Updated Educator's Guide Available from OAR

December 7, 2017

The Organization for Autism Research (OAR) prides itself in the evidence-based information resources it shares with self-advocates, their parents, educators, and paraprofessionals. Among these materials are the eight "Life Journey Through Autism" guidebooks that OAR has published since 2003. The ninth and newest guide in that set is "Life Journey Through Autism: An Educator's Guide to ASD (Level 1 Supports)," a revision and update of the "Educator's Guide to Asperger Syndrome." Hard copies and digital downloads of the revised guide will be available from OAR's store on December 13, which is OAR's 16th birthday.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex and heterogeneous group of developmental disorders that range in symptoms and level of severity. These symptoms can manifest themselves as problem behaviors or difficulty problem solving in the classroom. The revised guide serves as a primer for general education teachers to support their students who have Level 1 ASD, as introduced in DSM-5 and defined as a mild form of autism that requires support. Specifically, the guide contains information that will help teachers in the general education classroom and others to:

  • Become familiar with ASD and how it affects a child
  • Identify evidence-based academic and environmental strategies to promote classroom success
  • Foster successful peer relations and social interactions
  • Effectively communicate and collaborate with parents during the individual education program process

The updated guide combines relevant content from the current guide with new information, such as:

  • Changes in diagnostic terminology and culturally accepted terms
  • Update in legislative history
  • Additional behavior-based strategies, visual supports, and assistive technology
  • An expanded list of evidence-based academic and environmental strategies
  • How to prepare students for transition

OAR extends its gratitude to Melissa Savage, Ph.D., and Diane Adreon, Ed.D. for their significant contributions to the revised guide. Dr. Savage is a post-doctoral candidate at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute. Dr. Adreon is an associate director at University of Miami, Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (UM-CARD), and author of "Special Considerations for Students with High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Guide for School Administrators."

OAR also thanks its community reviewers for contributing their meaningful feedback: Sylvia Gil, M.S.Ed., Tom Iland, C.P.A., Jane Barbin, Ph.D., Christine Prozik, M.Ed., Hsu-Min Chiang, Ph.D., Scott Fowler, Joanne Lietz, M.Ed., Kathy Meyers Robinson, M.A.T., Taryn Goodwin Traylor, M.Ed., BCBA, and OAR Scientific Council member, Mary Jane Weiss, Ph.D.