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Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

COVID-19 and Special Education

View information for educators and parents to support students with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 resources for special education

Definition: A child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a child with a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and non-verbal social communication and social interaction, generally evidenced by the age of three. Other characteristics often associated with ASD are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental changes or changes in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences.

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ASD Office Hours

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ASD & COVID Resources

View the Autism &
COVID Resources

What's New

Colorado Autism Mentor Program - Cohort 3

The application for the Colorado Autism Mentoring Program (CAMP) Cohort-3 is open for the 2022-23 school year. 15-20 participants will be selected from across Colorado to create capacity within districts to coach/mentor individuals working with students with autism. Application is open unitl May 27, 2022 at 5:00 PM. 

Visit the CAMP webpage to learn more. 

Educational Identification of Complex ASD Cases: Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Evaluations

This workshop will provide school professionals with advanced training pertaining to considerations regarding ASD assessment practices when working with traditionally underserved children, including children that are economically vulnerable, racially/ethnically minoritized and linguistically diverse.

Learn more information about the Advanced Educational Identification of Autism. 

FAQs for Educational Identification of ASD in Young Learners

FAQ's for Educational Identification of ASD in Young Learners (PDF)

BCBA Conversations

The BCBA Conversations are back for the 21-22 school year. Kate Loving, BCBA & CDE Autism Specialist, will be hosting monthly gatherings of other BCBAs to collaborate, problem solve and share resources. Learn about the BCBA Conversations


Support - Autism Education Network

The Autism Education Network is designed to provide school teams support, training, and resources to guide services for students with autism. Below are potential offerings autism network team members may provide based on the request. The level of support provided will be based on AU/school team needs as well as autism team availability.

Training (Virtual or In-Person):

The CDE autism team can create targeted, individualized trainings for an AU/school team based on current needs. These trainings can be done virtually or in-person (pending COVID guidelines), and can cover an array of topics related to autism. Trainings can be anywhere from two hours to one full day. The team does not offer individualized versions of currently offered CDE trainings (see training section below).

Field Support:

Field support is intended to offer consultation/coaching services and allows the CDE autism consultants to partner with AU/school teams to address systemic or long-standing concerns. This service supports implementation of evidence-based practices within the school setting. The consultant will work with the team to understand current needs, and then establish goals and a subsequent action plan. This plan may include up to six virtual or in-person visits (depending on need and COVID guidelines).


The CDE autism team partners with Children’s Hospital Colorado to offer support in completing functional behavior assessments (FBAs) and developing behavior intervention plans (BIPs) via virtual coaching sessions. This service is designed for teams looking to expand their skills in addressing challenging behavior (e.g., aggression, self-harm, property destruction) and can commit to recurring weekly or biweekly sessions for approximately one to two months. These sessions involve discussions, coaching, and practice implementing various forms of FBA/BIP and analyzing data. This service is recommended for teams addressing unique and intensive behaviors (e.g., considering alternative placement, behaviors that are not responding to intervention over time, behaviors that have injured staff or other students).

Resource Recommendation:

For teams looking to expand knowledge and in need of quick, potentially asynchronous learning opportunities, the CDE autism team can offer recommendations of existing resources to review. Consultants can provide individualized suggestions of webinars, modules, currently offered CDE trainings, and other related resources. To review options, please visit the webinar page to see all archived webinars, or the training section to see currently offered CDE autism team trainings.

Flyer - Network Request (PDF)

Network Request

When completing the field request, you will be prompted to describe the needs of your program and how they relate to Colorado’s Autism Quality Indicators

Quality Indicators

​Questions about the Colorado Autism Education Network? Please contact Brooke Carson (see Specialist Contacts section below) with questions about the Autism Education Network.


