CA Dept. of Education


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Autism Spectrum Disorder Archive 2015-16


Ann England, M.A. CCC-SLP-L
Speech-Language Pathologist
Assistant Director Diagnostic Center, Northern California

Ann is the Assistant Director of the Diagnostic Center, Northern California, and the Co-Coordinator of the statewide initiative on ASD known as CAPTAIN (California Autism Professional Training and Information Network).  She oversees and maintains the CAPTAIN website:

Ann has 30+years of special education experience and has extensive training and certification in the assessment and teaching of students with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (e.g., ADOS, PECS, TEACCH, STAR, etc.) She has served on the California Legislative Blue Ribbon Commission on Autism: Task Force on Education and Professional Development and was a consultant to the Superintendent’s Autism Advisory Committee. 

Ann provides professional development throughout California and nationally on the topic of ASD and also provides onsite consultation and mentoring to school district administrators and teaching teams to assist in the development and implementation of evidence-based public school programs for students with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.  She is passionate about her work in the area of ASD and is dedicated to disseminating research based information about evidence-based practices for individuals with ASD to improve outcomes.

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Click a topic below to expand the full question and answer.


  • Daycare Provider and Early Identification of ASD



I’m so glad I found your website. I’ve been running a daycare center for many years and I’m pretty good at knowing when a child is developing differently. Are there any materials I can give parents since I’m just a daycare provider?



Hi Barbara,

First, please don’t say that you’re “just” a daycare provider because you absolutely play a critical role in the well-being and health of the children in your care. In addition, you are in a great position to help identify children who might need support. It is so important for children with an ASD (and other developmental disabilities) to be identified as early as possible because with the right intervention we can improve outcomes.

The CDC has put out a FREE online training course, Watch Me! Celebrating Milestones and Sharing Concerns, which will help you fulfill this important role as a daycare provider. This training course provides tools and best practices for monitoring the development of children in your care and talking about it with their parents. In this online course, you will learn:

  • Why monitoring children’s development is important
  • Why you have a unique and important role in developmental monitoring
  • How to easily monitor each child’s developmental milestones
  • How to talk with parents about their child’s development

You can even get Continuing Education (CE) credit!

Thank you for taking such good care of our children.



Watch Me! Celebrating Milestones and Sharing Concerns was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Learn the Signs. Act Early” program at:

  • Parent Resource for Understanding Puberty and Adolescence in Individuals with ASD


Parent Resource for Understanding Puberty and Adolescence in Individuals with ASD


New Autism Speaks Tool Kit Released: “Puberty and Adolescence Resource”

Autism Speaks has just recently released a resource to help parents understand puberty and increase their ability to adapt to these changes with confidence.  Some parents may feel unsure of how to explain these changes to their child and this resource is designed to give strategies to ease the transition that can be directly applied to pre-teens with ASD.  
Topics include:

  • Body changes
  • Self-care and hygiene
  • Public vs. private rules
  • Staying safe: Strangers, secrets and touch
  • Elopement
  • Safety planning for increased aggression
  • Internet safety

You can download this resource and other Autism Speaks resources on the Tool Kits page:

  • Autism Fact Sheets in many languages


Dear Ann,

I am a school psychologist in a California county school program.  As you know, California is a very diverse state and my caseload has families from a lot of different backgrounds.  Do you have a resource that I can give my families so they understand ASD?



Dear Jason,

Great question! The USC UCEDD (University of Southern California, University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities) works on numerous projects in areas of importance to people with disabilities across the lifespan and their families, such as ASD. They have developed Fact Sheets about ASD in many, many languages including but not limited to, Arabic, Farsi, Tagalog, Vietnamese, just to name a few!
You can access these Fact Sheets from:

CAPTAIN website at:

USC website at:

Thanks for being so culturally responsive about those you serve!


  • New, Free Online Learning Modules Available for Evidence-Based Practices for Individuals, Ages Birth to 22


Dear Ann,

When is the NPDC going to come out with online learning modules for those newest evidence-based practices released in March 2014?




Hi Karen!

The National Professional Development Center (NPDC) on ASD just recently developed a brand new website called AFIRM (Autism Focused Intervention Resources and Modules) at or you can use the Quick Link on the CAPTAIN website at

AFIRM offers you the opportunity to access free online learning modules for each of the 27 evidence-based practices (EBPs) for individuals with an ASD.  The AFIRM team has just launched the website so right now there are four EBP learning modules:

  1. Peer-Mediated Instruction and Intervention
  2. Prompting, Reinforcement
  3. Time Delay
  4. Visual Supports

The AFIRM team is currently working on developing the remaining modules for each EBP for individuals with ASD ages birth to 22 years. When you create your free account you can receive e-mail updates when a new EBP is available. Right now, the next upcoming modules are: Exercise, Social Narratives, and Task Analysis. 

Each AFIRM online learning module includes: case examples that demonstrate the behavior or practice in use, multimedia presentation of content with audio and video clips, and interactive assessments that provide you with feedback based on your responses. 

Each AFIRM module offers an option to earn a free professional development certificate. All you have to do for each module is to select either a Certificate Track or Non-certificate Track. How great is that?

I think these online learning modules are really great and are very accessible to professionals, paraprofessionals, parents and others who work and interact with individuals with an ASD.


Autism Focused Intervention Resources & Modules (AFIRM) is an extension of the National Professional Development Center (NPDC) on ASD

  • Vision Exam; Resources; Toolkits


Dear Ann,

I am the parent of a 16 year old high functioning son with ASD.  We have a terrible time when we need to go get his vision checked.  I know he needs his glasses changed but it’s so difficult I hate to put us all through this again.  Do you have any suggestions?



Hi Kirsten!

Thank you for your question.  I get asked a lot about by parents as to how to help their medical appointments go well with their children with an ASD.  Fortunately, Autism Speaks has developed a variety of Tool Kits to help make these necessary medical visits go more successfully.  There is actually a new Tool Kit about vision exams that incorporates the use of the evidence-based practice (EBP) of Social Narratives.  Here’s a sample of this Vision Exam Tool Kit:


There are lots of other Tool Kits available on a variety of topics: medication, blood draw, dental visits, getting a haircut, sleep issues, pica, toilet training, feeding issues, behavior, and more!

I think these Tool Kits are well-developed and will be helpful.  Let me know how it goes, okay?



Autism Speaks Tool Kits: