Autism Spectrum Disorders Endorsement Track Overview

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Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability resulting in persistent deficits in social interaction and communication, as well as restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior. ASD presents challenges for children and adults who have been diagnosed with it, as well as their families and caregivers. However, the outlook for individuals with ASD is much better today than it was a generation ago. Advances in early detection and intervention have resulted in new behavioral therapies that can now improve outcomes.

Parents and school districts increasingly seek out education professionals with specialized expertise in teaching students with on the autism spectrum. Saint Joseph’s University’s online Master of Science in Education - Special Education with an Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) Endorsement prepares you to meet the diverse needs of individuals on the autism spectrum.

Autism Spectrum Disorder Endorsement candidates must have Level 1 teacher certification.

Autism Spectrum Disorder Endorsement Curriculum

The online autism courses in the Autism Spectrum Disorders Endorsement focus on appropriate assessment, research-based strategies, and behavioral modification for students of all ages who have been diagnosed on the autism spectrum. This MS in Special Education track is also available as a standalone four-course endorsement.

The curriculum of the four-course track covers the following topics:

  • Initial diagnosis and advocacy
  • Augmentative and alternative communication and socialization strategies
  • Evidenced-based practices regarding assessment, interventions and instructional methodologies
  • Applied behavior analysis and other behavior management approaches

The Autism Spectrum Disorders Endorsement can help you build a thorough base in the foundations, principles, ethics, values, and methods of best practices in ASD education.

You will focus on specific strategies and techniques to address socialization skills, and gain in-depth knowledge and expertise in behavior management approaches. You will also learn the most effective ways to work with students, parents, and other teachers to build a supportive education framework for autistic students.

What Can I Do with an Autism Spectrum Disorders Endorsement?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of children with autism in the United States continues to rise. The latest data estimates that 1 in 68 American children have some form of autism spectrum disorder, a 78 percent increase compared to a decade ago.1

As a result, employment of preschool, kindergarten, and elementary school special education teachers is increasing. With the Autism Spectrum Disorders Endorsement, you can qualify for positions teaching children with ASD in inclusive classrooms, leading classrooms dedicated to autistic students, or working one-on-one with students on the autism spectrum.

While the special education degree and autism spectrum disorders endorsement prepares you to work with children and adults of all ages, your state’s teacher certification rules will still determine which age groups you will work with.

Why Get the Endorsement?

The Autism Spectrum Disorders Endorsement provides you with a competitive advantage over other teachers in the job market. This can lead to new and emerging job roles as well as other career opportunities within the special education landscape.

This highly specialized master’s in autism spectrum disorders track demonstrates your acumen and ability as it relates to the modern classroom environment and its varying degrees of students. The skills taught and mastered throughout the program strongly align with the needs of today’s education market across all geographic regions.

Upon diagnosis of autism, intervention with proven research-based strategies becomes critical. This means there is a growing demand for qualified teachers who can meet the unique needs of autistic children.

A report from the United States Department of Education indicates that almost every state and U.S. territory reported a shortage of special education teachers for the 2015-2016 school year.2

Not all autism endorsement graduate programs offer a recognized endorsement in this area. In fact, Saint Joseph’s University is one of a select few that have received this distinct designation from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The endorsement empowers you to have a transformative impact on students with autism while attracting employer interest to help you advance your career. Note that the Autism Endorsement is a PA State endorsement and may not apply to other States.

Earn Two or More Certifications

You can choose to earn more than one certification as part of your work in the online master’s program. In addition to the Autism Endorsement, you can also add the Wilson Reading System® and/or Special Education certifications to your studies by completing additional credit hours and other requirements.

Get Started with the Autism Spectrum Disorder Endorsement

Start advancing your career today with an online master’s in special education with an endorsement in Autism Spectrum Disorders from Saint Joseph’s University. Call (610) 660-3400 or request more information below.

1Autism Spectrum Disorders’ Endorsement granted by the Pennsylvania Department of Education

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