ABS101 - Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Outline info
Last revision date 2018-07-13 14:32:41.97
Last review date 2018-07-13 14:32:41.972

Subject Title
Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Subject Description
Students will learn about the neurodevelopmental and behavioural aspects of people with Autism Spectrum Disorder, previously labelled as five different syndromes under the Autism Spectrum Disorder umbrella. Students will learn about the causes, symptoms, diagnostics tools, research-based interventions, and will 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.

Cheating and Plagiarism
Each student should be aware of the College's policy regarding Cheating and Plagiarism. Seneca's Academic Policy will be strictly enforced.

To support academic honesty at Seneca College, all work submitted by students may be reviewed for authenticity and originality, utilizing software tools and third party services. Please visit the Academic Honesty site on http://library.senecacollege.ca for further information regarding cheating and plagiarism policies and procedures.

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 Disabilities Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.

Acceptance 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

The Faculty of Continuing Education & Training offers subjects in alternative modes.
This allows the student to take the Autism and Behavioural Science Ontario Graduate
Certificate Program subjects in:
     1.  the traditional classroom
     2.  online
     3.  mixed mode - a combination of in-class and independent study

This subject will be delivered via lecture, assigned readings, exercises, group discussions and independent study.

Prescribed Texts

Autism Spectrum Disorder Characteristics, Causes and Practical Issues, 2017  
by Jill Boucher, Sage Publications, ISBN 9781446295663


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

Promotion Policy

Grading Policy
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/academic-policy) or at Seneca's Registrar's Offices.

Grading is based on the following marking scheme for classroom and on-line:
Assignment 1
Assignment 2
Midterm Exam
Discussion Forums  4 (5% each)
Team Research Review and Presentation
Total                         100%
Assignment 1
Assignment 2
Assignment 3
            Assignment 4 25%
            Quiz 10%
Discussion Forums  (5 x 4% each)
Total                         100%

Note:  The passing grade for this course is 60%

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%).  The student must pass both the term work and final exam/evaluations to pass the subject.  If the student does not pass the term work, the student may not be permitted to write the final exam where applicable.  If the student passes the term work, but fails the final examination, the student may be awarded a Supplemental Grade at the discretion of the Promotion Committee. 

Assignments are due at the beginning of the class on the dates specified.  Should extenuating circumstances arise, please contact your Instructor immediately, prior to when your assignment is due, so an appropriate course of action can be established.  Late assignments are subject to grade penalties and will not be accepted beyond two weeks after the assignments due date.
Students unable to complete any formal evaluations without sufficient documented reason, will be given a grade of zero for the missed assessment(s).


Assignments (2@10% each) 20%
Assignments (2@25% each) 50%
Quiz 10%
Discussion Forums (5@4% each) 20%

Approved by: Lisa Harfield