Autism Specialist

  • Credits: 36
  • Degree:
    Master 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.

Program Chair

Mary L. Garrity
mary.garrity@cambridgecollege.edu

 

Curriculum


Professional Seminar and Project
9
Credits
Professional Seminar I: ASD
ESP 691S 2 credit(s)
Professional Seminar II: ASD
ESP 692S 2 credit(s)
Professional Seminar lll: ASD
ESP 693S 2 credit(s)
Independent Learning Project: Special Education
ESP 800 3 credit(s)
The Independent Learning Project is a culminating learning experience that helps educators integrate their personal and formal learning and their professional experiences into a meaningful whole. It reflects the general guidelines for teachers of students with moderate dis- abilities and articulates the individual’s educational and administrative philosophy. The project is research and action-based, on a focused topic chosen by the educator, within the area of licensure. It engages educators in sustained research into educational practice and cur- riculum development; parts of the project may be implemented during the practicum.
Autism and Special Education Courses
27
Credits
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, and physical development. Piaget’s theory of cognitive development is examined along with more recent investigations and adaptations. Theories of the role of context (physical, social and cultural impacts on development) are compared. The course also investigates the impact of developmental theories on the education of children with disabilities. Formulation of developmentally appropriate Individual Educational Programs is discussed. Pre-practicum hours of directed field-based training required.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)? Educators in this course examine assistive technologies and the federal laws affecting the education of students and children with disabilities. They look at assistive technologies addressing seating and positioning, access to the technology, augmentative and alternative communication (low-tech and high-tech). Educators will also look at curriculum modifications using technology, and software that addresses these modifications and individual learning styles. They will have a comprehensive understanding of the various augmentative and alternative communications (AAC) methodologies, including the appropriate use of aids and devises.
Laws and Regulations Pertaining to Special Education
ESP 695 3 credit(s)
This course will review 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 will discuss 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. An additional emphasis in this course will be on students with a diagnosis of Autism and the process for developing IEP’s for these students in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE), using theories and strategies for including students in general education classrooms. Special attention shall be paid to the particular state legislation governing special education. Pre-practicum hours of directed field-based training required.

Core Faculty

Senior Instructor

Pages

Admissions

  • Admission Test:

    Passing grade on TOEFL (English language proficiency test) is required for international students.

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

General Requirements

Official Transcript
Two Completed Recommendation Forms
Current Résumé

Personal Statement

Learn more about General Requirements 

State Requirements

College students are required to comply with state laws regarding individual health insurance and immunization. Compliance requirements currently exist for students in Massachusetts, Virginia and Tennessee. Learn more

International Students – Additional Requirements

International Students will need to complete supplemental documentation when applying. International transcripts must also be translated prior to submission in order to be evaluated for applicability. Learn more about international student requirements.

Transfer Credit Request Form

Only needed if you wish to have prior course work evaluated for transfer credit. Learn more about transferring credits.

 

Tuition

  • Credits:
    36
  • Cost per credit hour:
    $475
  • Application Fee:
    $50, nonrefundable ($100 for international students; $100 for EdD)
  • Graduation Fee:
    $110 (charged in last term)
  • Health Insurance Fee:
    $1,296 - Required for Massachusetts students only. See waiver details on Tuition & Fees page.

Note: Rates are as of September 2013, 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

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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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