Autism Spectrum Disorder Across the Lifespan

Applied Community Studies
Disability & Community Studies
Course Code
DACS 3430
Semester Length
Flexible delivery ranging over 2 to 15 weeks
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Typically Offered


Course Description
This upper-level undergraduate course explores Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) from a lifespan perspective applying behavioural, social, and cognitive theories. Topics include diagnostic characteristics and the diagnostic process in British Columbia, the etiology, history, and co-morbid conditions associated with ASD. Special emphasis will be given to evidence-based interventions and support strategies within early intervention, school, and employment settings.
Course Content

The following global ideas guide the design and delivery of this course:

  • The best place for children to thrive, grow, and learn is with a family.
  • ASD is a life-long developmental disorder.
  • Funding options are available for assessment and intervention.
  • Assessments and intervention methods are to be based on contemporary best practices.
  • Best practices are those that are (a) evidence-based, (b) individualized, (c) fit individuals’ and families’ needs, and (d) ethical.
  • The capacity of an individual with ASD is best supported through teaching language and other social skills.
  • Language and other social skills are best analyzed and taught using a functional approach.
  • Autism intervention is not static, but rather, is dynamic—a process readily apparent when examined within an historical context.
Learning Activities
  • Lecture
  • Guest lecture
  • Audio-visual presentations
  • Case studies
  • Small and large group work
Means of Assessment
  • Weekly reading quizzes
  • Academic research paper
  • Case studies
  • Group presentation
  • Exams
Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

Describe the etiology, assessment, diagnosis, and funding for ASD within the BC context.

  • Consider the historical treatment of individuals with ASD and their families
  • Summarize the diagnostic indicators of ASD and explain developmental differences in individuals across the lifespan.
  • Explore contemporary assessment tools and funding options available to individuals diagnosed as a child or adult.

Evaluate evidence based methodologies and interventions with individuals on the autism spectrum.

  • Compare pseudo and anti-scientific models with evidence based methodologies.
  • Examine behavior, social, and cognitive theories of autisms and their impact on practice.
  • Examine behavioural outcomes associated with different intervention models.
  • Summarize significant peer-reviewed research on intervention practices.

Analyze a range of lifespan issues regarding social/emotional, communication/language, and behavioural domains.

  • Evaluate behavioral interpretations of complex social behavior impacting relationships in preschool, school, community and employment settings.
  • Review common mental and physical health conditions associated with autism, such as seizures, anxiety, and depression.
  • Examine tensions regarding autism between cure, treatment, acceptance and celebration perspectives.
Textbook Materials
  • TBA


Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for DACS 3430
Simon Fraser University (SFU) No credit
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) No credit
University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC PSYC 3XX (3)
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV HSER 2XX (3)

Course Offerings

Summer 2023