[semester equivalent = 2.00 credits]



Lori Gibson



If you have students with one of the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), and you don’t know what they’re thinking or feeling, your days will be difficult – and theirs will be too. Most Pre-K through 12th grade educators have worked with ASD students all ready, and the prevalence of ASD is increasing.  This class is an essential introduction to this puzzling disorder.  Course topics include the potential causes, diagnosis, types of ASD, explanation of behavior patterns, and strategies/resources for educators. You can customize your assignments to match your circumstances.

This course is appropriate for Pre-K through grade 12 teachers, administrators, support staff and parents.  



LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon completion of this course, participants will have:

  1. Understand what Autism Spectrum Disorders (Autism, Asperger's and PDD-NOS, etc.) are and be able to identify the distinguishing features between them.
  2. Be able to define what Autism Learning Disorders (ALD) and Autism Learning Styles (ALS) are. A
  3. Be able to discuss the importance of knowing what these are specifically in a student who has been given a diagnosis of ASD.
  4. Have a framework for understanding the current research and findings regarding the origins of ASD.
  5. Have numerous strategies/resources that you can use in your professional situation.
  6. Have numerous resources that you can share with colleagues, administrators, parents and your students, when applicable. 

Completion of all specified assignments is required for issuance of hours or credit.  The Heritage Institute does not award partial credit. 


Completing the basic assignments (Section A. Information Acquisition) for this course automatically earns participant’s their choice of CEUs (Continuing Education Units), or Washington State Clock Hours or Oregon PDUs. The Heritage Institute offers CEUs and is an approved provider of Washington State Clock Hours and Oregon PDUs.



Continuing Education Quarter credits are awarded by Antioch University Seattle (AUS). AUS requires 75% or better for credit at the 400 level and 85% or better to issue credit at the 500 level. These criteria refer both to the amount and quality of work submitted.

  1. Completion of Information Acquisition assignments 30%
  2. Completion of Learning Application assignments 40%
  3. Completion of Integration Paper assignment 30%


CREDIT/NO CREDIT (No Letter Grades or Numeric Equivalents on Transcripts)
Antioch University Seattle (AUS) Continuing Education Quarter credit is offered on a Credit/No Credit basis; neither letter grades nor numeric equivalents are on a transcript. 400 level credit is equal to a "C" or better, 500 level credit is equal to a "B" or better. This information is on the back of the transcript.

AUS Continuing Education quarter credits may or may not be accepted into degree programs. Prior to registering determine with your district personnel, department head or state education office the acceptability of these credits for your purpose.



Helping Children with Autism Learn by Bryna Siegel, 2007: Oxford University Press, New York, N.Y. 512 pages. ISBN 978-0195325065

  • Helping Children with Autism Learn
    ISBN# 0195325060
    by Siegel, Bryna
    OUP US

    Buy from Amazon


Text, Helping Children with Autism Learn, is available from Amazon for about $17.


Lori Gibson, M.A., E.S.A.  is a school counselor for Spokane Public Schools. She holds a Master's in Counseling Psychology from Gonzaga University. She also has a B.A. in Elementary Education from Whitworth University. Over the past 28 years she has also held positions as a counselor for North Chicago High School in Illinois and the Lake Washington School District in Redmond, WA. Lori has taught workshops for The Heritage Institute for the past 18 years (most of them with her dear friend Jacquie Johansson Bernbaum). She is passionate about the opportunity to support her colleagues in their noble work in schools.  In a time when high stakes testing seems to take precedence above all, she believes educators must work diligently to focus on the "whole child.” The challenges facing students can include learning disabilities, social difficulties, family stressors, generational poverty or entitlement issues, to name a few.  Educators know these are challenges that can make it extremely difficult for some students to engage in the learning process. This necessitates teachers and administrators to be up to date on the latest research and have specific strategies to address the needs of their students. The purpose of Lori’s courses is to equip educators for these challenges in a respectful and encouraging manner.



Baron-Cohen, S. (2004). The Essential Difference: Male and Female Brains and the Truth about Autism. New York, N.Y.: Basic Books. ISBN: 978-0465005567. Written by the author of the well-respected Mindblindness, this text is a fascinating read, looking at Baron-Cohen's theory that autistic people are just at the far end of a spectrum.  To simplify considerably - he proposes a spectrum where there are those who are good at empathizing (females) and those who are better at systemizing (males). Autistic people lie at the extreme end of the spectrum as they are typically extraordinarily good systemizers and poor empathizers.  There is a fun and interesting test called reading the Mind in the Eyes (see Appendix 1). This book, although controversial, is a well-written and interesting exploration of a theory on the origins of autism.

Goleman, Daniel (2007).  Social Intelligence.  New York, NY: Bantam.  ISBN: 978-0553384499. Most educators have read Daniel Goleman's classic work on emotional intelligence. This book is a must-read for those who want to understand the components of social intelligence. It is an especially important work for those who teach Asperger's or High-Functioning Autistic students.  

