Graduate Certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorder

New findings indicate that autism affects an average of one in 68 children in the United States. Characterized by a wide range of symptoms that affect an individual's behaviors and interests, social interaction and communication, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is gaining increasing prominence as numbers of those affected appear to be growing rapidly.

The four courses in this specialized graduate certificate will give you knowledge and skills needed to critically analyze ASD through a family-centered and community-based perspective. It is designed for students who are professionals in education, human services, or related service disciplines, as well as families and individuals affected by ASD.

The 12-credit graduate certificate focuses on the issues surrounding ASD from multiple disciplines, including social work, special education, and health-related fields. You will explore current evidence-based practices to improve the quality of experiences of individuals with ASD and their families across their lifespan and within multiple settings (home, school, healthcare settings, and work). For example, the strengths-based, or competency-based approach is one of many research-supported practices that you will take into account as you learn how to assist individuals with ASD in developing skills in self-determination, social interaction, and communication.

This program is approved to advance (when all other state requirements are met) an initial license in the following fields: Elementary (1-6), Early Childhood Teacher of Students with or without Disabilities (PreK-2), or Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities (PreK-8).

Autism Certificate Requirements

Applicants to the program must hold a bachelor's or master's degree. Those holding an undergraduate degree in a field not related to psychology, social work, education, or special education, must seek advance permission from the program coordinator.

The program includes the following courses, which emphasize culturally relevant, strengths-based, and evidence-informed approaches:

AUT510 Fundamentals of Autism
Employs cross-disciplinary perspective to address issues of evaluation, research, policy, and advocacy related to individuals with autism and families across the lifespan in home, school, and communities. Study empirical literature regarding the diagnostic criteria, biological and genetic influences, and an overview of evidence-based practice as treatment for autism.

AUT520 Autism: Intervention and Supports
Reviews effective evidence-based practices for individuals with autism, matches individuals' strengths and needs for practices. Emphasizes assessing, implementing and evaluating appropriate interventions and support for children with social and communication challenges. Underscores recognizing the diversity of individuals with autism and the importance of positive psychology in improving their quality of life and learning outcomes.

AUT530 Autism: Positive Behavior Supports
Examines effective practices for assessing and supporting challenging behavior for individuals with autism. Positive behavioral interventions and supports are emphasized and the functional behavioral assessment and analysis process will be covered in detail. There is a focus on prevention, the use of self-management techniques and teaching socially appropriate behavior.

AUT540 Autism: Social and Communication Skills
Explores social and communication issues for individuals with autism and the range of needs that align with their individual characteristics. Students will learn to observe skills and deficits and to conduct social and communication assessments. Students will develop techniques for understanding and working with individuals with autism and their families.

Why Wheelock?

Wheelock College has led the way in promoting best practices for working with children and families for more than 125 years. Wheelock is widely recognized for its outstanding early childhood education, social work, and human development and family studies programs. Faculty from these programs possess a wide range of expertise as well as a commitment to cross-disciplinary education and practice.

Credits earned through this certificate program may be applied to several master's degree programs at Wheelock.

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