ABS101 - Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Outline info
Last revision date Jul 19, 2021 1:27:30 PM
Last review date Jul 19, 2021 1:27:49 PM

Subject Title
Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Subject Description
Students learn about the neuro developmental and behavioural aspects of people with ASD; previously labelled as five different syndromes under the autism spectrum disorder umbrella. Students also learn about causes, symptoms, diagnostic tools, research-based interventions and cover Autism Spectrum Disorder from birth to adulthood.

Credit Status
One Credit toward the Autism and Behavioural Science Ontario Graduate Certificate Program.

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

1. Explain the neurological, behavioural, and developmental characteristics of individuals with ASD.
2. Assess the characteristics and skills of individuals with ASD using formal and informal procedures.
3. Research and evaluate scientific literature and determine its relevance and application to clinical practice in ASD.
4. Survey available community services for individuals with ASD and their families.
       Vocational Learning Outcomes: Autism and Behavioural Science Program
            1. Assess and analyze the characteristics, skills, and behaviour of individuals with ASD to effectively implement evidence-based behavioural interventions.
2. Design and implement effective behavioural intervention plans under appropriate supervision and based on the principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA).
3. Evaluate the effectiveness of behavioural intervention plans based on the principles of ABA.
4. Work collaboratively with families, teams, service providers, and the broader community to respond to the learning and behavioural needs of individuals with ASD.
5. Design, implement, and evaluate as part of a team, ABA based transition plans for individuals with ASD.
6. Comply with established ethical principles and professional guidelines.
7. Provide leadership in the promotion and provision of services to meet the needs of individuals with ASD and their families.
8. Evaluate empirical evidence in order to select appropriate interventions for individuals with ASD.

Academic Integrity
Seneca upholds a learning community that values academic integrity, honesty, fairness, trust, respect, responsibility and courage. These values enhance Seneca's commitment to deliver high-quality education and teaching excellence, while supporting a positive learning environment. Ensure that you are aware of Seneca's Academic Integrity Policy which can be found at: http://www.senecacollege.ca/about/policies/academic-integrity-policy.html Review section 2 of the policy for details regarding approaches to supporting integrity. Section 2.3 and Appendix B of the policy describe various sanctions that can be applied, if there is suspected academic misconduct (e.g., contract cheating, cheating, falsification, impersonation or plagiarism).

Please visit the Academic Integrity website http://open2.senecac.on.ca/sites/academic-integrity/for-students to understand and learn more about how to prepare and submit work so that it supports academic integrity, and to avoid academic misconduct.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at student.conduct@senecacollege.ca.

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Accessibility Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.

Admission into the Autism and Behavioural Science Graduate Certificate Program.

Topic Outline

Neurological, behavioural, and developmental characteristics and skills of children with ASD
Clinical perspective of ASD - an introduction to multiaxial model
Introduction to multidimensional assessment using the different instruments
Core domain of dysfunction with ASD children
Overview and components of behaviour interventions
Profile of the ASD child within the neurodevelopmental perspective
Surveying community services for ASD children and their families

Mode of Instruction

Online delivery

Prescribed Texts

No textbook required.

Reference Material
Recommended Web Resource List
There are many valuable web resources that may be helpful to your learning outcomes for this course. Here are some that have been provided for you to access for research assignments and discussion forums.


This website has many valuable videos, resources, and links that may be used throughout this course. You may access this for your own educational support for research.

The mission of Childnett.tv® is to reach out globally to families, clinicians, and educators http://www.childnett.tv over the internet to provide information related to autism and other neurological disorders. Viewers can watch personal stories, therapies, and the latest medical research 24 hours a day from home, work, or wherever high-speed internet access is available - all for free.


Assessing Science on the Internet


Autism Research Institute


Devoted to conducting research and disseminating the results of research on the causes of autism and on methods of preventing, diagnosing, and treating autism.

Association for Science in Autism Treatment


Our mission is to disseminate accurate, scientifically sound information about autism and treatments for autism and to improve access to effective, science-based treatments for all people with autism, regardless of age, severity of condition, income or place of residence.

UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute


Mission is to understand the causes and develop better treatments and ultimately cures for neurodevelopmental disorders.

University of Rochester


Description of research projects on autism including genetic and environmental studies to aid in the understanding of the origins of autism and related disorders.


The Floortime Foundation


Floortime strategies and Developmental, Individual Difference, Relationship-Based (DIR) Model

Autism Society of Canada


RDI Connection Center


Relationship Development Intervention (RDI).

Autism Research at the University of Michigan


Diagnostic instruments used in the evaluation of autism:

1. Autism Diagnostic Observation Scale (ADOS)
2. Autism Diagnostic Interview (ADI)  


Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children (TEACCH)


Developed in the early 1970s by their founder, Eric Schopler, the TEACCH approach includes a focus on the person with autism and the development of a program around this person's skills, interests, and needs.


The Canadian Autism Intervention Research Network (CAIRN) is a consortium of researchers, parents, professionals and policy makers from across Canada that ... www.cairn-site.com

Geneva Centre for Autism (GCA) Resource Information Package 1: Autism and PDD

www.autism.net Go to resources; select from lists of readings. Reading packages can be purchased for a small fee.


Life on and slightly to the right of the autism spectrum: A personal Account


Adults with ASD: The spectrum. Teresa J. Foden IAN


Autism Ontario. (2008, April). A series of information tips and profiles about adolescents and adults with autism or aspergers. Autism Advisor, 1. Retrieved from, http://www.autismontario.com

Autism Society of Canada




    Disk 1: General Characteristics of ASD

1. What is Autism

2. Being Autistic

3. Do you like being Autistic?

4. Social Navigation

5. Social 1,2, and 3

6. Building on Strengths

7. Communication

8. Challenging Behaviour, Collecting Objects, and Building on Strengths

9. Sensitivities and Noises

Student Progression and Promotion Policy


Grading Policyhttp://www.senecacollege.ca/about/policies/grading-policy.html

A+ 90%  to  100%
A 80%  to  89%
B+ 75%  to  79%
B 70%  to  74%
C+ 65%  to  69%
C 60%  to  64%
D+ 55%  to  59%
D 50%  to  54%
F 0%    to  49% (Not a Pass)
EXC Excellent
SAT Satisfactory
UNSAT Unsatisfactory

For further information, see a copy of the Academic Policy, available online (http://www.senecacollege.ca/about/policies/academics-and-student-services.html) or at Seneca's Registrar's Offices. (https://www.senecacollege.ca/registrar.html).


Modes of Evaluation
To pass this subject, students must achieve the learning outcomes of the subject.  This is demonstrated by the student's successful completion of the term work and final exam/evaluations. A passing grade in the Autism and Behavioural Science Ontario College Graduate Certificate is a minimum of "C" (60%).

Assignment 1 - 10%
Assignment 2 - 10%
Assignment 3 - 25%
Assignment 4 - 25%
Quiz - 10%
Discussion Forums (5 x 4%) - 20%

Note: Passing grade for this course is 60%.

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