Lockshin, S, Gillis, J. & Romanczyk, R. (2005). Helping Your Child with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Step by Step Workbook for Families.  Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc. ISBN: 978-1572243842. Having a child with ASD can create a very stressful family life.  This book is a helpful guide to looking at the behaviors that can be challenging and provides practical suggestions for working through them.  This book is in a workbook format so it is user-friendly and will help parents navigate the twists and turns of having an ASD child with the goal of having a healthy family for the benefit of everyone.

Mannix, D. (2008). Social Skills Activities for Special Children. San Francisco, California: Jossey-Bass Publishers. Publishers. ISBN: 978-0470259351. This is an update of the classic resource for special education teachers, counselors and social workers who want to help their students develop social skills.  The book has over 160 activities  and is organized around three core areas crucial to social development in the elementary grades. They include: accepting rules and authority at school, relating to peers, and developing positive social skills.  There is a separate book for those who work in secondary schools – Social Skill Activities:  For Secondary Students with Special Needs

Ozonoff, S., Dawson, G. & McPartland, J. (2014). A Parent’s Guide to Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism, Second Edition. New York, N.Y.: Gilford Publications, Inc. ISBN: 978-1462517473. This book takes a comprehensive look at children who are diagnosed as having either Asperger Syndrome or High-Functioning Autism.  It looks at diagnosis, potential interventions, support for families, etc.  Many books on this subject look at early intervention and early childhood. The strength of this book is that it also covers the adolescent and transition to adulthood issues for these individuals.  Although written for parents, it is a tremendous resource for teachers as well.

Seigel, Bryna. (2007). Helping Children With Autism Learn. New York, NY. Oxford Press, (selected chapters assigned for credit). ISBN 978-0195325065. Dr. Bryna Siegel is the Director of the University of California's Autism Clinic. She has worked with autisitic children and their families for over 30 years.  As a result of her personal commitment to these children she has written a thoughtful and hopeful book.  She understands that the behaviors and thoughts of a child diagnosed with ASD can be very complex, puzzling and overwhelming for parents and educators.  Dr. Siegel's framework for looking at the abilities and disabilities of ASD student are very insightful for increasing understanding, as well as developing effective educational interventions for these students.

Shapiro, Lawrence & Holmes, Julia (2008). Let's Be Friends: A Workbook to Help Kids Learn Social Skills & Make Great Friends. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc. ISBN: 978-1572246102. Very practical workbook for children.  Could be adapted by parents or teachers to help children in primary grades, although it is probably best for 3rd grade through junior high and possibly high school students.  We  have used it in the elementary school setting with Asperger's students  and recommend it.

Sicile-Kira, C. (2014). Autism Spectrum Disorder (revised): The Complete Guide to Understanding Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, Pervasive Developmental Disorder, and Other ASDs. New York, N.Y.: TarcherPerigee.  ISBN: 978-0399166631. This book was written by the mother of an ASD child, who is also a professional in the field of autism.  This is a very comprehensive book as well for understanding the autism categories, potential causes, diagnosis, possible treatments and interventions, etc. There is an excellent chapter on education, as well.

Silverman, Stephan & Weinfeld, Rich (2014). School Success for Kids with Asperger's Syndrome. Waco, TX: Prufrock Press, Inc. ISBN: 978-1618211651. This book does an excellent job of describing Asperger students, what their needs are within the school system as well as offering effective solutions to help them navigate, and develop the social and language skills necessary to survive in the system.  This is a good resource (regardless of the age of the Asperger's student) for parents, teachers and administrators.

Winner, Michelle Garcia (2006). Think Social.  San Jose, CA: Think Social Publishing. ISBN: 978-0970132048. This is an excellent curriculum for working with ASD students.  Based on Theory of Mind, it focuses on the ability of students to understand the perspective of others, which is obviously necessary in order to relate to others.  Speech therapists, special education teachers, counselors, social workers and others will find this to be a very useful tool for working with their ASD students. 

Winner, Michelle Garcia (2007). Thinking About You Thinking About Me. San Jose, CA: Think Social Publishing. ISBN: 978-0970132062. If you are interested in a thorough exploration of social cognitive learning disabilities, this is definitely a text we would recommend.  It is the theoretical work that is the basis for Michelle Winner's curriculum Think Social!  It describes the impact that language and behavior have on social thinking.  There are strategies, etc. in this text as well.  Those who are responsible


Web-Based Resources (recommend under Families and Adults –visit the Resource Library) (recommend watching the video on techniques for talking with parents about concerns regarding possible developmental issues)  “Private Worlds” hosted by Linda Ellerbee Nick News  (recommend clicking on the Kids section and search for “autism” for many kid-friendly resources)