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760 Red Oak Lane
Highland Park, Illinois 60035-3899
Call Us: 1.847.831.5100 | Fax Us: 1.847.868.9580
Email Us: info@nssed.org

Autism Professional Development and Resources
Workshops  |  Coaching and Consultation Networking

“If you have met one person with autism, then you have met one person with autism”.
~Steven Shore

If you have ever had the wonderful experience of working with a child with autism then you know how true this can be. We know that each of our students with Autism Spectrum Disorder has a wealth of unique strengths and learning abilities. We also know that this can also present some challenges when supporting our children with autism in our classrooms, at home and in the community. Well, we are here to help.


Welcome to NSSED’s Autism Page. We are dedicated to improving the lives of our students with Autism Spectrum Disorder by providing support to our schools, our parents and families and establishing partnerships with our local community organizations and agencies. We strive to build a community of collaboration, acceptance and respect for persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder. We hope that our Autism web page will become a virtual home for all of our dedicated teachers, support staff and administrators and we hope it will also serve as a second home for the wonderful families we serve.

What is Autism?

Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders known as Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD). The other pervasive developmental disorders are PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified), Asperger Syndrome, Rett Syndrome and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder. Many parents and professionals refer to this group as Autism Spectrum Disorders. Autism manifests itself differently in each individual with ASD, varying in severity and symptoms. Autism can impact a child’s ability to communicate and understand language, engage in social experiences and integrate sensory information.  While there are often common behaviors across the autism spectrum, there is no one single specific behavior that is always typical of an individual with ASD.

Today, it is estimated that one in every 110 children is diagnosed with autism, making it more common than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes and pediatric AIDS combined. An estimated 1.5 million individuals in the U.S. and tens of millions worldwide are affected by autism. Government statistics suggest the prevalence rate of autism is increasing 10-17 percent annually. There is not established explanation for this increase, although improved diagnosis and environmental influences are two reasons often considered. Studies suggest boys are more likely than girls to develop autism and receive the diagnosis three to four times more frequently. Current estimates are that in the United States alone, one out of 70 boys is diagnosed with autism.

What causes Autism?

The simple answer is we don't know. The vast majority of cases of autism are idiopathic, which means the cause is unknown.
The more complex answer is that just as there are different levels of severity and combinations of symptoms in autism, there are probably multiple causes. The best scientific evidence available to us today points toward a potential for various combinations of factors causing autism – multiple genetic components that may cause autism on their own or possibly when combined with exposure to as yet undetermined environmental factors. Timing of exposure during the child's development (before, during or after birth) may also play a role in the development or final presentation of the disorder.

What can we do to help students with Autism Spectrum Disorder?

There is a growing body of research-based interventions and best practices to support children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the classroom, home and the community. NSSED can provide support for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders within our schools through our Autism Coaches, district Autism Networking opportunities, district professional development trainings and  through the Autism Task Force. For more information on any of these supports please feel free to browse our web page or contact…

NSSED Autism Coaches
NSSED Autism Coaches provide workshops, on-site training, technical support and coaching on researched-based interventions and best practices in order to support and empower school teams to improve outcomes for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. A collaborative team approach is used so we can maximize our student’s fullest potential regardless of the difficulties they may face in learning communication and language, academics, social-emotional skills and independence.

NSSED Coaches have expertise and experience in:
• Program Development
• Program Evaluation
• Accurate Individualized Assessment
• Implementation of researched-based curriculums, instruction, interventions and supports
• Data Collection and Analysis
• Successful Inclusion Planning


Coaching and Consultation


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