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Training and Technical Assistance Center

Virginia Department of Education

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Autism spectrum disorder

Autism spectrum disorder is a complex neurobiological disorder that typically appears during the first three years of life and lasts throughout a person’s lifetime. It is a spectrum disorder with a wide range of characteristics ranging from mild to severe.

Individuals with autism demonstrate difficulties in social interaction, communication and behavior. Each person may display communication, social and behavioral patterns that are unique to the individual but fit into the overall diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. People with ASD also process and respond to information in unique ways.

The most recent data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that 1 in 54 children has been identified with ASD. For additional resources for families and professionals, visit the Autism Society of America.  


Guidance documents

The Virginia Department of Education in collaboration with the staff at the VCU Autism Center for Excellence has created tools for educators, administrators and parents working to improve services for students with ASD:

Evidence-based practices 

Evidence-based practices are teaching strategies that research has shown to be effective. The National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorder has created free Autism Focused Intervention Resources and Modules to provide information and training related to the 27 identified EBPs for teaching individuals with ASD.

The Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence includes an Autism Center that is a clearinghouse for information on research, resources and trends in autism. 

Community of Leaders in Autism 

The Community of Leaders in Autism is made up of school personnel who provide leadership in their division for ASD. The Region 1 and Region 8 CoLA meet in the spring and the fall and culminates the school year with a statewide summer institute. The CoLA provides an opportunity for leaders in the field of autism to share experiences, learn from each other and network both personally and professionally. The CoLA is led by members of the regional T/TACs and VCU Autism Center for Excellence. If you are interested in participating in the CoLA, contact your regional CoLA team member


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