Virtual Events 

Educational Identification of Complex ASD Cases: Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Evaluations

Children from culturally and linguistically minoritized populations are more likely to be misidentified or receive a delayed educational identification of ASD. This workshop will provide school professionals with advanced training pertaining to considerations regarding ASD assessment practices when working with traditionally underserved children, including children that are economically vulnerable, racially/ethnically minoritized and linguistically diverse. In addition, participants will receive training in differentiating ASD from other disabilities. Further, information will be shared regarding laws and recommendations pertaining to addressing significant disproportionality among children with ASD. This training will be presented by Dr. Bryn Harris from the University of Colorado Denver. Dr. Harris has extensive expertise in this content area.

Training Dates

Thursday, April 7, 2022 4:00 - 7:00

Thursday, April 14, 2022 4:00 – 7:00

*Both sessions are required*


This training is ONLY available to those who have completed the CDE Educational Identification of ASD Toolkit training.

  • Confirmation emails will be sent to registered individuals who meet this requirement (we maintain a list of past participants)
  • Registration is limited. Priority will go to those have not previously attended.

CDE Certificate

Participants must attend both sessions to receive a certificate of attendance (6 CDE hours). Partial credit will not be given.

Face-to-Face Trainings

Currently there are no face-to-face trainings scheduled. 

Orange Arrow Pointing Right  Tri-State Webinar Series

The Tri-State Webinar Series is made available through collaboration with the Colorado Department of Education, Kansas TASN Autism and Tertiary Behavior Supports, and the Nebraska Autism Spectrum Disorders Network.

Anyone with an interest in learning about the characteristics of autism spectrum disorders and evidence-based practices is invited to attend any of our webinars. This may include administrators, general education teachers, specialist teachers, family members, paraprofessionals, special education professionals, healthcare, and related service providers.

2021-2022 Webinars

Trauma Informed ABA - At the Intersection of Autism and Trauma: Where Do Behavioral Providers Fit In?

Team members providing behavioral services are positioned to make life-changing decisions impacting those with autism: Does trauma matter? How do we ask about it, honor experience and history, and develop ethical and compassionate assessments and plans? This webinar expands boundaries of competence while providing resources, and real-life examples.

Intervention for Restricted and Repetitive Behaviors in Autism

While social and communication challenges define autism, the presence of restricted and repetitive behaviors interests remain the least understood characteristic of the disorder. The purpose of this workshop is to help professionals to assess the underlying reasons why specific ritualistic behavior exist and then develop a treatment plan to reduce the frequency or intensity of the behaviors. Case studies are central to the discussion. The information is for professionals who have a solid understanding of autism spectrum disorder, and a basic understanding of how to use applied behavior analysis to plan intervention.

School-based Autism Assessment Considerations during COVID-19

In this webinar, participants will learn about legal and best practice considerations for completing comprehensive Autism assessment during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. School-based special education team members will learn about Autism assessment modification strategies, remote assessment options, alternative assessment methods, and how to consider the impacts of the pandemic on the data collected. There will also be an emphasis on equitable practices and promoting culturally and responsive Autism assessment strategies. Participants will have an opportunity to ask questions following the webinar.

Teaching Advanced Verbal Behavior Using Speech- Generating Devices

Approximately 30% of individuals diagnosed with autism fail to develop vocal communication. For these individuals, Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) systems such as manual signs, picture exchange communication system (PECS), and speech generating devices (SGD) are often used. Numerous studies have shown the effectiveness of selection-based pictorial systems to promote functional communication. With the increased affordability and accessibility of mobile devices, the demand for high-tech SGDs by parents to use for communication has also increased. Resources now exist to aid clinicians in transitioning from picture communication systems to high-tech SGDs. However, there is a dearth of research on strategies to teach advanced verbal behavior using SGDs. This presentation will cover a series of studies examining procedures to teach mands for information, intraverbals to report past behaviors, and tacts of noun-verb combinations to non-vocal children with autism. Considerations and complications when teaching these skills using high-tech SGDs will be discussed

Building Authentic and Meaningful Communication Strategies

We know that learners with communication challenges have thoughts, opinions, and ideas of their own. How do we give them the tools to tell us what they’re thinking? This session will talk about tools and strategies to support early communication skills, including how to begin using AAC (augmentative/alternative communication). During this hour, we will address the following questions:

  • What is the role of the communication partner in early AAC use?
  • How can a parent/teacher/therapist coach someone to use AAC while still letting the AAC user’s thoughts and opinions shine through?
  • How does prompting fit into learning AAC? Are there other strategies besides prompting that we could use?

