Teaching Students With Autism: Strategies for Success

Teaching Students With Autism: Strategies for Success

Learn how to help your students with high-functioning autism and Asperger's Syndrome unlock their full learning potential. This course will help you develop the knowledge and strategies you will need to ensure your students with autism succeed in the classroom and beyond.

6 Weeks Access / 24 Course Hrs
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If you've ever had a student who blurted out in class, screamed when someone patted their shoulder, or rocked back and forth in the chair, you will appreciate the lessons ahead. In this course, you will discover the neurobiology behind these disorders and the way it affects students' behavior, learning, and thinking. Most important, you will learn creative, easy, low-budget strategies to help your students with Autism succeed in the classroom and beyond.

Develop the skills to counter these students' social discomfort, sensory sensitivities, meltdowns, problems with homework completion, language reciprocity issues, and violent fixations. Even if you don't have a student with high-functioning autism or Asperger's Syndrome in your class this year, these strategies will equip you to deal with any student who exhibits these characteristics on a regular basis.


You may have already taught students with high-functioning autism or Asperger's Syndrome (HFA/AS), but have you taken the time to get to know them? In this lesson, you will discover how their brains are wired differently, the ways they behave, and smart strategies to make when teaching them.

This lesson focuses on understanding common HFA/AS characteristics displayed in the classroom. From trouble handling change to difficulty with social interaction and language processing, you will discover how these characteristics shape students' worldview and ability to perform in academic settings.

Did you know that most students with HFA/AS are visual thinkers? This lesson will help you determine how your students process information, so you can tailor your lesson plans to their preferred learning and thinking styles.

This lesson explores why and how students with HFA/AS struggle socially. You will learn about the extent of the problem, some of the causes, and its impact. You will also learn some nonverbal and verbal exercises that you can do to lessen these students' social anxiety.

This lesson explores how students with HFA/AS converse and why it's so incredibly hard for them to keep conversations going. You will learn about a graphic organizer that is very helpful when students need to translate between their thoughts and ours.

In this lesson, you will learn why students with HFA/AS have such delicate sensory sensitivities. You will also learn two strategies for helping them reclaim control over daily experiences that once seemed quite intimidating.

Students with HFA/AS are often known as "little professors," with highly specialized interests and fixations. But how do you direct these gifts into appropriate academic channels? This lesson answers that question – you will learn strategies to help students link their interests to the broader world.

This may just be your favorite lesson in the course! Nearly every teacher is looking for new and exciting strategies to get students to do their homework. This lesson will teach you how to engage students with HFA/AS in their studies and link their interests to meaningful learning.

If you had an emotional meltdown every day, would you be excited to get out of bed and do it all over again? Probably not. Many students with HFA/AS are prone emotional outbursts that derail their focus In this lesson, you will learn how to turn these charged encounters into positive learning experiences.

No one likes to be teased! Sadly, many students with HFA/AS are bullied or made fun of on. Often, this makes them fearful and frustrated, so they often fixate on objects of power or violence. This lesson delves into how to help your students channel frustrations into more appropriate feelings.

Imagine what it would be like if your mind raced all the time, darting from thought to thought at warp speed. It would be pretty hard to pay attention to anything, wouldn't it? This lesson looks at ways to help students with HFA/AS focus on classroom activities, so they can learn in their own way.

Your final lesson explores the ways to prepare students for life beyond the classroom's four walls. It's never too early to start thinking about ways to encourage students to reach their highest potential in future classes, jobs, and social roles. Isn't that the reason you chose to be a teacher in the first place?



There are no prerequisites to take this course.


Hardware Requirements:

  • This course can be taken on either a PC, Mac, or Chromebook.

Software Requirements:

  • PC: Windows 8 or later.
  • Mac: macOS 10.6 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.


  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.

Instructional Material Requirements:

The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.


Ellen Arnold

Ellen Arnold has been a reading specialist at the primary level, a social studies and reading teacher at the middle school level, and a special educator at the high school level. A veteran instructor, Arnold has taught hundreds of teachers the secrets to creating highly effective classrooms. She holds a bachelor's degree in secondary education and a master's degree in special education.


I found this course to be extremely useful. Understanding how the mind of these children work is phenomenal. Some ten to twenty years ago, these things were a mystery. I feel confident enough to share what I've learned. So, thank you for all the great research, study and experiences you've shared. You're not just an AWESOME teacher but a CARING individual.

I thoroughly enjoyed this online experience and hope to take another class under Dr. Ellen Arnold in the future. I found her approach to be personal, professional, effective, and pertinent. I am much better prepared to work with HFA students and very grateful for the concrete example and tried and true strategies provided by Dr. Arnold. She is an excellent instructor!

I thought your course was really good - both informative and practical. I'm recommending it to my district special ed director as a course which would be really useful to any teacher - regular or special education - who wants to develop a good understanding of AS, and strategies to work with students who have AS…I appreciate how responsive to and thoughtful about the questions from the other students you were, and how thoughtful many of the questions and comments by the other students were. I'm glad I took your course.

This was a perfect course for me. Each lesson was simple and easy to understand - I was able to focus on the goals of each lesson and didn't get bogged down with too much information at once. I don't have a lot of experience teaching students with Asperberger's and this was just right for my level of need. The writing was clear and easy to understand. The assignments and discussions helped so much in cementing my understanding. And the best part of all was that my student directly benefited from several of the suggested techniques. Our year is going so well, and I feel he is getting what he needs because of this course. Thank you so much. I have recommended this course to several people and truly hope they will take it.

Ellen It has been my privilege to learn from you. This has definitely been one of the most beneficial classes of my thirty year teaching career. Thank you for so many wonderful strategies and more importantly the wealth of information that is going to strengthen my teaching methods. This has been an enjoyable 12 lessons. I hope you continue so that teachers, students, and parents can experience a positive change in the lives of AS/HFA students.

This course has been extremely enlightening and helpful. I like the way it has been laid out. At first, I did not like having to wait for the next lessons to be released, but can see the rationale for that. As my first online course, I found it easy to maneuver and keep up with assignments. The quizzes helped me synthesize what I was learning.

I found this course beneficial not only as a special education teacher, but also as parent to a child with autism. This class offered numerous ideas for the classroom, as well as ones I am able to implement at home. I encourage anyone who works with a child with autism to definitely take this course.

Thank you for all of your work in this course! I really loved how involved you were with the learning process. It felt like you were right there guiding us through it, and the discussion area was great! I loved being able to get feedback and advice from you and the other classmates...I also feel more prepared to make positive changes for my own family, as well as future students.

I can honestly say due to a previous assignment that we did I am constantly evaluating the classroom and what can be distracting...I find that when a child is exhibiting challenging behavior or is off I am now in the habit of looking through his/her eyes to see what happened before, after and what could be "seeing" them off in the environment.

This is the best course I've ever taken. I can truly tell that you have the experience and love for kids within the autistic spectrum. The course has given me as a mom positive real life techniques to enhance my son's learning and how he thinks about himself. I hope every teacher takes this course and I highly recommend it to any parent.

Thank you so much for your time and your thoughts! I love your ideas. I have just finished your course and I must say, it has been wonderful...I am new to the world of Special Needs, and I feel that I have walked away from your course with at least 10 new tools that I can use to help both my students and the teachers I work with.

Self-Guided Course Code: T9290
Instructor-Moderated Course Code: 4as