Professional Development Resources to Support Autism Awareness Month

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The month of April – designated as National Autism Awareness Month – offers opportunities for support and learning to the families of children with autism and the professionals who care for them. Professional Development Resources AutismOnlineCE, a nationally accredited provider of continuing education (CE) for psychologists, social workers, counselors, speech-language pathologists, and occupational therapists, features specialized continuing education courses that offer diagnostic and treatment information on the various facets of Autism. During the month of April, the company will offer a free course, and special discounts on all of its autism courses. To further our commitment to educating the public about this disorder, we will also donate a portion of the proceeds from every autism course purchased to the Autism Society of America.


This group of disorders is extremely disturbing for the parents of children who show symptoms, especially those who appeared to be developing normally

Professional Development Resources is a national provider of continuing education (CE) courses, offering training to the professionals who work together in interdisciplinary teams caring for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and their families. This challenging spectrum of disorders requires early and aggressive intervention in the areas of behavior, communication, social skills, parenting, and educational management.

The company offers an online catalog of over 170 accredited healthcare and mental health CE courses. Within this catalog, seven courses relate to various aspects of ASD. They address the complexities of accurately diagnosing ASD and the many challenges of instituting successful intervention strategies, including parent education and involvement.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), ASD represents a spectrum of developmental disorders, ranging from a severe form, called autistic disorder, to a milder form, Asperger syndrome. All children with ASD demonstrate deficits in 1) social interaction, 2) verbal and nonverbal communication, and 3) repetitive behaviors or interests. In addition, they will often have unusual responses to sensory experiences, such as certain sounds, tastes, or the way objects look. Each of these symptoms runs the gamut from mild to severe. They present differently in each individual child.

In the most recent government survey on the rates of autism, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that the current rate is higher than that found in U.S. studies conducted in the 1980s and early 1990s. Debate abounds about whether this represents a true increase in the prevalence of autism. Changes in the criteria used to diagnose autism, along with increased recognition of the disorder by professionals and the public may all be contributing factors. Nonetheless, the CDC report confirms other recent epidemiologic studies documenting that more children are being diagnosed with ASD than ever before.

“This group of disorders is extremely disturbing for the parents of children who show symptoms, especially those who appeared to be developing normally,” says Leo Christie, PhD, CEO of Professional Development Resources. “Adding to their stress is the confusing array of questionable information that is everywhere on the Internet and in other popular media. Parents truly do not know what to do. ASDs are treatable, but there are many unproven treatments that have not been tested by scientific methods to prove their effectiveness. Our commitment is to educate professionals in evidence-based practice, that is, the use of those treatments that have been subjected to rigorous scientific study.”

The wide range of symptoms in ASD requires the involvement of a team of professionals such as psychologists, speech-language pathologists (SLPs), counselors, social workers, registered dietitians (RDs), occupational therapists (OTs), marriage and family therapists (MFTs), and classroom teachers, as well as physicians. These professionals should be actively involved in every phase of diagnosis and treatment.

In honor of National Autism Awareness Month, Professional Development Resources is offering a free autism course - Autism Spectrum Disorders Overview. To sign up for this free course, or to view our other courses related to autism, simply click here and you will be directed to our special offer webpage.

About Professional Development Resources, Inc.

Professional Development Resources is a Florida-based nonprofit educational corporation founded in 1992 by licensed marriage and family therapist Leo Christie, Ph.D. The company, which is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), the American Dietetic Association (ADA) – as well as many other national and state boards – has focused its efforts on making continuing education courses more efficient and widely accessible to health professionals by offering online home study coursework. Its current expanded curriculum includes a wide variety of clinical topics intended to equip health professionals to offer state-of-the art services to their clients.

Leo Christie, PhD, CEO
Professional Development Resources, Inc.

Note: To view our National Autism Awareness Month promotional, click here.


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