Unit 1: What is ASD and how is it diagnosed?



  1. Develop an understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) by learning all the disabilities the spectrum encompasses.
  2. Learn how ASD is diagnosed by evaluating the criteria for an ASD diagnosis.
  3. Understand the developmental differences between students diagnosed with ASD and typically developing students by comparing the developmental milestones of each.
  4. Understand why learning about ASD is important as an educator by evaluating graphs that show the rapid growth in ASD amongst current and future students.

Beginning Activities

Autism KWL Chart

Follow the Autism Video to watch a short video about Autism. This video gives a brief introduction to Autism and how it is diagnosed (use the back button in your browser to return to Unit 1). [Autism Video] (Halliday 2009)


Children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) continue to grow rapidly each year. From 1993-2007 the number of confirmed children with ASD has grown 1558% (fightingautism.org, 2009) From 2003-2007 the growth has been 753% (fightingautism.org, 2009). These numbers mean that we have a growing number of students with ASD in our school system, and a huge number of children diagnosed with ASD who have not yet entered our school system. Students diagnosed with ASD have unique needs that require teachers to have knowledge of this disorder and the accompanying educational challenges. With the push for inclusion classrooms, all teachers, not just special education teachers, need to have a better understanding of students diagnosed with ASD.

ASD Graph1.jpg

ASD Graph2.jpg