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The Young Child with Autism

Course Code: BHIN 1230
Faculty: Child, Family & Community Studies
Credits: 1.5
Semester: Flexible delivery ranging over 1 to 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture
Typically Offered: Winter
course overview

This course introduces students to developmental principles and applied strategies that support the learning of a young child who has Autism Spectrum Disorder (including Autism, Asperger Syndrome, Rett Syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified).

Course Content

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

  • Young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder must be understood within wider frameworks including a personal, family, cultural and community perspective.
  • Intervention strategies should be deployed within the context of family-centered practice and collaborative working relationships.
  • Approaches to understanding the interrelated aspects of development in young children includes:
    • Cognitive Development
      • Developmental models
      • Transitions and Routines
      • Activities and strategies that promote cognitive development skills
    • Language Acquisition and Communication
      • Joint attention, cultural learning and language acquisition
      • Social pragmatic approach to language acquisition
      • Communicative functions, expressive and receptive skills
      • Behaviour as a form of communication
      • Activities and strategies that facilitate and promote language/communication skill development
    • Social Development
      • Self-esteem and self awareness
      • Developing a sense of the other
      • Social/affective signalling
      • Friendship and play
      • Affection and holistic well-being
      • Activities that facilitate and promote social skill development 
    • Motor Development
      • Developmental sequences
      • Self care (dressing, toileting, eating, etc)
      • Safety
      • Adaptations
      • Activities and strategies that facilitate and promote motor skill development
  • Support approaches should include behavioural, developmental and environmental perspectives.
  • An awareness of the range of service options for the young child with Autism and their families is needed for practitioners.
  • It is important to understand play-based environments in learning and the problems children with Autism Spectrum Disorder experience in play.
  • Practitioners should be familiar with a range of observation strategies.

Methods of Instruction

Methods of Instruction

  • Lecture
  • Guest Lecture
  • Video/DVD
  • Case Studies
  • Group presentations

Means of Assessment

This course will conform to Douglas College policy regarding the number and weighting of evaluations. Typical means of evaluation would include a combination of:

  • Critical research paper
  • Case study
  • Group presentation
  • Observation assignment

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Identify the individual differences in maturation and growth among infants, toddlers and young children with autism.
    • Examine the child’s development within the context of his or her family and culture
    • Examine the child’s development as compared with typical maturation, growth and development
    • Identify how individual differences, including special needs, relate to the development of the child
    • Consider the possible range of discrepancies with Autism Spectrum Disorder that might affect the development of a young child and how this underlies and guides intervention.
  2. Describe the range of appropriate strategies to encourage social, communication and language skills in young children
    • Discuss the interrelated aspects of physical, language, social/emotional and language skills in young children.
    • Articulate the importance of observation in the learning cycle
    • Discuss the role and importance of early intervention
  3. Identify the role of play-based environments when working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  4. Identify and assess current research and issues related to diagnostic assessment and treatment modalities specific to Autism Spectrum Disorder.

curriculum 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 schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.