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Autism Specialist Certificate

  • Credits:
    18
  • Degree:
    Graduate Certificate

Program Description

Learn how to better support the growing numbers of K-12 school students with autism spectrum disorders. The Autism Specialist certificate provides an opportunity for teachers, administrators, and parents to gain knowledge and professional expertise related to autism, behavioral issues, and severe special needs. The coursework supplements training/licensure for those employed in substantially separate classrooms. It is also valuable for paraprofessionals working in special education classrooms.

Who Is the Autism Specialist Certificate Designed For?

  • Experienced special educators who want to better serve the needs of this growing population.
  • General educators who wish to work more effectively in their inclusion classes.
  • Paraprofessionals currently working with students with severe disabilities.
  • Parents and others who want to learn more about autism.

Cambridge College Autism Specialist Program Highlights

Whether you’re an experienced special educator, or just want to learn more about autistic needs and behavioral issues, becoming a certified autism specialist will enrich your career and give you the skills to provide a higher standard of care. The Autism Specialist program at Cambridge College offers a flexible, affordable option 

for working professionals who are ready to take the next step in their education.

  • Flexible class schedules. Choose from convenient day, evening/weekend intensive, and online classes designed to fit the needs of adult learners.
  • Opportunities for advanced study. Apply your coursework for this program to the Autism Specialist Master of Education degree if you choose to continue your graduate education in this field.
  • Experienced faculty. Work closely with accessible, dedicated faculty who bring extensive research and professional experience to the program.
  • Exceptional value. Save on tuition while receiving a world-class education at one of the most affordable four-year private nonprofit colleges in the United States.
  • Diverse experiences. Pursue your specialist in autism certificate with other adult learners from around the world at one of the most ethnically diverse colleges in the nation.

In 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) determined that approximately 1 in 59 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ASD is reported to occur in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups.

 

Autism Specialist Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the certificate program will demonstrate knowledge and understanding of autism, behavioral issues, and severe special needs, including:

  • Current research and theoretical models that focus on typical and atypical development of children.
  • Assessment and appraisal data used to establish skill strengths and deficits in children with autism spectrum disorders.
  • The functional behavior assessment (FBA) process and intervention through the use of positive behavior intervention and support (PBIS).
  • Communication assessments, language-based teaching strategies, and alternative communication forms for children with severe disabilities.

Autism Specialist Jobs

Autism spectrum disorder specialists work in a variety of educational settings as teachers, school therapists, and student aides. Regardless of your role, adding an autism specialist certification to your resume will help boost your earning potential and open new opportunities for career advancement.

In addition to providing specialized services and support for students who are diagnosed with autism, autism specialists may also conduct assessments to determine the severity of an individual’s disorder, write recommendations, and develop individualized care or education plans.

Autism Specialist Salary

Special education teachers and teachers who work with children with autism earn an average annual salary of about $60,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational therapists earn about $80,000 per year.

Example Autism Specialist Courses

This certificate program features courses such as:

  • Assessment and Appraisal Process – ASD
  • Social and Psychological Perspectives in Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Teaching and Curriculum Development/Students With Severe Disabilities

Download the Autism Specialist program sheet

Autism Specialist Scholarships and Financial Aid

You may qualify for grants, scholarships, loans, and other types of financial assistance to help pay for your autism specialist certification. Learn more about applying for financial aid at Cambridge College.

Many companies also offer tuition assistance programs that can help to pay for education. Find information about getting your company to help.

Related Programs at Cambridge College

If you’re still exploring degree options, you might be interested in learning more about these programs at Cambridge College:

Curriculum


18
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.
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.
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.

Core Faculty

Senior Instructor

Adjunct Instructor

Pages

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)

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:
    18
  • Cost per credit hour:
    $574
  • Application Fee:
    $50, nonrefundable ($100 for international students; $100 for EdD)
  • Health Insurance Fee:
    $3,415 - Required for Massachusetts students only. See waiver details on Tuition & Fees page.

Note: Rates are as of July 2019, 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

Getting Your Company to Help

Many companies have tuition assistance programs, designed to help their employees with their professional development. Learn more

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