson 11: Support Is Often the Key - Choices and Options 83 Total Points
  • Lesson 11 Video
  • Take Poll: Support
  • Take Survey: Program Evaluation Follow-up Survey (End of Course)
  • Complete: Lesson 11 Assignment
  • Complete: Quiz for Lesson 11- Support is Often the Key - Choices & Options
  • Complete: The Final Exam
Total Course Points

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Identify and describe the myths and misconceptions of autism.
  • Describe the history of autism.
  • Identify the symptoms of autism, describe screening techniques for autism, and recognize the diagnosis of autism.
  • Identify and evaluate various treatments of autism.
  • Describe ways to manage autism.
  • Describe family life with autism.
  • Identify the differences between managing a child with autism and managing an adult with autism.
  • Demonstrate various techniques to communicate with an autistic person, and
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

Additional Course Information

Online CEU Certificate
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Document Your CEUs on Your Resume
Course Title: Autism 101
Course Number: 7550059
Course Requirements: View Course Requirements
Lessons Rating: 4.7 / 5 Stars (3,468 votes)
Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
Course Type: General Education (Self-Paced, Online Class)
CEU Value: 1.0 IACET CEUs (Continuing Education Units)
CE Accreditation: Universal Class, Inc. has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
Grading Policy: Earn a final grade of 70% or higher to receive an online/downloadable CEU Certification documenting CEUs earned.
Assessment Method: Lesson assignments and review exams
Instructor: Dr. Deirdre Mithaug
Syllabus: View Syllabus
Duration: Continuous: Enroll anytime!
Course Fee: $70.00 (no CEU Certification) || with Online CEU Certification: $95.00

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Student Testimonials

  • "All of it was helpful in that I had limited exposure to students with autism in the past and I started working with children with autism during the time I was taking this course." -- Cherene P.
  • "I enjoyed the way the course was organized, the information presented was complete and offered a variety of links to further my exploration on the topic and the instructor was quick to respond to questions and concerns as well as read through assignments." -- Cynthia B.
  • "Lesson links were helpful and great resources." -- Kathy D.
  • "It was all good." -- Jessica D.
  • "I learned a lot about how to be aware of the systems of autism." -- Sarah N.

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