Autism: A Broad Spectrum

Rebekah Cummings
Day/Time Taught: 
TR 11:00 am - 12:15 pm
Course Number: 

In this course, students will explore the question "What is autism?" in depth. Students will examine a variety of perspectives on the autism spectrum, including autism as disease/illness, autism as something to rehabilitate, and autism as part of human neurodiversity. Students will delve deeply into the lived experiences of those on the autism spectrum and their families through written, audio-visual, and in-person narratives. Further, students become familiar with the diagnostic criteria along with current research about and a variety of intervention strategies being used for autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Students also explore the portrayal of autism in popular media. By the end of this class, students will have gained a deeper understanding of the complexity of the autism spectrum and the systems that surround this condition. 

Instructor Bio: 

Dr. Rebekah Cummings is most at home in nature and especially loves listening to babbling brooks and river rapids. As an educator, Rebekah mentors and guides students as they engage with the learning process. She supports students in not only demonstrating what they have learned but also in articulating what they think about what they’ve learned. In addition to First Year Seminars on Autism and on the Image of the Child, Rebekah has taught courses in child development, family stress and resiliency, and early childhood education at both ASU and Virginia Tech. Rebekah is a support parent for Parent to Parent Family Support Network – High Country and facilitates High Country Families on the Spectrum. In both capacities, she provides information and support to parents of children on the Autism Spectrum and in the broader autism phenotype (i.e., Sensory Processing Disorder, ADD/ADHD). Rebekah also serves on the Innovative Approaches steering committee which focuses on making positive, long-lasting change for children, youth, and families with special healthcare needs. She presents locally and regionally with a focus on understanding and respecting sensory-processing differences and supporting transitions for those on the Spectrum. She is a Certified Family Life Educator and holds a Ph.D. in Human Development.

Rebekah served as director of Lucy Brock Child Development Lab Program here at ASU and was a preschool teacher at Berea College and Virginia Tech.  Her grounding in the Reggio Emilia Approach, her time as an Extension Agent for 4-H/Youth Development, parenting her own son, and serving as an academic coach leads her to believe that every child - indeed every person - is capable, competent, and inquisitive. Through these experiences, Rebekah has learned that interests, skills, and needs are individual; therefore to truly reach someone, you must learn to "speak" their language - a language unique to that person.

Contact FYS

The First Year Seminar is part of the General Education Program located in Anne Belk Hall, Room 250.

Phone: 828-262-2028

Our mailing address:
First Year Seminar
ASU Box 32065
Appalachian State University
Boone, NC 28608

Director of First Year Seminar:
Rick Klima

QEP Global Learning