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Autism Specialist

  • Credits:
    30-39
  • Degree:
    Master of Education
  • Program Approved:
    PR Council of Education

Program Description

Teachers in general education and special education today are working with more and more students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). This program answers the growing need for more understanding and better preparation for those working with students with severe disabilities. It is designed for experienced teachers and para-professionals, to enhance their working knowledge of the field. It also provides for exploration of new opportunities afforded with this knowledge.

This is not a licensure program and does not lead to BACB certification.

 

Learning Outcomes

Graduates will demonstrate knowledge and understanding of autism, behavioral issues and severe special needs

Careers

This program will enhance the skills and understanding of:

  • Experienced special educators wanting more information to better serve the needs of this growing population.
  • General educators who wish to work more effectively in their inclusion classes.
  • Para-professionals currently working with students with severe disabilities, to gain a better understanding of the autistic needs and behavioral issues of the students they serve.
  • Anyone wanting to know more about this growing field.

 

For more information, please contact Admissions at 1-800-829-4723.

 

Curriculum

This program is 39 credits for those who do not have a Special Education teacher certification from the DEPR and who desire recertification as Autism Teacher. 

It is 30 credits for those who have Special Education teacher certification from the DEPR, or who do not aim to be recertified.


Courses for Autism
30
Credits
Autism: History, Prevalence, Diagnosis and Characteristics
ESP 610 3 credit(s)
This course examines current research and theoretical models that focus on typical and atypical development of children. Emphasis is on understanding the child with autism in terms of psychological, intellectual, social, and physical development. The historical problem of biological versus psychological causation of autism will be examined along with trends in autism research that continue to this day. This course will focus on autism as a neurological developmental disorder characterized by an impairment in social interaction, communication skills, and in behavior. Autism is acknowledged as a "spectrum" disorder meaning that children with autism may range from extremely low cognitively to highly intelligent with little or no language to communicate to being highly verbal. The cause(s) of autism is not known at this time, with 9 out of 10, for whom the cause is idiopathic. Autism Spectrum Disorder is the fastest growing developmental disability with 1 in 150 children now being diagnosed with autism. It is more common than Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, and Childhood cancers combined.
Laws and Regulations Pertaining to Special Education
ESP 695 3 credit(s)
This course reviews all special education laws (IDEIA, 2004, and specific regulations such as 34 C.F.R. 300; 603 CMR 28:00) regarding the pre-referral and referral of a student, and the development of an Individual Education Plan (IEP). Additionally, the course examines the relevance of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA, 1990), the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), as well as the procedures for Special Education Appeals relating to public schools’ obligations to provide Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) for students with disabilities. Additional emphasis is placed on students with a diagnosis of Autism and developing IEPs for these students in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE), using theories and strategies for including students in general education classrooms. Special attention is paid to legislation governing special education. Pre-practicum hours of directed field-based training required.
Assessment and Appraisal Process -ASD
ESP 621 3 credit(s)
Effective instruction is difficult to implement in the absence of effective assessment and appraisal data. The goal of this course is to introduce candidates to several educational and functional assessments that are frequently used to establish skill strengths and deficits in children with autism spectrum disorders and diagnoses with similar characteristics. Such tools as the Psycho-educational Profile, 3rd edition (PEP-111), Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills Revised (ABLLS-R), and the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales, classroom edition, will be reviewed and interpreted. Along with an emphasis on these assessments, this course will stress considerations of student specific goals including variables such as, needs in the home setting, activities of daily living, vocational training, and an independent and self determined adult life.
Theories of Typical and Atypical Human Development
ESP 689 3 credit(s)
This course examines current research and theoretical models that focus on typical and atypical development of children. Emphasis is on understanding children's psychological, intellectual, physical and socio-emotional development. Piaget's theory of cognitive development is examined along with recent investigations and adaptations. Theories of the role of context (physical, social and cultural impacts on development) are compared. The impact of developmental theories on the education of children with disabilities is examined. Formulation of a developmentally appropriate Individual educational Plan is required. Pre-practicum hours required.
Communication Disorders - ASD
ESP 616 3 credit(s)
