Strategies for Supporting Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder


Strategies for Supporting Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) is a workshop designed to introduce participants to good general strategies for supporting very young children (birth to age 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 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 supporting young 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. 

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

Workshop Timing

This training holds materials intended to provide a 11 hour workshop across 2 or more days. 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.

The first two sections (Opening and Proactive Support Strategies) need to be offered first and second, respectively; the following three sections (Supporting Sensory Needs, Supporting Communication, and Supporting Socialization) may be ordered to suit your time frames although you will see some comments in the speaker’s notes that reflect the order in the first paragraph.

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.

  1. The Opening: .75 hour
  2. General Proactive Support Strategies: 2.5 hours
  3. Supporting Sensory Needs: 2.25 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).
  5. Supporting Communication: 2.5 hours
  6. Supporting Social and Play Skills: 2.25 hours
  7. Close the second day (if offered on two consecutive days) that includes wrap-up activity and time for participants to complete evaluations that you provide: .75 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.