Abnormal Child & Adolescent Psychology

Resources for students and teachers...

6. Autism Spectrum Disorder

Learning Objectives

Describe the key features of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and explain how the disorder exists along a



Show how the prevalence of ASD varies as a function of children’s gender, socioeconomic status (SES), and



Identify the genetic, epigenetic, and brain abnormalities associated with ASD in young children.


List and describe early deficits in social cognition typically shown by infants and toddlers who are later diagnosed

with ASD.

Describe several evidenced-based treatments for ASD and differentiate these treatments from interventions that

lack empirical support.

Provide examples of evidence-based techniques to improve the communication skills of children with ASD.

Note: The number before each objective shows its corresponding module in the text.


Ready to Study? Click here to access flashcards for key terms presented in the text. Flashcards are a great way to help you define, explain, and give examples of important terms and ideas. (You may need to create a free Quizlet account to access the flashcards.)

Test Your Critical Thinking

Ready to Review? Click here to review each of the research questions presented in the text. Review questions are a great way to test your application and critical thinking skills.


The Lovaas Program

This video provides an excellent summary of Ivar Løvaas' early intensive behavioral intervention program for youths with autism.

Sesame Street's Julia

In March 2017, Sesame Street introduced its first muppet with autism spectrum disorder. Julia is a four-year-old girl with ASD.

Evidence-Based Treatment

Dr. Connie Kasari, professor of education and psychiatry at UCLA, discusses evidence-based treatment options for parents of children with ASD.

Early Signs of Autism

This excellent video, produced by the Kennedy Krieger Institute, shows early signs of ASD in children between 14 and 24 months of age and contrasts these behaviors with the behaviors of typically-developing children.

Discrete Trial Training

This video is the first part of the Autism Intervention Training Video Series. It provides examples of discrete trial training, an essential feature of most behavioral interventions for ASD.


Proloquo2go is an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) app that can help children with ASD and other developmental disabilities communicate with family and friends.

Learn More

Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABA International) is a professional organization which serves to develop, enhance, and support the growth of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice. Click on the “Behavior Analysis” link at the top to learn more about ABA.

Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network

The Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network is a group of programs funded by CDC to estimate the number of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and other developmental disabilities living in different areas of the United States. This site will provide the latest information regarding the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Autism Speaks

Autism Speaks is a leading science and advocacy organization, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Their site has a lot of excellent information.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Information about Autism

The CDC provides excellent, user-friendly information about the causes, prevalence, and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Their “free materials” link provides access to dozens of free booklets and pamphlets about autism and other developmental disabilities.