There is no known method of detection or cure for autism, and it is the fastest growing serious developmental disability in the United States. For this reason, educators and those who work with children often find that they must supervise or otherwise interact with autistic children without having adequate preparation or training in dealing with this illness. Because it is so prevalent and growing so fast -- in fact one in every 110 children suffers from it -- many educational institutions and nonprofit organizations offer free online training in methods to work with the autistic community.

Research local colleges and universities in your area. Many colleges and universities have received funding to provide autism training courses to educators and the general public. For example, the University of Missouri in Colombia is home to the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, which offers a wide variety of educational and training programs, including free online autism training. To take the course, you must register with the University of Missouri extension program and fill out the online application on the Web site.

Contact your state government. Many state governments have stepped up to the plate in terms of offering free online autism training courses to those who are on the front lines of dealing with this difficult disorder. The Virginia Autism Council, for example, which is funded by the state, offers a variety of training programs for those who work or live with autistic or developmentally disabled individuals, including free online training. Visit their Web site for a complete list of courses and registration information.

Get in touch with an autism related non-profit organization. Several non-profit organizations are dedicated to educating the general public about autism and provide the materials for free online training courses to institutions and individuals alike. The Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence, for example, runs a program called Autism Internet Modules that offers specialized training courses in many of the different areas related to autistic individuals, including assessment, intervention and self-management. Courses are free of charge and available to the general public.

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About the Author

Based in San Francisco, Ocean Malandra is a travel writer, author and documentary filmmaker. He runs a major San Francisco travel website, is widely published in both online and print publications and has contributed to several travel guidebooks to South America.