Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. There is often nothing about how people with ASD look that sets them apart from other people, but people with ASD may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. The learning, thinking, and problem-solving abilities of people with ASD can range from gifted to severely challenged. Some people with ASD need a lot of help in their daily lives; others need less.
A diagnosis of ASD now includes several conditions that used to be diagnosed separately: autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and Asperger syndrome. These conditions are now all called autism spectrum disorder. (CDC, 2021)

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Not point at objects to show interest (for example, not point at an airplane flying over)

Signs and Symptoms

People with ASD often have problems with social, emotional, and communication skills. They might repeat certain behaviors and might not want change in their daily activities. Many people with ASD also have different ways of learning, paying attention, or reacting to things. Signs of ASD begin during early childhood and typically last throughout a person’s life.

Children or adults with ASD might:

Not look at objects when another person points at them

Have trouble relating to others or not have an interest in other people at all

Avoid eye contact and want to be alone

Have trouble understanding other people’s feelings or talking about their own feelings

Prefer not to be held or cuddled, or might cuddle only when they want to

Appear to be unaware when people talk to them, but respond to other sounds

Be very interested in people, but not know how to talk, play, or relate to them

Repeat or echo words or phrases said to them, or repeat words or phrases in place of normal language

Have trouble expressing their needs using typical words or motions

Not play “pretend” games (for example, not pretend to “feed” a doll)

Repeat actions over and over again

Have trouble adapting when a routine changes

Have unusual reactions to the way things smell, taste, look, feel, or sound

Lose skills they once had (for example, stop saying words they were using)

(CDC, 2021)

It is a science devoted to the understanding and improvement of human behavior. Applied Behavior Analysis or ABA, is a scientific approach for discovering environmental variables that reliably influence socially significant behavior and for developing a technology of behavior changes that takes practical advantage of those discoveries. (Cooper et al., 2020)

Applied Behavior Analysis is the process of systematically applying interventions based upon the principles of learning theory to improve socially significant behaviors to a meaningful degree, and to demonstrate that the interventions employed are responsible for the improvement in behavior. (Baer, et al., 1968)

*The science of ABA is considered the gold standard by most experts. It is also considered an evidenced-based best practice treatment and endorsed by the US Surgeon General, the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the US Department of Health.*

What is Applied Behavior Analysis?

April 2
World Autism Day

1% World Population has ASD

3.5M Americans Live with the Disorder

Yearly cost for an individual from age 0-5 with Autism and the presence or absence of Intellectual Disability (ID) $123,000/$72,000

The annual cost of Autism to the U.S. will nearly double from $268 billion in 2015 to $461 billion in 2025, but has projected that it could balloon to as large as $1 trillion if the rates of prevalence continue to increase as the CDC has reported.

autism facts

national resources

local & state

Autism Center for Excellence
VCU’s Autism Center for Excellence offers a training course titled The Parent Playbook. This training is an introduction to Autism and is recommended for the parents and caregivers of a child recently diagnosed with Autism. 

Autism Society of Tidewater
The Autism Society of Tidewater is dedicated to connecting families with local resources in the Hampton Roads area. They update their site monthly to include local events geared towards families with children on the autism spectrum.

Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center
The Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center builds positive futures for Virginia’s children by working collaboratively with families, schools and communities in order to improve opportunities for excellence in education and success in school and community life. Their special focus is children with disabilities

Virginia Association for Behavior Analysis (VABA)
The mission of the Virginia Association for Behavior Analysis is to promote and support the practice, research, and dissemination of behavior analysis throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. 

Parent Resources

More national resources


The only GPS tracker designed for special needs. A proven safety device with assistive speakerphone to protect your loved one and give you peace of mind. 

Association for Behavior Analysis International
Since 1974, the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) has been the primary membership organization for those interested in the philosophy, science, application, and teaching of behavior analysis. ABAI provides many services to its members and the field. 

Association for Science in Autism Treatment
ASAT promotes safe, effective, science-based treatments for people with autism by disseminating accurate, timely, and scientifically sound information, advocating for the use of scientific methods to guide treatment, and combating unsubstantiated, inaccurate and false information about autism and its treatment.

Association of Professional Behavior Analysts
The Association of Professional Behavior Analysts (APBA) is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote and advance the science-based practice of behavior analysis by advocating for public policies and informing, supporting, and protecting practitioners and consumers.

more national


Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the lifespan, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. They do this through advocacy and support; increasing understanding and acceptance of people with autism; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions.

Behavior Analyst Certification Board
The BACB’s mission is to protect consumers of behavior-analytic services by systematically establishing, promoting, and disseminating professional standards of practice. 

Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies
The Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies goals are to create and deliver trustworthy information on high quality behavioral services and science around the world, to promote global collaboration among behavioral organizations, and to improve the future of behavioral science by educating and developing the next wave of behavioral scientists and practitioners.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
CDC increases the health security of our nation. As the nation’s health protection agency, CDC saves lives and protects people from health threats. To accomplish their mission, CDC conducts critical science and provides health information that protects our nation against expensive and dangerous health threats and responds when these arise.

more national


Families for Early Autism Treatment
While Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a lifelong condition in which the needs of your child will change over time, there is hope for your child to live a fulfilled life with support and company of loved ones. Since 1993, FEAT families and supporters have worked hard to improve treatment resources and advocacy services; and effect changes in the minds of those who make program decisions for individuals with Autism and their families. 

IEP Goals
Back in 2010 they saw that there was a need for a resource to find IEP goals and Objectives. So, they put this website together to make it easier to find goals. Over the years they have been continually adding more and more content. 

National Autism Association
The mission of the National Autism Association is to respond to the most urgent needs of the autism community, providing real help and hope so that all affected can reach their full potential.

LOCAL & STATE resources


National Autism Center
The National Autism Center is May Institute’s Center for the Promotion of Evidence-based Practice. It is a nonprofit organization dedicated to disseminating evidence-based information about the treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), promoting best practices, and offering comprehensive and reliable resources for families, practitioners, and communities. 

Project Lifesaver
Project Lifesaver is the premier search and rescue program operated internationally by public safety agencies and is strategically designed for “at risk” individuals who are prone to the life-threatening behavior of wandering. The primary mission of Project Lifesaver is to provide timely response to save lives and reduce potential injury for adults and children with the propensity to wander due to a cognitive condition.


Parent Resources