Education is Understanding

Autism education and research is constantly expanding. With so much information at your fingertips it can be either helpful or intimidating. Below you’ll find the most up-to-date and relevant resources exploring the basics of Autism, Applied Behavior Analysis, and Funding concerns.

About Autism

About Autism
  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.
  • Diagnostic Criteria: The CDC has listed the new diagnostic criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder here as defined by The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition (DSM-5).
Autism Red Flags in Toddlers

Red flags, as shown below indicate that a child should be evaluated by a professional.

Impairment in Social Interaction:

  • Lack of appropriate eye gaze
  • Lack of warm, joyful expressions
  • Lack of sharing interest or enjoyment
  • Lack of response to name

Impairment in Communication:

  • Lack of showing gestures
  • Lack of coordination of nonverbal communication
  • Unusual prosody (little variation in pitch, odd intonation, irregular rhythm,unusual voice quality)

Repetitive Behaviors & Restricted Interests:

  • Repetitive movements with objects
  • Repetitive movements or posturing of body, arms, hands, or fingers

Wetherby, A., Woods, J., Allen, L., Cleary, J., Dickinson, H., & Lord, C. (2004). Early indicators of autism spectrum disorders in the second year of life. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 34, 473-493. Based on research at the Florida State University FIRST WORDS® Project.


If you have concerns about your child, you may contact your pediatrician or consider an outside evaluation or assessment.


  • The Yale Child Study Center also conducts studies in the field of autism. They are currently recruiting for infants under the age of 6 months and for toddlers from 12-24 months who may or may not show signs of developmental delays. There are many benefits to participation that include guidance and recommendations for early intervention if there is a concern. Please contact Evelyn Pomichter at (203) 764-5933 for questions or to participate.
After Diagnosis

Learning that your child has Autism can feel overwhelming. Autism Speaks has created a kit to assist families in getting the critical information they need in the first 100 days after a diagnosis. Click here for your free kit.

About Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

What is it?

The Center for Autism and Related Disorders defines Behavior Analysis as the scientific study of behavior. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the application of the principles of learning and motivation from Behavior Analysis, and the procedures and technology derived from those principles, to the solution of problems of social significance. Many decades of research have validated treatments based on ABA.


Over the past 40 years, several thousand published research studies have documented the effectiveness of ABA. Autism Speaks has more information and has compiled research on the effectiveness of ABA here.

Grants and Funding

Prism maintains a list of resources for funding assistance. Please call (860)495-0126 for more information.