Autism and Art


Credits: 2 Credits
PD Hours: 80 Hours
Length: 4 Weeks

Students on the autism spectrum are often thrust into our art rooms with a chart and perhaps an associate, and we’re left to our own intuition and devices. While this can get us started, more professional and in-depth training can really build our confidence to be the leader we want to be in the art room and meet the needs of all our students. 

During this course you’ll learn about autism spectrum disorders by delving into the current research. Understanding how students on the spectrum relate with the world can help you create a safe setting for improving self-expression, focus and motor skills. This setting can also help students improve their ability to adapt to social cues and norms.


Course Takeaways

  • Identify and implement best practices for students with autism spectrum disorders.

  • Use art as an intervention tool.

  • Create specific resources, such as a visual schedule, and other adaptations for immediate use in your art room. 

  • Effectively handle challenging behaviors.

  • Implement systems and routines to make your art room a welcoming place for students with autism spectrum disorders.

  • Interact in a proactive and positive way with colleagues such as associates and special education teachers.




The course content was great and really made me investigate different types of neurological disorders. It also prompted me to seek out colleagues who are specialists in their field of cognitive study that I might not have reached out to prior to the course.

- John A. Jr.

This class thoroughly covered the subject of autism and equipped me with many tools to employ. The one-month timeframe was quick but allowed plenty of time for all assignments. The discussion board format allowed for great contact with other professionals in my content area and reinforced learned knowledge by reading everyone else’s posts.

- Carolyn H.

I have already recommended this class to several art teachers in my district. This class is relevant and necessary to help the growing needs of our classrooms. I only wish I had taken it sooner.

- Jen M.

This course was practical, thoughtful, and extremely eye-opening. It made me question preconceived ideas and really challenge myself to get at the roots of my beliefs about my students. I am so pleased with the content of the course, but most importantly, the class discussion. They were so helpful and inspiring.

- Jonathan J.

The resources for this class were incredibly interesting and relevant. I am sincere about my desire and plan to further adapt my strategies to meet the needs of autistic students. I think the toolkit is a wonderful way to set us up with practical and useful strategies for our classrooms.

- Jody K.


Course Breakdown

Week 1: Autism Basics

  • Explore the unique characteristics of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and its impact on socialization, communication, and imagination.
  • Design a sensory matrix with proactive solutions to possible sensitivity triggers.

Week 2: In the Art Room

  • Learn how to help students develop creativity and sensory control in the art room.
  • Discover ways to build rapport with other educators to meet students’ needs.

Week 3: Adaptions and Behavior

  • Adapt materials and tweak procedures to help students with autism.
  • Learn to phrase directions to improve the success of your instruction.
  • Create a visual task menu to help manage behaviors.

Week 4: Reflection and Conclusion

  • Learn more about Asperger’s syndrome and savants.
  • Leave the class with a comprehensive toolkit that houses all of your lesson plans, organizational tools, and reflections from this class.





Featured Instructor

This is, hands down, my favorite class to teach! Participants not only learn about autism, they pick up practical, modest changes that can make a HUGE impact in the art room. But the best part is the increased compassion and understanding. – Heather C.




Sample Assignment


Digital Painting and Drawing

A sample assignment from Week 1 of the class “Autism and Art”



Explore what is meant by autism spectrum disorders and how it differs from other disorders. Examine the recovery and diversity movements via interviews with medical professionals and discussions from parents of children with autism.



Share with art teachers from around the globe how the triad of impairment can cause an interruption of learning in the art room. Brainstorm ways to find solutions to help every student learn.


Practical, Hands-On Application

Design a sensory matrix that includes all five senses, possible triggers, and how triggers can be prevented or changed. Be open to updating and changing your ideas as you learn more from your classmates.




  • Degree Level Graduate Credit
  • Morningside Grade Report
  • Morningside Transcript
  • Full HLC Degree-Level Accreditation
  • Letter Grade
  • 80+ PD Contact Hours
  • Full Access to Class Resources
  • Full Instructor Feedback
  • AOE Certificate of Course Completion
Buy Now



  • Degree Level Graduate Credit
  • Morningside Grade Report
  • Morningside Transcript
  • Full HLC Degree-Level Accreditation
  • Letter Grade
  • 80+ PD Contact Hours
  • Full Access to Class Resources
  • Full Instructor Feedback
  • AOE Certificate of Course Completion
Buy Now



Upcoming Class Run Dates

JUN 1-30th
JUL 1-31st
AUG 1-31st


Contact Us

If you’re like most art teachers, you probably have a lot of questions about professional development. Every state’s requirements are different, and every school has their own policies and procedures.

Schedule a meeting now with an AOE Class Counselor who can help you cut through the complexity and create a PD plan that works for you and for your busy schedule.


If you need answers now, you can also send us an email at or call/text us at 515.650.3198.



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