Through answering these questions, we will focus on supporting authentic and meaningful communication that is relevant to our learners. Resources for continued learning will also be provided.

Early Identification of Autism Spectrum Disorder

In this webinar participants will learn the importance of identify autism symptoms in early childhood rather than adopting a “wait and see” approach. Early emerging symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in young boys and girls across the domains of social, communication and flexibility will be discussed as well as how to differentiate between ASD, a global developmental delay and a speech-language impairment in young children.

Early Identification of Autism Spectrum Disorder

In this session Dr. Hepburn will discuss key elements of an evaluation for autism spectrum disorder in young children.  She will compare the strengths and weaknesses of three evidence-based assessment tools and how family culture and language can affect the evaluation process. Additionally, Dr. Hepburn will demonstrate how to differentiate between autism spectrum disorder, lack of social experience, trauma, and attachment problems

Communicating with Parents Throughout an Educational Evaluation for Autism Spectrum Disorder

Parents play a crucial role in the evaluation of autism spectrum disorder. In this webinar Dr. Hepburn will share insights on how to raise concerns with parents about a child’s development, demonstrate how to describe the evaluation process to parents and explain best practices on how to interview a parent to learn about a child’s development and behaviors when autism is suspected. 

Problem Solving Strategies for Increasing Vocational Success

We might not even think about all the times during the day that we encounter social and vocational problems that need to be solved because our problem-solving behavior has become so fluent that we tend to take it for granted. When problem-solving is not as fluent or is deficient in some way, individuals might struggle in social and vocational situations. In this webinar Dr. Kisamore will share a problem-solving strategy that can be used to guide the instruction of a variety of social and vocational skills topics and be used by the student to independently complete vocational tasks and work through different types of problems.

Complex Case Discussion:  Educational Identification of Students Suspected of a Developmental Disability Who May Have Experienced Trauma

Trauma is a growing concern within the school setting and can raise questions regarding eligibility for autism spectrum disorder. In this webinar Dr. Hepburn will compare characteristics of trauma and autism spectrum disorder and how they can impact social functioning, communication development and behavioral flexibility in children. Dr. Hepburn will share assessment practices that can help to determine if a child is presenting with ASD or with social-emotional challenges associated with trauma or both as well as resources that can be helpful for families. 

Improving Interprofessional Collaborations between School and Clinical/Health Contexts

This webinar is targeted for all members of school-based teams that conduct special education evaluations for Autism. In this webinar, participants will learn about strategies and benefits for engaging in interprofessional collaborations with clinical and health providers. Collaborating with these providers in meaningful ways can improve assessment and identification outcomes and can improve home-school collaborations. Given known Autism disparities in services in both school and clinical/health settings, working collaboratively across systems will ultimately improve health disparities and student outcomes.

Where Do We Go from Here: Navigating Through the Autism Diagnosis

My child has received an autism diagnosis, now what do I do? Please join us as we discuss a variety of steps and resources you can use to help navigate your way to finding supports for your child. It can be an overwhelming process to receive a diagnosis and then be expected to take all the necessary next steps, but what are those steps? We will help you understand the steps to take, the questions to ask and the resources to go to, to help you make decision that are in the best interest of your child.

Getting Ready for a New Student with Autism

On August 25, 2021 from 2:30 - 3:30 pm Teri McGill will give an overview of common characteristics and provide some helpful tips and strategies for those working with students with autism. Learn more about this webinar. 

You Have to Build the Plane as you Fly It!: Core Components of an Evidence Based Behavior Support Program

This four-part series will support teachers faced with the immense challenge of providing a free and appropriate public education to learners with a wide variety of needs that often manifest in significantly disruptive behavior. Each ninety-minute session will involve practitioners who have many years of combined experience developing and leading evidence-based behavior support programs across the state of Nebraska. Free resources and ongoing consultation for effective implementation will be provided.

