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One common characteristic of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is the frequent engagement in repetitive and restricted patterns, or special interests. Although these special interests may appear to prevent new learning opportunities for people with ASD, recent research has proved that incorporating special interests into daily activities may increase both social and academic behaviors. This module will present several examples of how to embed special interests into interventions to increase desired behaviors.

Estimated Time to Complete: 1 hour

  • What's Included
  • 28 pages
  • Pre/post-assessments
  • Optional $10 certficate
  1. Describe the importance and value of special interests to individuals with autism.
  2. Describe how to use preference assessments to identify highly preferred special interests to incorporate into interventions.
  3. Identify several ways to incorporate special interests into daily activities to increase social and academic behaviors.
  4. Identify ways to incorporate special interests into behavioral interventions to decrease problem behavior.

Module Authors

Bobby Huffman, MA ABA

Bobby Huffman is an intervention and behavioral specialist for Jones Middle School in the Upper Arlington school district. Throughout his teaching career, Bobby has worked with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) ages 18 months to 12 years old in both the school and home settings using special interests to increase learning opportunities. Bobby received his master's degree in applied behavior analysis at The Ohio State University where he published research on using special interests in classroom settings. In addition, Bobby is a part-time research assistant for the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI).

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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