My Child was Just Identified with an Autism Spectrum Disorder: Now What Do I Do?


This training was designed by the Virginia Autism Council to be presented by a parent/professional team to family members of young children newly identified with an autism spectrum disorder.

Information included in the presentation was obtained from a variety of sources including journal articles, books, conferences, and the experience of those charged with creating and revising this workshop. Every attempt was made to ensure the accuracy and impartiality of the information included in this guide. It is not our intention to support the importance or efficacy of any particular educational or therapeutic approach over any other approach.


Participants in this workshop learn the basics of autism and the services that support those with autism. No previous knowledge of autism is required. Given that awareness, the information is appropriate for:

  • Parents of young children with ASDs
  • Administrators     
  • Early childhood and early childhood special educators
  • Early Interventionists
  • Community preschool teachers
  • Paraprofessionals
  • Therapists
  • Social workers
  • Community service providers

Others interested in learning and supporting young children with ASDs

Layout of the Training

It is recommended that the training be presented over the course of 2 days – a 3 hour session each day – but it may be presented in shorter segments. 


Presenters must be knowledgeable of the characteristics of ASD and must have knowledge and experience with implementing supports and strategies with young children with ASD.  At least two trainers are required each day; a parent/professional team is recommended.

NOTE: The content and the format of the slides may not be modified.

Workshop Timing

There are nine sections to this workshop, to be offered over two 3  hour sessions. However, each section of the workshop can be provided separately if you have shorter periods of time.

Day 1 includes (a) What We Know about Autism, (b) 10 Tips for Families, and (c) Comprehensive Approach to Address Needs.

Day 2 covers Proactive Approaches for  (a) Visual Supports, (b) Communication Challenges, (c) Sensory Challenges, (d) Behavior Challenges, and (f) Social Challenges.

Within the speaker’s notes you will find suggestions for the length of time to spend on activities and slides based on our experience with this material. Given individual presenter’s styles, audience participation, and other factors that may interfere with workshop timing, the times listed are approximate.

  1. What We Know about Autism: 1 hour
  2. 10 Tips for Families: .75 hour
  3. Comprehensive Approach to Address Needs:  1.25 hours
  4. Visual Supports: .75 hour
  5. Communication Challenges: .75 hour
  6. Sensory Challenges: .75 hour
  7. Behavior Challenges: .25 hour
  8. Social Challenges: .25 hour 


A training kit is available from the T/TAC library at VCU.  Keep in mind that you will need to make arrangements to pick up the kit by calling 804.827.1414 at least two weeks in advance of the training.  However, if you plan to do more than one of these trainings, you should consider making your own kit.

Keep in mind that you will need to make arrangements to get the materials by calling 804.827.1414 at least two weeks in advance of the training or submitting a VAC Training Request form.