You Have to Build the Plane as You Fly It - Part 1!

 You Have to Build the Plane as You Fly It - Part 2!

You Have to Build the Plane as You Fly It - Part 3!

You Have to Build the Plane as You Fly It - Part 4!

ABLLS-R, AFLS, VBMAPP, ESDM, PEAK!?!? Choosing the Right Assessment for Your Learner with Autism (3-Part Series)

A variety of assessment options exist for identifying skills to target for learners diagnosed with Autism and other developmental disabilities. Many practitioners are trained on a specific assessment with little regard to the appropriateness of that assessment for the learner. This presentation discusses how to individualize the assessment process to create the most effective intervention program for each learner. Additionally, video examples are provided that demonstrate how to observe a learner and assess skills without using a commercially available assessment.

Choosing the Right Assessment for your Learner with Autism Part 1.

In this session, we will discuss a general framework for conducting assessments regardless of the materials being used. This session introduces the concept of “core assessments” and how to apply this with different learner profiles. The content of this session is applicable to any setting or assessment materials.

Choosing the Right Assessment for your Learner with Autism Part 2.

In this session, we will apply the content from session 1. Video examples will be used to explore how to complete the general assessment process with different learner profiles.

Choosing the Right Assessment for your Learner with Autism Part 3.

This session focuses on some of the key aspects of developmental research that we should be familiar with when conducting assessments in Early Intervention settings. This session will also include resources relating to assessment and intervention for early learners ages 3-5.

Evaluation and Curriculum Guide for Teaching Language Skills

PEAK (Promoting Emergence of Advanced Knowledge) is an evidence-based assessment with a corresponding curriculum. PEAK is based on traditional ABA approach combined with the science of Derived Relational Responding, which teaches the ability to make relations between concepts. Improving the ability to make relations helps children to acquire skills they were never directly taught to them, which can reduce the amount of time the child needs ABA therapy. It also helps with teaching problem solving skills, advanced language skills, and reduces rote memory which is a common criticism of the traditional ABA approach.

The PEAK Relational Training System was developed so that it could be used by teachers, parents, caregivers, and behavior analysts. Although PEAK was created from behavior analytic foundations, instructions are written in a non-technical way so that everybody can understand. The PEAK Relational Training System includes four training modules. The four modules of PEAK provide a comprehensive and individualized curriculum that can help an individual acquire new skills and learn the important ability to make relations that can be applied to a variety of scenarios encountered throughout life.

This session will provide an overview of the PEAK Relational Training System and Assessment. It will also provide a brief overview of the 4 PEAK modules and data collection system. At the end of the session, teachers currently using PEAK will share their experiences getting started with this system.

A Spectrum of Voices.

For an individual with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), the transition from adolescence to young adulthood can create new challenges, as there is a continuing need for support, often with limited available resources. This is a time in which changes take place in development (e.g., emergence of different types of relationships) and when different life skills are necessary for success (e.g. maintaining a job). Many dynamics of social communication and social interaction also shift, depending on the individualʼs needs and goals. Therefore, supports for those with ASD should look different to reflect this movement into adulthood. Listening to those who are on the autism spectrum can help professionals be more sensitive to their goals, needs, concerns, wishes, and preferences. Often, the element of seeking individuals' input about programming, educational issues, independent living, employment, or housing is not included. Each young adult brings a unique perspective to this transition into adulthood.

Interoception Assessment and Curriculum.

Interoception is an important sensory system that helps us to feel internal body signals like a full bladder, growling stomach, tense muscles or speeding heart. Research indicates that our ability to clearly notice and interpret these internal body signals enables us to accurately identify and manage how we feel: Are we anxious? getting frustrated? hungry? full? in pain? needing the bathroom? Interoceptive differences are very common in a variety of students including those with autism, but also in co-occurring or stand-alone conditions such as trauma and attachment disorders, sensory processing disorder, ADHD, anxiety, depression and behavioral challenges. Interoception is emerging as a key factor in the development of emotional well-being and healing from trauma. Given the potential impact of the current pandemic on areas such as regulation and mental health, understanding interoception is more important than ever. A systematic evidence-based approach for assessing and supporting interoception will be shared with a special focus on The Interoception Curriculum.


