Preparing the Child with ASD for the Early Childhood-to-Kindergarten Transition

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 Department of Education. To participate, you need a computer with (preferably high-speed) internet access, an internet browser, and a sound card with speakers in order to listen to the lectures (full text transcripts are provided).

Course Overview

Transitioning from early childhood programs to kindergarten involves a lot of moving parts for all young children. However, transitioning from the preschool to kindergarten classroom for the child with ASD can be especially tricky. This process involves the child, their family, the preschool teacher, the receiving kindergarten teacher, and a multitude of other people including related service providers such as speech and language pathologists (SLPs), occupational therapists (OTs), and other team members such as paraprofessionals and administrators. This course is designed to support transition teams and help them consider critical issues for children with ASD as they transition from early childhood programs to Kindergarten.

Who Should Take This Course

This course is designed for any professional who supports young children with ASD who will be transitioning into kindergarten. This includes early childhood educators, child care professionals, aides or instructional assistants, administrators, kindergarten teachers, related service providers such as speech and language pathologists (SLPs) or Occupational Therapists (OTs), and families.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify the importance of various roles in the transition process such as early childhood teams, kindergarten teams, the child, and the family.
  • Identify critical information to share with teams and families about the child's strengths, abilities, successful practices for learning new skills, and more.
  • Identify the timeline for transition and share this information with team members.
  • Identify basic information about Autism Spectrum Disorder including characteristics, strengths, and learning challenges.
  • Identify different evidence-based practices used to support children with ASD.
  • Identify professional development needs regarding Autism Spectrum Disorder and interventions designed to support children with ASD.
  • Identify critical skills for supporting a successful transition into kindergarten for young children with ASD including joint attention, social communication skills, emotional regulation, and understanding routines.
  • Identify skill level for young children with ASD regarding joint attention, social communication, emotional regulation, and understanding routines.
  • Identify professional development needs for addressing joint attention, social communication skills, emotional regulation, and teaching routines.
  • Identify resources for transitioning into in-person learning opportunities within the context of COVID-19 changes.

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.

Course Modules

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 with ASD. The presentation may include support documents you can view or download and use. Additionally, website links may be provided so you can obtain further information.

Module Listing

Module 1: Tackling Transition Together
Module 2: Autism Spectrum Disorder 101
Module 3: Evidence-Based Practices for Young Children with ASD
Module 4: Have a Plan! Professional Development and Evidence-Based Practices
Module 5: Supporting Kindergarten Readiness: Thinking Outside the Box
Module 6: Returning to School and COVID-19

Continuing Education Units

Points for educators working towards licensure renewal (recertification) may be awarded for completion of this online course. VDOE provides the following requirements regarding professional development activities: Point value: one point per clock/ contact hour; must be a minimum of five hours per activity. We estimate this course to take a total of 12.5 contact hours to complete. Any teacher who wants to use it as a professional development activity for recertification needs prior approval from the school district. The school district will be responsible for designating the actual number of points that a teacher can earn for participating in the course.

* Please note that the course/ training does not meet any of the requirements for initial licensure in special education or any category of licensure endorsement.

The contents of this course were developed under a contract from the Virginia Department of Education, contract number 881-61172-H027A100107. Virginia Commonwealth University, School of Education and Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution providing access to education and employment without regard to age, race, color, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, veteran's status, political affiliation, or disability. If special accommodations are needed, please contact Vicki Brooke at (804) 828-1851 (voice) or (804) 828-2494 (TTY).

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