Disciplines: Speech-Language Pathology
Hours: 2 Contact Hours
  • Patricia LaVesser, PhD, OTR
  • Amy Hasselkus, MA, CCC-SLP
Item#: O2502
Contents: 1 Course Book (76 pages)

High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders: Diagnosis, Treatment Issues, and Speech-Pathology Intervention

Price $19.95
Item # O2502
When available, the Online Course format is included with the hard copy, eBook, or audio book formats!

Release Date: October 3, 2016

Expiration Date: October 2, 2018

In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data indicating that 1 out of every 68 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, speech-language pathologists have seen a parallel rise in referrals for assessment and intervention services. It is imperative that SLPs remain up to date and well informed regarding evidence-based practice for this population.

This course focuses on individuals with autism spectrum disorder who have cognitive abilities in the average or above average range, or “high-functioning autism,” and provides practitioners with information on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th edition, criteria and classification system for autism spectrum disorders, along with information on how SLPs can contribute to an informed diagnosis. Appropriate assessment and treatment strategies will be described that are intended to meet the needs of individuals with 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.


This program is offered for 0.25 ASHA CEUs (Introductory-Level, Professional Area) 

Course Objectives

  • Discuss the history and prevalence of autism spectrum disorders.
  • Describe the causal theories for autism spectrum disorders.
  • Identify diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum disorders.
  • Identify the specific strengths and challenges for individuals with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders.
  • Describe components of speech-language pathology assessment of high-functioning autism spectrum disorders.
  • Discuss appropriate evidence-based interventions and strategies to address communication, social, and cognitive difficulties for individuals with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders.

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, MO, and her doctorate in social work from Washington University in St. Louis, MO. 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 and Related 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 Colorado, 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. Her current research interests include the study of adaptive skills intervention models and outcomes for children with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental difficulties.




Financial: Received an honorarium from Western Schools for this work.

Nonfinancial: No nonfinancial relationships disclosed.


Amy Hasselkus, MA, CCC-SLP, is a licensed and ASHA-certified speech-language pathologist. Amy obtained her master’s degree in speech-language pathology from the University of Georgia and worked in a hospital in Harrisburg, PA, providing services to children and adults with speech, language, swallowing, and cognitive disorders, including autism spectrum disorder. She then went to work for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), where she assisted in the development of resources for SLPs on a variety of clinical and professional issues. From there, she earned a second MA in communication (with a focus on health communication) from George Mason University. She now teaches as an adjunct instructor at George Mason University and a local community college, as well as works on continuing education programs for speech-language pathologists.




Financial: Received an honorarium from Western Schools for this work.

Nonfinancial: No nonfinancial relationships disclosed.


  • Courses must be completed on or before the expiration date noted in the course description above.
  • You must score 75% or higher on the final exam and complete the course evaluation to pass this course to earn ASHA CEUs and/or receive a certificate of completion.
  • Through our review processes, Western Schools ensures that this course content is presented in a balanced, unbiased manner and is free from commercial influence. It is Western Schools’ policy not to accept commercial support.
  • See author and peer reviewer tabs for disclosures. All other persons involved in the planning and development of this course have disclosed no relevant financial relationships or other conflicts of interest related to the course content.