Past Webinars

A full list of the archived Tri-State Webinars can be accessed from CDE's Professional Development Portal. 

Autism Library of
On-Demand Webinars

Dr. Susan Hepburn

Other Training Opportunities

Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) Online Training Opportunity

This 40+ hour readiness training is a free, self-directed, online training which fulfills the Behavior Analyst Certification Board's (BACB) eligibility training requirements toward attaining a Registered Behavior TechnicianTM (RBTTM) credential. Please note this course is for staff or families working/living in Colorado. 
The RBT course will begin July 7, 2022. 

July 7, 2022 - December 30, 2022

  • The next round of the RBT course is full. 

More information regarding the July 7 - December 30, 2022 RBT Online Training Opportunity (PDF)

Frequently Asked Questions regarding the RBT Course

Instructional Strategies

Due to the high demand of the RBT course, the Kansas Technical Assistance Network created a training geared toward para-educators who want further training on behavior and instructional strategies, but are NOT seeking the RBT credential. The content is based on information covered in the RBT course. If you simply want more information around behavior and instructional strategies, but do NOT want/need the RBT credential, please take this course.

About the Instructional Strategies Training:

  • You do NOT have to apply for this course, and can create account at the link below and begin taking modules at any time.
  • There is no timeline for completing the course. You can complete content whenever is convenient for you.
  • The course is completely free.
  • You will receive a certificate of completion for 7-8 contact hours.
  • This course does NOT meet BACB requirements for the 40 hour RBT training.

Access the Instructional Strategies Training

Culturally and Linguistically Responsive ASD Educational Identification

This workshop will provide school professionals with advanced training pertaining to considerations regarding ASD assessment practices when working with traditionally underserved children, including children that are economically vulnerable, racially/ethnically diverse, linguistically diverse, and females.  See flyer for more information and to register.

More information coming soon! 

Join the Conversation & Contact Us

ASD Office Hours

Brooke Carson will be offering ASD office hours on the following Fridays from 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM:

  • June 10 & 24
  • July 8 & 22
  • August 5


Join the Summer
Zoom Meetings

Meeting ID: 891 8479 6996

Beginning August 12 the ASD team will host office hours during the school year every Friday from 12:00 - 1:00 PM except for: 

  • September 2
  • November 18 & 25
  • December 23
  • January 13

School Year ASD
Zoom Meetings

Meeting ID: 816 3285 8572

View other available ESSU office hours

Please note, during the office hours we will not be able to give legal advice OR be able to discuss student-specific issues (e.g. IEP minutes, service delivery).

BCBA Conversations 2020-2021

If you are a BCBA working in a public or facility school across the state of Colorado, you are invited to a monthly gathering of other BCBAs to collaborate, problem solve and share resources. We will gather from 4:00 - 5:00 PM on some Wednesdays each month to discuss topics relevant to our work, host guest speakers and collaborate with others around the state doing the same work.

Hope to see you there!

Join us from 4:00 - 5:00 PM on the following dates:

  • September 8, 2021
  • October 6, 2021
  • November 3, 2021
  • December 1, 2021

  • January 5, 2022
  • February 2, 2022
  • March 2, 2022
  • April 6, 2022
  • May 4, 2022

Join BCBA Meeting

Join the Colorado Autism Spectrum Disorder Listserv

To join the Autism Spectrum Disorder listserv please contact Brooke Carson or Rhonda Danner. ​

Contact an ASD Specialist

Brooke Carson, Ph.D.
Phone: 303-866-6691
Email Brooke Carson

Rhonda Danner, M.A.
Phone: 720-460-8368
Email Rhonda Danner

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