Online Courses

My Child was Just Identified with an Autism Spectrum Disorder: Now What Do I Do?

Register Online


This training is a self-paced online course. The course is provided as a collaboration between the Virginia Commonwealth University Autism Center for Excellence and the Virginia Autism Council.

To participate, you need a computer with (preferably high-speed) internet access, Adobe Flash Player software within your browser, and a sound card with speakers in order to listen to the lectures (full text transcripts are provided for all lectures and multimedia).

Course Overview

This course is designed to introduce families to the characteristics, needs and recommended services for young children with autism spectrum disorders. This course will provide a brief description of the defining characteristics of an autism spectrum disorder. The focus of this course, however, is on effective services, supports and strategies to be implemented.

Who Should Take This Course

This course is designed for parents who have young children identified with an autism spectrum disorder within the past year. However, the content is applicable to any parents who are looking for strategies to support their young child with an autism spectrum disorder.

Certificate of Completion

Upon completion of the course in its entirety, you will be eligible for a Certificate of Completion. This requires you to complete each module by viewing each presentation and reading any associated documents, articles, and web pages. Once you have completed the course content, please fill out the course evaluation. Once the evaluation is completed, you will be provided with a link for a printable Certificate of Completion.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, the participant will be able to:

  1. Discuss the primary characteristics of ASD and the impact on the child and family
  2. Discuss your child's strengths and identify ways to capture them and share with others
  3. Identify essential supports for the entire family to achieve mental wellness and balance
  4. List ways to stay organized and to manage documents and information
  5. Identify essential resources that can provide information on ASD and available services
  6. Identify essential resources that can provide financial assistance including information on Medicaid Waivers
  7. Describe how a comprehensive approach to intervention is needed to address all areas impacted by autism
  8. Define what is meant by "evidence based practices" and describe how to identify such practices
  9. Describe how to provide a structured, safe and organized home environment
  10. Identify supports you can implement in the home and community to help your child understand what is going on and be more independent
  11. Identify strategies you can implement as a parent to help your child increase communication
  12. Identify strategies you can implement as a parent to help your child increase social skills
  13. Identify strategies you can implement as a parent to help your child decrease problem behavior
  14. Identify strategies you can implement as a parent to help your child manage any challenges with sensory stimulation

Organization of the Course

This is a self-paced course, meaning you can complete the course at your own speed. The course is divided into learning modules. You are to begin with the first module and work through each sequentially until all are completed.


Each module contains one or more videos of an expert in ASD providing information on the module topic. Presenters include both professionals in the field as well as parents of children on the spectrum. The webcast may include support documents you can view or download and use. Additionally, website links may be provided so you can obtain further information.

At the conclusion of the course, a "Where to Go?" document is provided outlining resources you may find helpful. At any time during the course, you can visit the course "web board" and post any questions you have regarding any of the module topics.

Module Listing

  • Introduction
  • Module 1: Overview of Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Module 2: Essential Tips for Families
  • Module 3: Virginia Medicaid Waivers for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Module 4: A Comprehensive Approach to Address Needs
  • Module 5: Strategies for the Home: Using Structure and Visual Supports
  • Module 6: Strategies for the Home: Increasing Communication
  • Module 7: Strategies for the Home: Addressing Behavioral Challenges
  • Module 8: Strategies for the Home: Addressing Social Challenges
  • Module 9: Strategies for the Home: Addressing Sensory Differences