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Autism Studies Concentration Curriculum and Course Descriptions

The Online Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Autism Studies consists of eight (8) courses in total; five (5) theoretical courses approved by the BACB (IHS 465, IHS 466, IHS 467, IHS 473 and IHS 474) and three Practicum (field experience) courses (IHS 480, IHS 481 and IHS 482) which are also approved by the BACB.

The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) has approved this course sequence as meeting the coursework and field experience requirement for taking the Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) Examination.

The Autism Studies concentration within the online BS degree in Professional and Liberal Studies of the same eight (8) courses as the Online Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Autism Studies described above.

Check out our interview with Dr. Michelle Rowe for in-depth information about this concentration. Learn about the value it has on your career and the impact it makes on the lives of those who have autism spectrum disorder.

Five (5) Theoretical Courses

IHS 465 Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorders
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), including Autism, Pervasive Developmental Disorder and Asperger's Syndrome, are common, are a result of a neurological disorder that affects the functioning of the brain, ASD impacts social interactions and communication skills. The types of ASD range in severity from very low functioning, associated with significant cognitive deficits and highly disruptive behaviors, to very high functioning, associated with highly gifted intelligence and "quirky" behaviors. This course introduces students to the neurology, symptoms, diagnostic criteria, causes, biomedical treatments and behavioral interventions, as well as to the impact on individuals with ASD, families, friends, school districts, the economy and society with regard to functioning, coping, prognosis and outcomes. IHS 465 is strongly recommended prior to or concurrently with all other courses for the Concentration in Autism Studies.

IHS 466 Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism Treatment
This course is designed to introduce the current research-based interventions in the field of autism, including applied behavior analysis (verbal behavior, discrete trial instruction, picture communication, Pivotal Response Training, Competent Learner Model), TEACCH and social skills. Students will gain a general understanding of applied behavior analysis principles and how they can be used across multiple environments (home, school, early intervention, clinics) to address the various social, behavioral and communication deficits of individuals with autism.

IHS 467 Social Skills Development in Autism
Social skills are learned behaviors that individuals need to successfully navigate social interactions and relationships. This course introduces students to a variety of approaches for assessing and improving the social skills of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. A variety of empirically validated methodologies will be discussed, including incidental teaching, video modeling, social stories and using textual cues. Students will learn to apply these methodologies to teach skills such as joint attention, greetings, conversations, social play, self-awareness, perspective-taking, critical thinking, developing friendships, and community and home success.

IHS 473 Advanced Principles of ABA
This course is designed to expand upon the previously learned concepts of behavior analysis and connect it to the practical world for teachers and educators. In this course, students will gain an understanding of how to use the principles and practices of applied behavioral management in the classroom. Classroom-based examples and practices firmly grounded in research will be discussed. This course will address identifying target behavior, collecting and graphing data, functional assessment, experimental design, arranging antecedents and consequences, generalizing behavior change, and the importance of ethical considerations in using applied behavior analysis in the classroom. Students will also have the opportunity to analyze classroom examples that show teachers using applied behavior analysis techniques in different settings. Prerequisites: IHS 465, IHS 466, and IHS 467.

IHS 474 Applications of ABA: Functional Analysis and Ethics
This course is designed to expand upon the previously learned concepts of behavior analysis and will present the student with information on observation, data collection, and data interpretation. Students will learn the methods for obtaining descriptive data and the procedures for conducting systematic manipulations. Functional assessments and analysis of individual behaviors will be a primary focus. Specific single subject experimental designs will be discussed. The ethical considerations inherent in behavioral assessment, treatment, and research will be reviewed. Prerequisites: IHS 465, IHS 466, IHS 467, and IHS 473.

Three (3) Practicum (Field Experience) Courses

To help you meet the Behavior Analyst Certification Board’s supervised experience requirements, Saint Joseph’s University offers the following fieldwork courses:

  • IHS 480: Practicum 1 (8 weeks) – 152 hours in the field (19 per week), 18 supervision hours
    • Weekly supervision hours – 1.125 hour online at SJU, 1.125 hour 1:1 in the field
  • IHS 481: Practicum 2 (8 weeks) – 152 hours in the field (19 per week), 18 supervision hours
    • Weekly supervision hours – 1.125 hour online at SJU, 1.125 hour 1:1 in the field
  • IHS 482: Practicum 3 (8 weeks) – 152 hours in the field (19 per week), 18 supervision hours
    • Weekly supervision hours – 1.125 hour online at SJU, 1.125 hour 1:1 in the field
Program BCBA Provided Time to Completion Surpervision Required Weekly Fieldwork Total Fieldwork Financial Aid Available
SJU Yes 1 year 54 hours 19 hours 510 hours Yes

IHS 480 Practicum (Field Work)
This course allows students to demonstrate behavior analytic skills in applied settings. In order to generalize information and techniques learned in previous courses, students will work with clients with autism at an approved practicum site. Activities will include skills assessment, program development, instruction, data collection, evaluation of results, progress reporting, and discussion of ethical considerations. The course requires that students be working in the field of autism treatment, complete a site verification, secure practicum contracts, and garner client consent prior to logging hours.

IHS 481 Practicum (Field Work)
This course allows students to demonstrate behavior analytic skills in applied settings. In order to generalize information and techniques learned in previous courses, students will work with clients with autism at an approved practicum site. Activities will include selecting learning objectives, measurement plan development, instructional plan development, generalization, data collection, fidelity checks, training others, evaluation of results, progress reporting, and discussion of ethical considerations. The course requires that students be working in the field of autism treatment, complete a site verification, secure practicum contracts, and garner client consent prior to logging hours.

IHS 482 Practicum (Field Work)
This course allows students to demonstrate behavior analytic skills in applied settings. In order to generalize information and techniques learned in previous courses, students will work with clients with autism at an approved practicum site. Activities will include selecting behaviors targeted for change, descriptive assessment, behavior plan development, implementation, generalization, data collection, fidelity checks, training others, evaluation of results, progress reporting, and discussion of ethical considerations. The course requires that students be working in the field of autism treatment, complete a site verification, secure practicum contracts, and garner client consent prior to logging hours.

To learn more about the online Autism Studies Concentration or the online Post Baccalaureate Certificate: Call (866) 758-7670 to speak with an admissions advisor or request more information.

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