Communication-based disabilities are a diagnosing criteria of Autism spectrum disorders, diagnoses with similar characteristics, and are commonly seen in severe levels of developmental delay. Not only do communication difficulties greatly impact life-long educational, social, and vocational opportunities, they are closely associated with the presence of challenging behaviors such as aggression and self-injury. Following a review of typical and atypical language development, physiological, environmental, and psychological theories of language development will be presented. This course will examine criterion-based and peer-normed communication assessments, effective language-based teaching strategies for children with severe disabilities, and alternative communication forms such as picture exchange communication system, sign language, and other non-vocal communication systems. In addition, students will be introduced to the following: Provision of family-centered services; impact of culture on work with individuals with disabilities and their families; and recommended practices/framework for assessment and facilitation of communication for individuals with ASD.
Social and Psychological Perspectives in Autism Spectrum Disorders
ESP 630 3 credit(s)
Social deficits are one of the defining characteristics of autism, including Asperger’s syndrome, and most are almost always associated with other autism spectrum disorders and similar diagnoses. This course will introduce candidates to social skills intervention through a whole family approach focusing on both students with deficits associated with global delay as well as higher functioning students who demonstrate deficits primarily or exclusively in the area of social skills. This class will take into account the needs of not only the student, but also the siblings, parents, separated parents, extended family relationships, household economic needs, and culturally specific variables that make up the landscape of the dynamic American family.
Teaching and Curriculum Development/Students with Severe Disabilities
ESP 635 3 credit(s)
This course will emphasize diagnosis, assessment and best educational practices in teaching persons who are diagnosed with severe intellectual disabilities, multi handicaps and autism. A focus on legal provisions, regulations and program standards in unbiased assessment as well as work on specialized terminology used in assessment of this special population will be noted. A special focus on the Massachusetts Alternate Assessment preparation will be developed. Adaptive behavior scales will be discussed. Students will be apprised of the specialized policies regarding students with extensive disabilities concerning referral and placement procedures.
Assistive Technology: Modifying the Curriculum for Diverse Learners
ESP 615 3 credit(s)
How do we as educators implement the mandated requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act that calls for assistive technology to be considered in each Individualized Education Program (IEP)? Candidates examine assistive technologies and the federal laws impacting the education of students with disabilities and investigate assistive technologies addressing seating and positioning, access to the technology, augmentative and alternative communication (low-tech and high-tech). Candidates examine curriculum modifications using technology, and software that addresses these modifications and individual learning styles. The course provides a comprehensive understanding of the various augmentative and alternative communications (AAC) methodologies, including the appropriate use of aids and devices. Course assignments connect assistive technologies to classroom practice.
Behavior Management- ASD
ESP 625 3 credit(s)
Individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders and diagnoses with similar characteristics frequently manifest challenging behaviors that inhibit learning and access to many life long opportunities. This course will introduce students to the functional behavior assessment (FBA) process and intervention through the use of positive behavior intervention and support (PBIS). The dynamic intervention formats utilize the scientifically supported techniques of PBIS across a three tier level of need that includes school wide support, secondary support for at – risk students, and individual interventions. Individual interventions will be developed utilizing the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA). The course will emphasize the use of least restrictive, non-aversive, researched supported techniques that take into account a whole child perspective, intervention for teaching functional equivalent skill deficits, increasing appropriate behavior, and decreasing challenging behaviors.
Teaching Spanish Language Arts, Math, History and Science for K-12 Special Education Students
ESP 721R 3 credit(s)

Special education teachers learn to apply multiple intelligence and accelerated learning instructional strategies in teaching to the content area standards. Teachers get an overview of Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligence theory and its implications. They also experience Lozanov’s accelerated learning structures and translation to brain-based teaching. Teachers learn to select, evaluate, and use teaching and assessment differentiation strategies to meet the needs of special education students in regular education classrooms. They design multiple intelligence and accelerated learning lessons to engage students in acquiring specific knowledge and skills.

Additional Courses for Special Education
9
Credits

Only for those who aim to be recertified by the DEPR, who do not have a valid teacher certificate in special education.

