Autism and Neurodiversity in Early Childcare

Free Self-Paced Online Program

This program is designed to assist childcare providers, early childhood educators, preschool teachers, parents and anyone interested in inclusive childcare to learn practical strategies on how to support young children with developmental disabilities, including autism (diagnosed or undiagnosed) in the early childcare setting. In fact, the strategies presented in these modules can help any child thrive in their early years!

This program includes a series of four self-paced, interactive modules filled with useful activities and videos and is available to anyone, anywhere for FREE!

What are the Module Topics?

There are four modules in the program. Module 1 is a prerequisite to modules 2 through 4. Modules 2 to 4 can be taken in any order; however, it is highly recommended that the learner take the modules in sequence.

  • Length: Approximately 90-105 minutes
  • Learning Objective:
    1. Learn about the key features of autism and address common myths and stereotypes
    2. Learn about the importance of a strength-based language use.
    3. Learn how to recognize early indicators of autism in young children.
    4. Gain a better understanding of autism from the perspective of families.

  • Length: Approximately 60-75 minutes
  • Learning Objective:
    1. Learn the core components to consider when speaking with families about autism and other developmental differences .
    2. Learn why it is important to not delay your conversations and have them early and often.

  1. Length: Approximately 45-60 minutes
  2. Learning Objective:
    1. Learn ways to gain and maintain a child’s attention and improve interactions through strategies like:
    - Positioning creating an attention bridge, following the child’s lead, using preferred activities as magnets, and harnessing the power of routines and choices.
    2. Learn ways to promote social communication through strategies like:
    - Making the most of gestures, being a play-by-play broadcaster, using the "one-up" rule, using the "say it as they would say it" rule, using repetitive language during play, having balanced conversations, and trying out some communication temptations.

  • Length: Approximately 45-60 minutes
  • Leaning Objective:
    1. Understand the advantages of using visual supports in all childcare settings.
    2. Understand the common types of visual supports and best ways to use them.

You can start and stop the modules at any time and the platform will remember where you left off. You will also have continued access to each module to use as an ongoing resource.

The program includes a list of supplemental resources that have been vetted by CIRCA for quality assurance.


1. Who can take this program?

There are no restrictions as to who can register for the program. It is available for FREE to anyone interested in better understanding Autism and Neurodiversity in Early Childcare.

2. What is the time commitment?

The total time commitment for the program is up to 4 hours, but the time commitment for each module will vary (see individual module listings, above). You can start and stop the modules at any time and the platform will remember where you left off. You will also have continued access to each module to use as an ongoing resource.

3. Do the modules need to be taken consecutively and all together?

The modules can be taken separately and not consecutively if desired, but Module 1 is a prerequisite for the following modules. We recommend taking the entire series of modules for the complete program and full package of knowledge, but it is not required.

4. Is there a deadline to register?

No, the program will be available on an ongoing basis so you can register at any time.

5. Trouble Registering? Where can I get help with the Canvas CPE registration process?

You may have received 2 emails from Canvas Catalog. Please follow the instructions in the email titled “Complete your Catalog registration”. Refer to this page for information on the registration process and troubleshooting tips.

6. Who do I contact if I need technical assistance or more information?

Modules are not monitored. The program includes a resource and reference section that provides information on additional support and service agencies that may be able to assist.

7. What platform is used?

The program is hosted on UBC Canvas.

8. Is there a recognition of achievement?

Yes. A module completion badge is awarded for each module when you complete the module and submit the module survey. A program completion certificate is awarded when you complete modules 1 through 4 and the associated module surveys. You may use the certification of completion certificate to apply for continuing education credits.

9. How can I customize my module content viewing experience?

The content is optimized for viewing on a desktop computer using Google Chrome browser. While you would be able to access the content using a different browser or via your smartphone, you may experience difficulties reading the content & completing activities on a smaller device.