Course Description

Course Description:

In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data indicating that 1 out of every 54 children is diagnosed with a disorder on the autism spectrum. These numbers indicate a continuing increase in the number of children being identified with this condition. Along with these numbers, occupational therapy practitioners and other healthcare providers have seen a parallel rise in referrals for assessment and intervention services. It is imperative that occupational therapy practitioners remain up to date and well-informed regarding evidence-based practice for this population. This course will provide practitioners with information on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th edition (DSM-5, 2013), criteria and classification system for autism spectrum disorders, along with information on how occupational therapists can contribute to an informed diagnosis. Appropriate assessments and treatment strategies will be described that are intended to meet the needs of individuals with an autism spectrum disorder, their families, and others who work and interact with them. Although this course is specifically designed to examine the unique and heterogeneous needs of people with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders, much of the information can also be applied to individuals diagnosed on the autism spectrum with any degree of impairment. 

Contact Hours: 6
Text Course Format: Text
Target Audience:
Instructional Level: Intermediate

Accreditation Information:

StateDisciplineApproval StatusProvider CodeExpiration Date

Course Goals & Objectives:

Course Goals:

This intermediate-level course is intended for occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants. However, other professionals who interact with those who have high-functioning autism spectrum disorders, including physical therapists, speech and language pathologists, social workers, psychologists, paraprofessionals, administrators, and teachers, may benefit from the information offered in this course. 

Professional Objectives:

  1. Recognize the history and prevalence of autism spectrum disorders. 
  2. Describe the causal theories for autism spectrum disorders. 
  3. Identify diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum disorders. 
  4. Examine the specific strengths and challenges for individuals with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders. 
  5. Explain the occupational therapy evaluation and assessment of high-functioning autism spectrum disorders. 
  6. Compare and contrast appropriate evidence-based interventions and strategies to address occupational performance difficulties for individuals with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders. 



Text courses are viewed on your web browser if the online version is purchased, or sent via mail if the physical copy is purchased.

Contact Hours: 6 contact hours in length (check your state’s approval status in the state specific course catalog for your profession).

Target Audience:  Occupational Therapist, Occupational Therapist Assistant

Instructional Level: Intermediate

Criteria for Completion: Criteria for Completion: A score of 75% or more is considered passing. Scores of less than 75% indicate a failure to understand the material and the test will need to be taken again until a passing score has been achieved.

Personnel Disclosure:

Financial – Joshua Skuller and Patricia LaVesser are employed and receives a salary. They receive payment from Colibri Healthcare, LLC for the presentation of this course.

Nonfinancial - no relevant nonfinancial relationship exists.

No relevant conflicts of interest exist for any member of the activity planning committee.

Content Disclosure: This course does not focus solely on any specific product or service

Cancellation Policy: For activity cancellation, returns, or complaint resolution, please contact us by email or by phone at 1.800.55.4CEUS (2387). We have a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Refunds will be issued for courses that have not been completed (exam not taken), or for any course that has been rejected by your board of approval. Webinar attendance must be canceled 24 hours before the scheduled start time.


Joshua Skuller, PhD, OTR/L, BCP, ATP

Joshua Skuller, PhD, OTR/L, BCP, ATP, received his Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky, his Master of Education from the University of Louisville and his Doctor of Philosophy with a focus on education of students with autism from the University of Louisville. Dr. Skuller has been on faculty at Spalding University in the Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy since 2012. He is currently an associate professor and teaches courses in pediatrics and mental health in the entry level OTD program. Dr. Skuller is board certified in pediatrics through the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and holds the credential of Assistive Technology Professional (ATP) through the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA). In addition, Dr. Skuller is also certified in Ayers Sensory Integration through the Collaborative for Leadership in Ayers Sensory Integration (CLASI). His current research interests involve issues surrounding sensory integration and also trauma informed care in occupational therapy. Prior to his role on faculty, Dr. Skuller was employed for 12 years in Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, Kentucky where he provided occupational therapy to a diverse student population.

Patricia LaVesser, PhD, OTR

Patricia LaVesser, PhD, OTR, received her Bachelor of Science degree in occupational therapy from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, her master of arts in teaching from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri, and her doctorate in social work from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Since 2009, Dr. LaVesser has been an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics, JFK Partners, at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver. 

Dr. LaVesser currently serves as occupational therapy discipline director on the Leadership in Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities program under a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Maternal and Child Health Bureau. She also serves as a clinician case reviewer for the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network and as an evaluator for the Study to Explore Early Development. Clinically, Dr. LaVesser coordinates service provision for the Family Driven Autism Services and Learning project, serves on two of the interdisciplinary clinical assessment teams at the Child Development Unit of The Children’s Hospital Denver, and provides early intervention services through the ENRICH program. 

Prior to joining the faculty at JFK Partners, Dr. LaVesser was a faculty member at the occupational therapy program at Washington University in St. Louis for 25 years. She has a wide range of clinical pediatric experience that includes early intervention and school-based and hospital-based practice. [Text Wrapping Break]Her current research interests include the study of adaptive skills intervention models and outcomes [Text Wrapping Break]for children with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental difficulties. 

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