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Education and training

The Virginia Autism Resource Center at Virginia Commonwealth University provides a variety of training events designed to meet the needs of individuals with autism spectrum disorders, as well as family members and professionals. We gather data from focus groups, participant satisfaction surveys and state plans to prioritize efforts, revise training events and verify that training is effectively dispersing evidence-based strategies.

VARC takes every effort to ensure that:

  • Training methods are of high quality, intensity and duration.
  • Content is based on up-to-date research.
  • Materials, methods and content are relevant to the needs of our target audience.


VARC offers training opportunities for anyone who lives with, works with or supports individuals with autism spectrum disorders, or just wants to learn more, including:

  • Families and friends of individuals with an autism spectrum disorder
  • Educators
  • Related service personnel
  • Infant and early childhood service providers
  • Community services boards personnel
  • Medical service providers
  • Group home service providers
  • Residential and vocational service providers

Training formats

Training is offered in a variety of instructional formats that are designed to reach a wide audience and fit the schedules of busy family members and professionals.

Web-based training

Most training is provided through the use of online technology and is accessible directly from our Web site. Training formats offered on our Web site include:

Live training

Live training sessions are provided on a limited basis. They are designed to offer intensive training in a face-to-face setting. Live training sessions are offered to large target audiences who share a common need and typically involve multiple schools, agencies or families. They are offered regionally throughout the state in order to target all geographical areas. Examples of live training sessions include:

  • Professional development for educational personnel
  • In-service training to adult service providers
  • In-service training to infant and early childhood service providers
  • Interventions and supports for family members

Please see upcoming live training for a complete schedule of sessions.

Training topics

We provide training sessions on a wide range of topics related to autism spectrum disorders. The topics listed below provide examples of subjects covered in past sessions:

    • Characteristics of autism spectrum disorders
    • The learning needs of individuals with autism spectrum disorders
    • Developing comprehensive educational programs for individuals with autism spectrum disorders
    • Conducting a functional behavior assessment
    • Developing and implementing a positive behavioral support plan
    • Providing effective intervention to develop and enhance communication
    • Increasing social skills and peer interaction
    • Evaluating programming
    • Writing social stories
    • Using alternative and augmentative communication systems
VCU Rehabilitation Research Training Center on Workplace Supports and Job Retention Virginia Commonwealth University