Understanding the Needs and Motivations of Autistic Social Communication

In this self-paced continuing education course, Autistic SLPs Rachel Dorsey and V. Tisi teach you a concrete system to guide clinical reasoning for Autistic social communication that centers authenticity and acceptance while considering the real demands and nuance of our clinical practices and an Autistic child’s daily life. 

This course is registered for .575 AOTA CEUS (5.75 contact hours) and .55 ASHA CEUs. We also plan to apply for ASWB CEUs. 

Continuing Education
from Learn Play Thrive

Traditional social skills training harms Autistic clients,
but there's a better way

MODULE 1: Autistic Social Norms (38 minutes)

Here’s what we know: authentic social communication is too complex to be made into a curriculum. But here’s what we also know: you want to support your Autistic clients’ well-being, and that includes proactively addressing their social needs and thoughtfully responding to difficult social communication situations as they arise in your sessions and in your Autistic clients’ life.  The research is in: asking Autistic people to preform neurotypical social skills hurts their mental health. It’s time to do something completely different.

In this module, Autistic SLPs Rachel Dorsey and V. Tisi guide you through understanding Autistic social communication and identifying socioemotional distress, so you can confidently observe your clients through a neurodiversity-affirming lens in the most challenging moments of their lives. 

MODULE 2: Introduction to the UNMASC Process (30 minutes)

The UNMASC method provides a flexible, thoughtful framework to allow you to look beyond observable behavior and deeply consider your Autistic clients’ experiences, motivations, and needs. You’ll learn five guiding questions for clinical self-reflection during situations when Autistic students are exhibiting behaviors deemed:
– Unconventional
– Intense in emotion
– Potentially dangerous
– Offensive to others
– Otherwise labeled “problematic” or “challenging”

These questions will transform how you plan your work to support your Autistic clients. 

MODULES 3 - 6 Case Studies (4 hours 37 minutes)

In these modules, you’ll get to listen in as your instructors talk through the four intricate case studies. These cases include true-to-life factors such as young clients who are struggling with acceptance and belonging, teens who are reluctant to trust professionals after a series of harmful experiences, and parents who want traditional social skills training.  The case studies consider romance, dating, sexual assault, cultural issues, and intersectional considerations.

You’ll explore what it means if a child’s behaviors make others uncomfortable. Who needs to change? What should the clinician do? Where do we draw the line? 

Your instructors take you deep into the nuance of Autistic social communication, from communicating through scripts, to connecting over interests, to craving a feeling of belonging in a world designed for neurotypicals. 

You’ll walk away with your passion to support authentic connection in all contexts reinvigorated, and with a concrete framework to help you actualize that desire.



This course is
not another social
skills curriculum

Humans are complex, and Autistic people are not a monolith. Supporting authentic participation doesn’t mean teaching a prescribed set of skills. It means becoming curious about the culture of being Autistic, learning deeply about your clients, and developing strategies that truly support them.  In this course, Rachel and V. teach you just how to do that.


$324 for 5.75 recorded hours packed full of actionable content. We also offer payment breakdown to 3 payments of $108. 


This course is entirely self-paced. You’ll have access for 6 months to complete on your own time.

Continuing Education

This course is registered for .575 AOTA CEUs (5.75 contact hours) &  .55 ASHA CEUs (note that ASHA rounds down to the half hour). We plan to apply for ASWB CEUs as well.


Information about completion requirements, accommodations, and more can be found in the FAQs.

Let's UNMASC is
for you if…

You are an SLP, OT, or mental health practitioner working with autistic children or adolescents in any setting

You want to deeply understand their social-emotional needs, rather than focusing on their external behaviors

You want a course that doesn't gloss over intersectional identities (like race, class, and gender) but rather seeks to understand and brainstorm how we can deliver culturally responsive care.

You want a CE course that acknowledges the real barriers presented by life circumstances and clinical demands so that you can feel confident at applying your learning to any scenario

You want to learn about Autistic social communication from Autistic professionals, because Autistic people are the real experts on Autism

Meet your


V Tisi, M.A., CCC-SLP

Speech Language Pathologist (/vi tisɨ/, they/she)

Rachel Dorsey

Speech Language Pathologist (she/her)

Please note: disclosure statements are contained in the Bio page for each speaker. Click on "READ BIO" above to review the disclosures.

This course will leave you
eager to be part of a true paradigm shift
in the therapy world


Full Course Objectives

• Upon completion of this course, learners will differentiate between indicators that an Autistic client’s social communication behavior could or couldn’t lead to a dangerous situation.

