Program Details

This certificate enables those in the field to increase their knowledge and understanding of students with a disability in the autism spectrum, including those with Asperger Syndrome. As a student, you will become engaged in the practice of assessing, planning and implementing programming for this population. A course sequence has been developed to provide solid practice recommendations for this quickly growing need in the area of special education. Planning for the certificate programs has been based on competencies compiled by a committee of Virginia-statewide stakeholders with a variety of backgrounds and perspectives and the Graduate Level Autism Certificate Program is now recognized by the Virginia Autism Council (VAC). Upon completion of the program, you will have the knowledge to:

  • Create curriculum based on current research in the field of autism and coursework focused on applied theory, ethics, and professionalism in both the general education and special education settings.
  • Identify common characteristics associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders in young children and adults.
  • Focus on the skills relevant to designing materials for effective communication with professionals, parents, and caregivers for children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
  • Modify strategies for multiple environments to meet the needs of the autistic community.
  • Recommend behavioral strategies that will help maintain positive environments.

Undergraduate-Level Certificate

This sequence does not include practicum work. The undergraduate certificate is best suited for those without direct responsibility or exposure to individuals with Autism and those who do not hold an undergraduate degree but have a desire to increase their understanding of this population (9 credit hours of study). The following three courses make up the undergraduate certificate:

  • EXED 416: Overview and Assessment of Autism Disorders - Fall, Block 1
  • EXED 417: Communication, Language and Sensory Issues in ASD - Fall, Block 2
    Pre-requisite is EXED 416
  • EXED 418: PBS, FBA, and BIP - Spring, Block 1
    Pre-requisites are EXED 416 & 417

Graduate-Level Certificate

This sequence was developed to give an in-depth study of the characteristics, assessment, and provision of services for those with Autism. Students complete three courses and a practicum designed to put into practice the skills learned during coursework. This program is best suited for those responsible for the direct services, assessment, and planning for those with a disability on the spectrum (11 credit hours of study). The Graduate Level Autism Certificate Program is now recognized by the Virginia Autism Council (VAC). The following four courses make up the graduate certificate:

  • EXED 506: Overview and Assessment of Autism Disorders - Fall, Block 1
  • EXED 602: Communication, Language and Sensory issues in ASD - Fall, Block 2
  • EXED 603: PBS, FBA, and BIP - Spring, Block 1
  • EXED 604: Practical Experience in Autism

Field experiences provide students with the opportunity to learn and practice skills in working with learners with Autism, and their families, in a variety of educational settings, across a variety of abilities, grade levels and demographics.

Certificate Program Coursework

The coursework for both the Graduate and Undergraduate certificates includes:

  • Early childhood characteristics
  • Issues and programming
  • Initial evaluation
  • Transition
  • Adult needs
  • Programming and life planning
  • Learning
  • Communication
  • Behavioral issues
  • Sensory motor components
  • Related service needs
  • Related and co-morbid medical conditions
  • Social skills and support
  • Peer network development and support

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