Online Courses

Monthly Calendar Online Courses

VCU-ACE offers a wide variety of online training opportunities for professionals, families, individuals with ASD, and the community at large. These comprehensive e-learning opportunities investigate larger topics related to ASD. There are currently two types of online courses: facilitated and self-paced. Facilitated courses have narrated recorded presentations, video examples, quizzes, interactive discussion boards hosted by a course instructor, and can last between 4 to 6 weeks long. Self-paced courses allow participants to go at their own pace and have narrated recorded presentations from various experts in ASD and video examples.

Current courses cover various subjects related to ASD and are regularly scheduled throughout the year. For more information about our e-learning opportunities, or to register for a course, please scroll through the listings below.

  Course Name
More Information
  • September 11, 2023
Just the Basics: Educating Young Children with ASD in Early Care and Education

This course is designed for early childhood care and education professionals who want to expand their knowledge of best practices for young children with ASD. Families and community members are also welcome to take this course. This course is designed to be the first step in pursuing goals towards improved practices in early care and education for young children with ASD. At the end of this Just the Basics course, you'll be prepared to create an individualized learning path that includes the next set of courses, Setting the Stage for Learning for Young Children with ASD, Instruction in Early Childhood for Young Children with ASD, and Supporting Interactions for Young Children with ASD.

More Information
  • September 11, 2023
Evidence-based Practices to Teach Students with ASD

This course is designed to provide educators with skills and knowledge to instruct students with ASD in the educational setting. The course provides an overview of the importance of good instruction, appropriate skill selection, and evidence-based practices. A focus of the course will surround the "foundational five" evidence-based practices. The "foundational five" include: antecedent-based interventions, visual supports, systematic instruction, and interventions to promote social and communication skills. Participants will learn how to implement these practices through case study examples and supplemental learning activities.

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  • October 9, 2023
Using Positive Behavior Supports to Promote the Functional Behavior Assessment Process

This course will include the process of conducting a Functional Behavior Assessment, developing and implementing a Behavior Intervention Plan, and strategies for intervening when interfering behavior occurs. Students with ASD often present behaviors that interfere with learning in the educational setting. It is necessary to understand how and why interfering behaviors develop and to have knowledge of evidence based interventions designed to support positive behavior change.

More Information

Self-paced; registration always open
Administrators Guide to Students with Autism

This course is designed to teach the common and defining characteristics of autism and how to support students both academically and behaviorally. Strategies are provided in the context of a multi-tiered system of support (MTSS) framework with examples of how they could be used to support students throughout the continuum of learning environments.

More Information

Self-paced; registration always open
Preparing the Child with ASD for the Early Childhood-to-Kindergarten Transition

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.

More Information

Self-paced; registration always open
Autism Spectrum Disorder for Paraprofessionals: Providing Effective Instruction and Supports

This course is designed to provide paraprofessionals with skills and knowledge needed to support students with an ASD in the school setting. The course will provide an overview of the potential roles and responsibilities the paraprofessional may be asked to deliver. Participants will learn how to carry out their responsibilities while maintaining respect for the students and exhibiting sensitivity to beliefs, values, and cultures.

*This course fulfills the requirement for paraprofessionals in the state of Virginia who serve students with autism spectrum disorder.

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Self-paced; registration always open
VARC Autism Training

During this self-paced course, you will learn about working with persons with Autism. The course covers an introductions to working with persons with Autism, behavior and sensory strategies, communication and social skills, and building independence and inclusion.

The course is provided by the Virginia Autism Resource Center at Virginia Commonwealth University's Autism Center.

More Information

Self-paced; registration always open
Foundations of Autism Spectrum Disorder Self-Paced Online Course

This course will provide participants with an understanding of the primary characteristics of ASD, which include impairments in communication and social development and the presence of repetitive patterns of behavior as well as sensory processing issues. Secondary characteristics, including executive dysfunction, imitation, sequencing, and motor deficits as well as common co-morbid conditions will also be explored. The course will discuss the myths and facts surrounding ASD as well as the supports and services available to those with ASD and their families. The course will also provide an overview of the history, cause, and early signs of ASD as well as discuss the importance of understanding and utilizing strengths and interests. This course will also examine ASD throughout the lifespan.

More Information

Self-paced; registration always open
Improving Goal Mastery through Data-Based Decision-Making

There are many strategies for instruction and intervention with students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to teach skills needed to lead independent, productive, and happy lives; yet, these practices are often implemented without carefully monitoring the effectiveness of instruction. In this course, a structured and systematic approach to developing, implementing, and monitoring goals and objectives written for students with ASD is provided. The course begins by outlining how to write objective and measurable goals that will allow educators to determine whether a student is making adequate progress. Next, an overview of data collection, including types and purposes of data, is provided. The final section describes how to graph data and use graphs to make informed decisions. A focus is placed on regularly reviewing student performance on goals and objectives and making person-centered changes in approaches when needed to facilitate progress.

More Information

Self-paced; registration always open
The Parent Playbook

This course is designed to introduce families to information about Autism Spectrum Disorder, including tips specifically for caregivers, information about the DSM-5, characteristics, interventions, and recommended programs and services.

**Please Note: All VCU-ACE online courses are currently available to residents of Virginia only.

Upcoming Virtual Learning Communities in Autism:

  Title Dates
VLC in Autism: Antecedent-Based Interventions September 5 - 26, 2023


What is a Virtual Learning Community?

A learning community is a place for individuals to learn new knowledge and skills through collaboration. This community will meet online to share experiences supporting students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other related disabilities. Participants will meet regularly, share expertise, and work collaboratively specifically to promote positive behaviors for students with ASD.

Who should register to participate?

This Community is for professionals and paraprofessionals who support students with ASD in Virginia. Participants specifically interested in promoting positive behaviors in students with ASD are the target audience. This includes teachers, principals, paraprofessionals, special education directors, transition coordinators, and any other interested school personnel.

Where and when will the participants meet?

Weekly sessions in live virtual meetings (Wednesdays 3:00-4:00pm, via Zoom video conference). Participants are expected to participate each week, share resources and reflections, and evaluate their own implementation.

Can I earn recertification points for participation?

Points for educators working towards licensure renewal (recertification) may be awarded for completion of this activity. Each month, you should expect to participate in 8 hours of time to complete all of the activities. At the end of the 4 sessions the participant will have completed 8 contact hours. Certificates of completion will be sent to all individuals who successfully complete these hours documenting participation and successful participation.

Is there a cost to participate?

There is no cost to participate for professionals and paraprofessionals in Virginia. At this time, we cannot accept registrations from individuals who do not work in the Commonwealth of Virginia's School Systems.

Who do I contact for more information?

Learning Community Leader: Teresa Cogar

Mailing address:

PO Box 842011
Richmond, VA 23284-2011