• Upon completion of this course, learners will analyze possible motivations behind an Autistic client’s social communication behavior.

• Upon completion of this course, learners will generate at least two ideas to aide an Autistic client during times of socioemotional distress.

• Upon completion of this course, learners will generate at least two ideas to aide an Autistic client with the intention of preventing socioemotional distress.

Frequently Asked Questions

This course is developed for SLPs, OTs, and mental health professionals supporting Autistic children or adolescents in any context. 

The concepts in this course are useful for any age. The case studies focus on individuals aged 6 through 16.

This course includes video lectures, slides, and case studies.

This course is registered for .575 AOTA CEUs (5.75 contact hours) and  .55 ASHA CEUs. ASHA does not count quarter hours. 

Yes! The course is self-paced and you have six months to complete it on your own time. If you buy during pre-registration, you’ll have one year to complete the course.

Yes! If 3 or more people from your company plan to enroll email me the names of everyone enrolling at admin@learnplaythrive.com and I’ll provide a coupon code. It’s 15% for 3 registrants, 20% off for 4 or more, and 30% off for 7 or more. This discount does not apply during pre-registration unless your group discount is larger than the current pre-sale discount.

We offer full scholarships to therapists from under-resourced countries.

In order to get a certificate of completion, you must watch all of the video modules and pass a quiz at the end of the course with 75% accuracy. Multiple attempts at the quiz are allowed. You must also complete a coruse satisfaction survey. Only learners who complete the course, quiz , and survey will receive a certificate.

You will have 6 months access to the course.

Full refunds are provided within 30 days of purchase (or for pre-sale, 30 days after the course launches) if no more than 3 modules have been completed. Email meg@learnplaythrive.com to request a refund. Since this is a self-paced course, there is no option to cancel once the 30 day / 3 module limit has been exceeded. If for any reason the course is canceled by the provider before your registration period has expired, you will receive a full refund.

All videos used in this presentation have closed captions. If you need additional accommodations, please email admin@learnplaythrive.com prior to your training date. Accommodations will be made to support all learners in compliance with the Americans with Disability Act. 

You can send an email to admin@learnplaythrive.com

Our courses are hosted on Thinkific. You will need one of the two latest versions of a supported browser to access the course. (Note: Internet Explorer is not supported).


  1. Chrome

  2. Firefox

  3. Safari

  4. Microsoft Edge


  1. iOS Safari

  2. Chrome

  3. Samsung Internet

In order to ensure that Thinkific runs well, you will need:

  1. The most recent version of one of the web browsers listed above

  2. Javascript enabled

  3. PDF plugin

  4. Graphic and audio output capability

  5. Broadband internet connection with a minimum speed of 5Mbps (recommended)

  6. TLS 1.2 supported by your web browser

This information was adapted from: https://support.thinkific.com/hc/en-us/articles/360030354954-System-Requirements-and-Supported-Browsers

Let's UNMASC is not your average CE course!

Group Discounts

We are happy to offer a discount for your group! Email your list of participants to admin@learnplaythrive.com to receive a coupon code. Please note that this does not stack with the pre-sale discount but we can offer the group discount if it is higher than the pre-sale discount.

• 3 participants: 15% off
• 4+ participants: 20% off
• 7+ participants: 30% off
• 50+ participants: please inquire

Learn from Autistic instructors

Social communication is nuanced. And Autistic social communication is nearly always misunderstood by professionals.

Here's what we know: Autistic adults are the ones who understand Autistic social communication.

In this course, you learn from two instructors who have both studied and lived authentic, Autistic social communication.

30 Day Money Back Guarantee

We think you’ll love it. But take 30 days to complete up to three modules. If it’s not what you’d hoped, you get your money back.



Traditional social skills training leads to poor mental health, but often it’s hard to know what to do instead.

With Let’s UNMASC, you’ll have a concrete process that guides you to proactively address your clients’ social needs and thoughtfully respond to difficult social communication situations

This course be available for ASHA CEUs starting July 6th, 2023 until July 5th, 2028 at which point Learn Play Thrive will apply for re-registration.

The assignment of AOTA CEUs does not imply endorsement of specific course content, products, or clinical procedures by AOTA.
ASHA CE Provider approval and use of the Brand Block does not imply endorsement of course content, specific products or clinical procedures.
The recorded materials in this course were last updated on 6/13/2023.