Principles of Spanish Language Development Bridging Differences and Disorders
ESP 662R 3 credit(s)

Language acquisition is one of the most important domains within the sciences of the mind. Developments in cognitive neuroscience have made it evident that language has constant neural reorganization. Students develop an overview of the course of language development, biological foundations for language, the major linguistic systems individuals must acquire, and finally the methods of study for language development. Theories of first and second language acquisition and development are introduced. Candidates examine different theories of semantic development, phonological development, morphological development and syntax. Students come to understand the relationship between language acquisition, language impairment, and treatments of children with learning differences including dyslexia as well as other communicative disabilities are also discussed.

Teaching Numerical & Geometrical Structures for Special Education K-12 Students
ESP 602 3 credit(s)

This course is designed to cover the basic foundation of the mathematics curriculum in terms of its numerical and geometrics structures for special education students in Puerto Rico. Major topics include: number sense, numeration, estimation, mental math, modeling operations using concrete objects, geometry, spatial sense and measurement.
 

Pedagogy in Reading and Spanish Language Arts
ESP 681 3 credit(s)
The course is designed to develop a thorough understanding of the Fundamental principles of Spanish/Language Arts, focusing on the interrelationship of reading, writing, speaking, and listening. The course focuses on the student as learner, and the processes involved in content reading and literacy. There is a direct correlation between the growing social and cultural diversity in today's classrooms and the tie to information on literacy. Since high levels of literacy are expected in today's contemporary society, children and families need to expand literacy activities to provide a range of options available to them in work and life. Diagnostic tools and classroom techniques for assessing, decoding, encoding, comprehension, literacy, and fluency skills are explored, along with related theories and research, and developmentally appropriate practices. The language arts are incomplete without making connections to all parts of the curriculum. Children require dynamic role models to emulate so that they are apprenticed into literate behavior. A variety of reading programs are discussed and researched, including philosophy, teaching techniques and materials. Information on how to plan and implement instruction in content area classrooms is included. Frameworks are provided for teaching and learning subject matter and planning lessons.

Admissions

  • Admission Test:

    No standardized graduate school tests required for admission into non-licensure programs.

  • Admissions Office:
    1-800-829-4723
  • Application Form:
  • Application Fee:
    $50, nonrefundable ($100 for international students; $100 for EdD)

Program Requirements

  • Official transcript of earned bachelor's degree from regionally accredited institution of higher education.
  • Current resume
  • Personal statement
  • Two professional recommendations
  • Interview may be required

For more complete information, see School Requirements link below.

School Requirements

See Admissions Requirements for School of Education

 

State Health Requirements

The Massachusetts Health Department and Cambridge College require the following of students in Massachusetts:

Immunizations – All students in Massachusetts are required to get certain immunizations before you can register for your first term. See form

Health Insurance – In Massachusetts, undergraduate students taking nine or more credits/term and graduate students taking six or more credits/term must enroll in the College’s health insurance plan. Students who have insurance with comparable coverage may request a waiver. See information and enroll or waive.

International Students 

International students are accepted at Massachusetts location only, and need to provide supplemental documentation:

  • Official demonstration of English language proficiency
  • Supplemental documentation for issuance of I-20
  • International transcripts, evaluated by an accepted evaluation service

Transfer Credit

Graduate program applicants, please complete the transfer credit request form if you wish to have prior course work evaluated for transfer. Learn more.

Undergraduate program applicants, once you are accepted, your official transcripts are evaluated for transfer credit.

 

Tuition

  • Credits:
    30-39
  • Cost per credit hour:
    $318
  • Application Fee:
    $50, nonrefundable ($100 for international students; $100 for EdD)

Note: Rates are as of September 2018, and are subject to change without notice. Rates apply to all students, unless otherwise noted.

Financial Aid

Cambridge College offers financial aid to students in our degree programs who are enrolled at least half time. Undergraduate students must be enrolled in at least 6 credits each term. Graduate and doctoral students must be enrolled in at least 4 credits each term. Learn more

Grants, Scholarships and Loans

Cambridge College welcomes the opportunity to support your efforts to pay for college.  Federal, state and local resources in the form of grants, scholarships, loans and work-study, including Cambridge College Scholarships, are available to help defray the cost of tuition. Learn more

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