An Autism and Inclusive Practices Series


    Autism in the Classroom:
    Practical Strategies for Preschool and Early Elementary Teachers

    10.4.23    12.6.23  •  1.3.24  •  2.7.24     3.6.24    4.3.24    5.1.24  •  6.5.24  
    1:00 PM to 3:00 PM    VIRTUAL  


    This virtual series is offered at no charge, and was developed specifically with preschool, kindergarten, first grade and second grade teachers in mind. The series is open all Oregon public school and early childhood professionals who are interested in inclusive practices for children on the autism spectrum and early learners with related social-emotional, learning or behavioral needs. 


    Every session is offered live from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM on the following dates: 10/4/23, 12/6/23, 1/3/24, 2/7/24, 3/6/24, 4/17/24, 5/1/24, 6/5/24. Each session will be recorded and the recording links will be published on this page. Click here for information on accessing video recordings.


    Community preschool teachers. Kindergarten, first and second grade teachers. Paraeducators working in preschool or early elementary classrooms. Other early childhood and school-based professionals with an interest in successfully supporting neurodivergent early learners in general education classrooms. Note that for seasoned special education professionals, some of the information may be review for you.


    A Certificate of Participation is available following completion of each session along with submission of a brief feedback and learning check form. For teachers who complete the entire series, a special Certificate of Completion in Inclusive Practices for Early Learners will be issued. 


    It is free and easy to sign up. Separate registration is required for each session. Click on the event listed below. This will take you to our events calendar where you can register for the session. Note that you must create a free account on our website. This is a one-time process after which you will be able to sign in and register for other events. 


    Please contact Darthea Park at


    Autism and Inclusion Best Practices: Helping Preschool and Early Elementary Teachers Succeed
    October 4, 2023 - 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM

    Description: This session kicks off our series by exploring the power and importance of inclusion, while recognizing real-world challenges and barriers faced by teachers. We discuss how to overcome barriers to inclusion, and how teachers can successfully facilitate and model inclusion. From a practical perspective, we explore Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as well as reasonable and achievable ways to apply principles of UDL to enhance the success of not only children with neurodevelopmental disabilities, but also children who struggle for other reasons (e.g., lack of school/learning opportunities, exposure to adverse childhood events, English language learners/culturally and linguistically diverse children). 

    Session 1 Video Recording

    Session 1 Slideshow and Resources

    Supplemental Resources 

    Understanding Autism: Essential Concepts for Preschool and Early Elementary Teachers
    December 6, 2023 - 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM     

    Description: For teachers to help autistic children learn, we have to take an imaginative leap and try to see the work from their point of view. In this session, we explore the many ways in which children on the autism spectrum think, process, and experience the world in ways that are fundamentally different from their typically developing peers. Autism is often thought of as a hidden disability because children often show no outward signs of a disability. Learn about the underlying characteristics of autism and what's going on "beneath the surface" and how these differences manifest in preschool and early elementary classrooms. We will the strengths and gifts possessed by autistic children, and how to build upon those strengths using neurodiversity affirming instructional approaches. Finally, we will provide an overview of evidence-based practices, each of which will be explored in greater depth in subsequent sessions. 

    Session 2 Video Recording

    Session 2 Slideshow and Resources

    Supplemental Resources

    Setting the Stage for Success: Classroom Setup, Routines, and Instructional Supports for your Autistic Early Learners
    January 3, 2024 - 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM    

    Description: In this session, we'll talk about the physical organization of classrooms and learning spaces so that children are more independent and are better able to gain information from their environments to know what to do. Sensory considerations will be discussed and how to help students remain calm, alert and ready to learn. We'll share how to use routines and routines within routines can be used to provide structure, predictability and improve learning. Finally, we'll explore a wide range of visual supports, how to teach students to use them, and their various benefits (e.g., supporting transitions, adhering to classroom expectations, helping students understand information and express themselves).   

    Session 3 Video Recording

    Session 3 Slideshow and Resources

    Helping Children with Limited Speech in the Classroom: Tips and Strategies for Teachers to Support Communication 
    February 7, 2024 - 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM    

    Description: In this session, we will discuss children with limited language or who are non-speaking, and how classroom teachers can help them understand others and express themselves. Participants will learn about  communication aids and how to model and encourage their use for a variety of purposes (e.g., for children to make requests, to participate in classroom routines, to connect with peers). We will also describe ways to encourage social engagement and connections with peers.

    Registration: Click on the title to go to the event page. Look for the "Register" button (you'll need to be logged in via your account to see it).

    Session 4 Video Recording

    Session 4 Slideshow and Resources

    Preventing and Responding to Challenging Behaviors: Practical Strategies for Teachers (Part 1 of 2) 
    March 6, 2024 - 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM      

    Description: During this session, participants will learn about a variety of effective strategies to prevent challenging behaviors in the classroom, or that reduce the frequency and intensity of those behaviors. We will explore the concept of "behavior as communication", how we can analyze behaviors to understand what children are attempting to communicate, and how to teach prosocial replacement skills. We will review de-escalation techniques that help when children are triggered, and that help them return to a state of being happy, relaxed, engaged - and ready to learn. 

    Session 5 Video Recording

    Session 5 Slideshow and Resources

    Preventing and Responding to Challenging Behaviors: Practical Strategies for Teachers (Part 2 of 2) 
    April 3, 2024 - 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM      

    Description: Behavior is a high priority topic for teachers. In this second session, we will further explore tools and strategies that teachers can use to prevent and respond to those difficult moments in the classroom.

    Session 6 Video Recording

    Session 6 Slideshow and Resources

    Motivating Children to Learn and Increasing Engagement in Instruction   
    May 1, 2024 - 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM    

    Description: Teachers often report difficulties motivating their autistic students to engage in instruction and classroom activities. During this session, we'll explore ways to get kids engaged in learning and maintain their interest by drawing upon strengths and special interests. We will also share ways to set the stage for success, and how to provide the stand-by support to ensure children are successful. 

    Session 7 Video Recording

    Session 7 Slideshow and Resources

    The Incredible Power of Peers to Create Social Success for Early Learners on the Autism Spectrum
    June 5, 2024 - 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM  

    Description: Autistic children need and desire social connection just as much as all other children. They simply lack the skills and understanding to know how to create and maintain those connections. They often struggle to understand social scenarios. Research has demonstrated that peers can be successfully encouraged to support the social engagement and social success of their autistic peers. We will explore ways in which teachers can effectively coach peers.

    Registration: Click on the title to go to the event page. Look for the "Register" button (you'll need to be logged in via your account to see it).

    Session 8 Video Recording 

    Supplemental Resources

    If you have any questions regarding this series, please contact Darthea Park at