Strategies for Supporting Elementary Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder


Strategies for Supporting Elementary Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) is a workshop designed to introduce participants to good general strategies for supporting elementary children (K – 5) that experience social, communication, and sensory issues related to ASDs. Given the breadth of information that is available to address any of the issues related to ASDs, this workshop is by necessity somewhat general. The workshop is designed to provide participants information and additional references should they desire more detail.

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 should have a basic understanding of autism spectrum disorders (perhaps having previously attended An Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorders or having taken the web course The Fundamentals of Autism). Given that awareness, the information is appropriate for:

  • Parents of children with ASDs
  • Administrators     
  • Special educators
  • Regular educators
  • Paraprofessionals
  • Therapists
  • Social workers
  • Community service providers
  • Others interested in supporting children with ASDs

Layout of the 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.  You will need at least two trainers for each day.  The number of participants should be limited to 50 and participants must attend both days of training. 


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.

Workshop Timing

There are six sections to this workshop: (a) an Opening, (b) Proactive Support Strategies, (c) Supporting Sensory Needs, (d) Supporting Communication, (e) Supporting Socialization, and (f) a Closing. In creating this workshop, our thoughts were that the Opening, Proactive Support Strategies, and Supporting Sensory Needs sections would be offered on the first day, with the Supporting Communication and Supporting Socialization 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 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. (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.

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. 

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.