Resources for Parents

Here are Some Common Questions and Training Materials

If you are a parent or family member of a child recently diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, remember, we are here for you. As you take on the new role of advocate for your child, we hope this guide may assist in your journey to seek out information on behalf of your child.

What is Autism?

Autism is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder defined by marked difficulties in social interaction and acquisition of appropriate social communication skills (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). While children vary greatly in the extent to which they exhibit the symptoms associated with autism, nearly all children with autism will require intervention to support the development of social communicative behaviors. The terms “Autism” and “Autism Spectrum Disorder” have become widely used interchangeably to reference a group of complex disorders of brain development. Additionally, there may be an intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination and attention, and/or physical health issues including sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances. Each child affected by autism experiences the disorder in varying degrees of the different areas.  To learn more about autism visit the Autism Speaks website.

What are the Symptoms of Autism?

Children with autism generally have difficulties in three crucial areas of development- social interaction, language, and behavior. However, because autism symptoms and degree of impact vary greatly, two children with the same diagnoses may act quite differently and have strikingly different skills.  To learn more about autism symptoms visit

What is ABA and Its Benefits?

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a scientific, systematic and evidence-based approach to understanding and changing behavior. Jump to this page for more information.


How Does One Become a Credentialed BCBA or BCaBA?

The Behavior Analyst Certification Board®, Inc. (BACB®) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation established in 1998 to meet professional credentialing needs identified by behavior analysts, governments, and consumers of behavior analysis services. The BACB adheres to international standards for boards that grant professional credentials. Refer to the BACB website for more information.

What is the ATN/AIR-P Parent's Guide to Applied Behavior Analysis?

The ATN/AIR-P Parent's Guide to Applied Behavior Analysis is an informational guide to  designed to provide parents and family members a better understanding of ABA. Anyone can download this guide for free from Autism Speaks.

"These materials are the product of on-going activities of the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network, a funded program of Autism Speaks. It is supported by cooperative agreement UA3 MC 11054 through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Research Program to the Massachusetts General Hospital. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the MCHB, HRSA, HHS, or Autism Speaks."

What is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)?

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5®) is used by clinicians and researchers to diagnose and classify mental disorders. The manual is offered for purchase through the American Psychiatric Association.  

The APA also provides this topic page for Patients and Families, What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder? with additional information.

Need More Resources?

Listed below are more links to resources for use in your research and understanding of the Autism Spectrum Disorder.  If you are having trouble finding a specific solution or source, please feel free to contact us.  We'll try to help.