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Online Courses

Screening for Autism Spectrum Disorder

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This training is a self-paced online course. The course is provided as a collaboration between the Virginia Commonwealth University Autism Center for Excellence and the Virginia Learn the Signs: Act Early Group.

To participate, you need a computer with (preferably high-speed) internet access, Adobe Flash Player software within your browser, and a sound card with speakers in order to listen to the lectures (full text transcripts are provided for all lectures and multimedia).

Course Overview

This introductory course contains four modules designed to help medical personnel gain the knowledge and skills to ensure timely and appropriate screening for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Participants will learn about the screening process and best practices for supporting a family through screening and diagnosis for ASD. Specific resources are listed with each module, and a general reference "Where to Go" document is available for download with this course. With the understanding that medical professionals are extremely busy, the entire course has been designed to take approximately 2 hours to complete.

Who Should Take This Course

This course is designed primarily for medical personnel. This course is designed specifically for pediatric health care providers, including practicing pediatricians, neurologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, medical residents, and medical students. However, the content is applicable to any person who wishes to gain more information about the importance of and procedures for screening for Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, the participant will be able to:

  1. Explain why screening for Autism Spectrum Disorder is important.
  2. Define Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  3. Discuss the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  4. Describe the etiology of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  5. Identify the characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  6. Identify the red flags for Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  7. Discuss what is involved in making a diagnosis of ASD.
  8. Describe developmental surveillance.
  9. Explain how you screen for ASD.
  10. Identify the recommended screening tool.
  11. Describe how to conduct the M-CHAT.
  12. Discuss how to score and interpret the M-CHAT.
  13. Identify the next steps after screening.
  14. Explain the reasons to provide follow-up screening or evaluation.
  15. Discuss how to share the results with parents when a child is found to be "at risk" for ASD.
  16. Assist parents in moving forward after diagnosis.
  17. Identify how to code time involved in screening and counseling.

Organization of the Course

This is a self-pacing course, meaning the participant can complete the course at his or her own speed. The course is divided into 4 learning modules. The participant is to begin with the first module and work through each sequentially until all are completed.


Each module contains one or more videos of an expert in ASD providing information on the module topic. Presenters include both professionals in the field as well as parents of children on the spectrum. The webcast may include support documents you can view or download and use. Additionally, website links may be provided so you can obtain further information.

At any time during the course, you can visit the "Web Board" and post a question you may have regarding any of the module topics. A "Where to Go?" document is also provided outlining resources you may find helpful. After completion of all 4 Modules, please take a few minutes to provide feedback on the course by filling out a short Course Evaluation. You will then be directed to information on how to receive a Certificate of Completion for 3 contact hours.

Module Listing


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