Help for Adults who are on the Autism Spectrum

I am trying to help an organization that serves adults who are on the autism spectrum. I was wondering if anyone can help me with the following:

Contacts for programs that have adult literacy/numeracy/high school equivalency classes for those who have disabilities

Examples of teaching materials/resources that might be useful when working with adults who have disabilities who want to improve their academic skills.

Examples of gamification software that teach academic skills, even if they are a bit childlike in nature.


Daphne Greenberg

Georgia State University


Hi, Daphne -

Thanks for sharing your request with our group.  I wonder if you can tell us a little more about the learner population you are working with here.  You say that they are 'adults who are on the autism spectrum.'  The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, or DSM-5, describes criteria for three distinct categories of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). 

Severity levels are measured based on level of support needed:

  1. Level 1 - requiring support - Mild
  2. Level 2 - requiring substantial support - Moderate
  3. Level 3 - requiring very substantial support - Severe

Do you have learners at one end of the spectrum, in the middle, or a mix?  The types of educational resources would vary depending on the unique strengths and needs of these individuals.   Hopefully, with a better picture of the population of learners and their academic and career goals, we can offer some targeted suggestions.

Thanks again for your questions, Daphne.




Thanks for your question. You are absolutely correct-people on the spectrum have varied strengths and weaknesses, especially in the levels of support needed. The organization works with all levels and would appreciate any information regarding any resources for any of these levels. Most of their students who they are trying to help in the area of academic skills are between severity levels 1 and 2, but they have some at level 1 (they are working towards their high school equivalency) and a very few at level 3 (for example, one person is completely nonverbal and for the most part noncommunicative but has some basic academic skills that can be built upon). Any resources that are known to be effective with adults who have autism who want to learn academic skills, whether they are functional academic skills, high school equivalency skills or somewhere in between would be very helpful. And if there are adult literacy programs that have special classes for adults with developmental disabilities, it would be great to know where they are, so that the organization could reach out to them.

Hopefully this helps!


Hi, Daphne -

Thanks for your response.  It sounds like this program is working to meet a broad diversity of learner needs.  Where is the program located? I wonder if we can locate some local or regional programs and resources for them to connect with each other.  On a national scale, here are a few that come to mind.  These are by no means exhaustive and I'd welcome hearing from members about others.

National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Includes 28 Evidence Based Practices and 10 interventions. Each module provides an overview and general description, step-by-step instructions of implementation, an implementation checklist, and the evidence-base.

The Autism Training and Technical Assistance Project

  • The advocacy section contains resources related to self-advocacy skills.  The FAQ section contains documents designed to answer questions you may have about a variety of topics ranging from what to expect in college or the workforce to how to navigate difficult social interactions.  The resources section will direct you to other organizations that you may find helpful.  The self-assessment section contains material that will assist you in assessing your own abilities and goals.

The Asperger/Autism Network

  • The adult services team is committed to making sure that you have access to information that will help you to understand yourself, access supports, and connect with others with Asperger profiles.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

  • Coordinates all efforts within HHS concerning autism spectrum disorder to combat autism through research, screening, intervention, and education.


I really appreciate your desire to try to help! I thank you for these resources. This organization is very knowledgeable about how to approach behavioral needs of their clients, they are "experts" in terms of autism. They are seeking help in any resources regarding teaching adults who have autism (or on the "spectrum) academic skills. The focus of the help that they are seeking is actual resources on teaching specific academic content, not on autism in general. They are located in NY, but their location doesn't really matter, anyone who responds from any area of the country who has knowledge of possible materials/resources would be helpful!

As an fyi, here is a list of stuff that I have collected so far, that may or may not be helpful to others on this list: :

MICC is a 501(c)3 nonprofit vocational and life skills training program for young adults with learning differences and autism spectrum disorders (ASD).  MICC helps students make successful transitions towards independent living and financial self-sufficiency. Using MICC Curriculum, students learn in their own apartments, at the grocery store, in the workplace, at restaurants, and on public transportation—any practical environment where life skills are needed. They serve students between the ages of 18-26 years old at start of the program.  Located in Richfield, Minnesota.


Examples of possible resources include:

Lindamood-Bell, Slingerland, Orton-Gillingham

Reading Rockets series

Model Me (Fractions)

The Language Express

Hi, Daphne -

I'm getting a better sense of what this organization may be looking for as far as academic supports.  Again, since learners on the spectrum can have very different intellectual profiles, a lot depends on the individual cognitive development of the learner.   In addition to the resources you've found, they might want to check out the Autism Circuit's teaching tools and resources:

I'd also suggest the LINCS Learning to Achieve professional development resource, which offers a wealth of ideas and resources for teaching adult with learning and cognitive disabilities. 

You also might want to encourage them to check out the New York State Department of Education's Approved Providers of Coursework/Training in the Needs of Students with Autism: to connect with local universities and other programs working to educate adults on the spectrum.

I hope they find your suggestions useful and that you'll share any successes (or continued challenges) they may have with find the right resources.