Master of Education in Special Education: Autism Specialization

Program Advisor: 
Robert Walrath, PsyD

Office: Education Center 
Phone: (603) 897-8589
Email: rwalrath@rivier.edu

The M.Ed. in Special Education with Autism Specialization is designed for students who hold a bachelor’s degree and wish to become certified in special education. This program prepares students to work specifically with students with autism spectrum disorders in a program or classroom setting.

An interview is required with the Director of the Graduate Education to review transcripts and develop a program of studies. Taking into consideration previous course work and prior experiences, the program director reviews the required and elective courses for the licensure area or professional role to determine: the sequence of the course work, waiver of courses, and any additional background preparation indicated by the General Education Studies Checklist.

The student’s current and prior teaching experiences are reviewed to determine the experiences needed to fulfill the field experience requirements. Early field-based experiences are tailored to the needs, competencies, and current and prior experiences of the applicant. Field experiences are embedded in relevant courses.

Students seeking teacher certification must apply to the Professional Educator Program (PEPP) after successfully completing 12 credits, receiving positive Professional Disposition reports from a cooperating practitioner and college professor, and maintaining a minimum of a 3.0 GPA

Read the press release: Rivier to offer new special education master’s with autism specialization  


Prerequisites:
Ed 504 Application of Learning Theory
Ed 550 Advanced Child Development
Ed 604 Literacy and Language Acquisition or their equivalents 

 
Degree Requirements (39 credits)

Required Courses (33 credits)
Ed 516 Teaching in Inclusion Settings (3)
Ed 517 Language and Reading Development (3)
Ed 518 Classroom Behavior Management (3)
Ed 528 Methods and the Individual Education Plan (3)
Ed 530 Assessment of Learning and Reading Disabilities (3)
Ed 535 Consultation, Collaboration, Leadership (3)
Ed 596 Characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorders (3)
Ed 597 Applied Behavior Analysis I: Assessment and Monitoring of ASD (3)
Ed 598 Applied Behavior Analysis II: Curriculum for Children with ASD (3) 
Ed 599 Applied Behavior Analysis III: Challenging Behaviors in ASD (3) 
Ed 602 Social Skills and Communication (3) 

Internship/Seminar (6 credits)
Ed 637 Internship/Seminar in General Special Education (6 credits)

Course Descriptions

Ed 596 Characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorders and Comorbid Disorders  

This course will provide an overview of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), including the characteristics, instruction, and best practices in providing educational services. Commonly co-occurring disorders will be reviewed. The course will emphasize a positive behavior support approach as well as current research.

"Characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorders and Comorbid Disorders" is designed to serve as the foundation for subsequent courses in the ASD sequence. Using a combination of lecture, video, class activities, invited speakers, and an individual project, the course is designed to meet the following objectives:

  1. Students will describe current and proposed criteria for autism spectrum/pervasive developmental disorders.
  2. Students will explain the potential impacts of sensorimotor, regulatory, communicative, cognitive, and social/emotional challenges upon academic and social behavior.
  3. Students will describe at least 3 co-morbid disorders associated with ASD.
  4. Students will provide an overview of at least 3 evidence-based interventions for ASD.
  5. Students will explain the potential impact of ASD upon the family.
  6. Students will identify at least 2 ways in which individuals with ASD can contribute to the community. 

 
Ed 597 Applied Behavior Analysis I: Assessment and Monitoring

This course will focus on assessment of autism spectrum disorders, IEP development, and progress monitoring within the classroom setting. Alternate assessments, case management and related roles, and use of technology will be explored.

Ed 598 Applied Behavior Analysis II: Curriculum for Children with ASD

This course focuses on applied behavior analysis, target behaviors, functional behavior assessment and analysis. Principles of behavioral interventions, reinforcement schedules, self-management and maintenance of behavioral change are reviewed in terms of integration with classroom environments and curriculum. Current technology will be reviewed.

Ed 599 Applied Behavior Analysis III: Challenging Behaviors

This course will focus on specific behavioral and sensory issues of students with ASD. Students will gain skills in evidence based interventions in the home, educational and community setting. Behavior will be considered through the focus of social, emotional, communication and structural/organization needs addressing resistance to change, sensory needs, and rigidity.

Ed 602 Social Skills and Communication

This course will focus on communication and language skills and social skills in regards to deficits, needs and interventions for students with ASD. Students will gain an understanding of the development and assessment of communication and social skills, as well as best practices for intervention. Current research and technology will be emphasized. 

Reference the Rivier University Academic Catalog.



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