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Autism is a complex spectrum of disorders characterized by:

(1) differences in the development of social interaction and communication skills, and

(2) atypical patterns of restricted, repetitive behaviors and interests.

Autism looks very different in each individual with the diagnosis. Some individuals communicate in atypical ways, while others use limited ways to communicate basic needs. Impairments in the development of social and communication skills profoundly impact every aspect of an individual's ability to learn and function. Our understanding of the social and communication impairments is essential to learning how to help and teach individuals with autism.

Estimated Time to Complete: 2 hours

  • What's Included
  • 42 pages
  • Pre/post-assessments
  • Optional $20 certficate
  1. Define the differences between speech, language, and communication
  2. List the stages of language and communication development in typically developing children
  3. Describe how communication develops in individuals with ASD
  4. Describe how language develops in individuals with ASD

Module Authors

Dr. Kathleen Quill

Dr. Kathleen Quill ( is a developmental psycholinguist, special education administrator, Behavior Analyst (BCBA-D) and advocate who lectures internationally. She co-authored bestselling texts: Teaching Children with Autism (Delmar Pub.1995);  DO-WATCH-LISTEN-SAY: Social and Communication Intervention (Brookes Pub. 2000; 2nd ed, 2017); Intervention for Repetitive & Restricted Behaviors in Autism (in development); internet webinars & modules and AutismPro online curriculum system. Kathleen is on the editorial board for JADD and Focus on Autism; the Board of Directors for AAPC, and is a member of the Professional Panel of Advisors for the Autism Society of America.

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.

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