Strategies for Supporting Adolescents and Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder



Strategies for Supporting Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) is a workshop designed to introduce participants to good general strategies for supporting people that experience social, communication, and sensory issues related to ASDs across the life span. Given the breadth of information that is available to address any of the issues related to ASDs, this workshop is by necessity somewhat general providing participants with information about strategies and supports as well as references should they desire more detail. This training is geared for high school educators, adult service providers and parents of adults with ASD.

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 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.

Intended Audience

Participants in this workshop should have a basic understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorders.  The information is appropriate for anyone interested in supporting adolescents or adults with ASD. This may include:

  • Parents of individuals with ASDs
  • Administrators     
  • General and special educators
  • Paraprofessionals
  • Therapists
  • Community service providers
  • Adult service providers                                         

Layout of the Training

This training will require 11 hours of instruction and is to be delivered across 2 or more days. The number of participants should be limited to 50 and participants must attend both days of training.  This is a participatory training; therefore, seating should be at tables. The room should be large enough so that the participants can move around during activities. 


Presenters must be knowledgeable of the characteristics of ASD and must have knowledge and experience with implementing supports and strategies with adolescents and adults with ASD.  At least two trainers are required each day. It is recommended the same 2 trainers return on the second day for continuity. 

Training Schedule

There are six sections to this workshop: (a) an Opening, (b) Proactive Support Strategies, (c) Supporting Socialization, (d) Supporting Communication, (e) Supporting Sensory Needs, and (f) a Closing. The Opening, Proactive Support Strategies, and Supporting Sensory Needs sections are to be offered on the first day, with the Supporting Communication and Supporting Socialization Needs sections offered on the second day. However, each section of the workshop can be provided separately if you have shorter periods of time.

Within the speakers’ notes you will find suggestions for the length of time to spend on activities and slides based on our experience with this material. (Please note, breaks and lunch are not included in the time listed; you must incorporate these for your audience). Given individual presenter’s styles, audience participation, and other factors that may interfere with workshop timing, the times listed are approximate. Below is the schedule recommended:

Day 1

  1. The Opening, including Welcome, Characteristics, and Profile: 1.25 hour
  2. General Proactive Support Strategies: 2.5 hours
  3. Supporting Sensory Needs: 1.75 hours
  4. If you are providing this workshop in 2 days, allow 15 minutes at the end of this first day for a closing activity (if you provide the workshop over more than 2 days, allow 15 minutes at the end of each day).

Day 2

  1. Supporting Communication: 2.5 hours
  2. Supporting Socialization: 2.5 hours
  3. Close the second day (if offered on two consecutive days) that includes a wrap-up activity and time for participants to complete evaluations that you provide: .5 hours 

Materials Required

Trainers’ script and the PowerPoint presentation are available from the T/TAC library at VCU. If interested in presenting, a DVD can be sent to you. Additionally, a training kit which includes materials needed for the training is available. 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.