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Most individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have some unevenness in cognitive abilities - some cognitive area in which skills have not developed to the expected level, contrasted with other areas of cognitive functioning that are at or above age level. Indeed, atypical cognitive processing often underlies the challenges experienced by individuals on the spectrum. This module will describe these cognitive differences and discuss their impact on behavior and learning.

Estimated Time to Complete: 1 1/2 hours

  • What's Included
  • 19 pages
  • Pre/post-assessments
  • Optional $15 certficate
  1. Identify behaviors that may indicate cognitive differences related to ASD.
  2. List and describe the theories often used to explain the cognitive differences of individuals with ASD: central coherence, executive function, and theory of mind.
  3. Identify cognitive strengths often exhibited by individuals with ASD.
  4. Show an understanding of the relationship between cognitive differences related to autism and school functioning.
  5. Show an understanding of the relationship between cognitive differences related to ASD and social functioning.

Module Authors

Ruth Aspy, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist specializing in transdisciplinary assessment and intervention for individuals on the spectrum. She is co-author of a comprehensive model of intervention, The Ziggurat Model, which earned the Literary Achievement Award from the Autism Society of America. Dr. Aspy has provided training and consultation throughout the United States and internationally. She serves on the Autism Society of America’s Panel of Professional Advisors. Her focus is on understanding the underlying characteristics of autistic individuals keeping their neurological/brain differences in mind. Dr. Aspy believes that kindness is at the heart of all good support strategies. She has an emphasis on working with females on the spectrum and with those individuals who have symptoms of catatonia.

Modules on this site are always free. If you would like proof of completion, you can purchase a certificate when you have successfully completed this module. The certificate will provide contact hours for this module.

Graduate credit for courses is available through OCALI's partnership with Ashland University. Access information about course options and semester dates in the Search.

Continuing education credit from providers such as ASHA and NASW is in progress. For questions contact

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