Autism Endorsement Program

PDE Teacher Endorsement

Autism diagnoses are on the rise. The CDC (2019) estimates that 1 in 59 children are identified as having Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Schools are looking for teachers that are qualified to teach students with evidence-based practices, including applied behavior analysis. Are you a teacher with a Level I or II certification and considering furthering your education and gaining valuable skills in educating students with ASD? If so, consider the Autism Endorsement Program at Holy Family University.

The autism endorsement is a state-approved endorsement to an existing Level I or Level II certification. The purpose of the endorsement is to document knowledge in new and existing areas where formal certification does not exist. The program endorsement certificate is intended to improve a teacher’s skills in dealing with complex classroom settings to include autism spectrum disorders.

Holy Family University offers the four-course requirement (12 credits).
Embedded in each of these four coueses are field-based assignments.

Course Requirements

The Pennsylvania Department of Education-approved Autism Endorsement consists of a four course requirement (maximum 12 credits) with embedded field experiences in each course. The four courses will cover:

  • Autism identification
  • Assessment for diagnosis
  • Assessment for intervention
  • Behavioral, academic, communication, and social skills interventions
  • Evidence-based practices
  • Development of discrete trial programs
  • Development of verbal behavior programs
  • Advocacy
  • Parent relationships/peer relationships
  • Current research
  • Program development
  • Community systems
  • Functional behavior assessment

Course Descriptions

Course #1: EDSP 610
Instructional and Management Strategies for the Learner with ASD

This course provides the student with theoretical, methodological, and applicable information in the management and instruction of students diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or exhibiting the characteristics of a student with ASD. The course introduces the current management and teaching practices to include applied behavior analysis (discrete trial instruction, verbal behavior, icon based communication systems [PECS], functional assessment, task analysis); TEACCH; Floortime (Greenspan); sensory integration, auditory integration; and social skills training. Emphasis will be placed on the development of a classroom structure and routine to meet the individual needs of the students in the class. The course focuses on autism as a spectrum disorder, discussing former diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome, Pervasive Developmental Disorders, and Autistic Disorders and attention will be given to the role of literacy and technology in the instruction and management of students with autism spectrum disorder.

Course #2: EDSP 612
Evidence Based Practices for the Learner with Exceptionalities
(Prerequisite 610)

This course provides students with a more in-depth look at instructional and behavioral practices for students with autism spectrum disorder. The approaches addressed in this course will have substantial research to support their use. Currently, the approach that has the most evidence behind it for practical application is applied behavior analysis. Applied behavior analysis approaches, such as discrete trial instruction and verbal behavior, will be presented in detail. The student will gain a theoretical understanding of the approach and experience a practical application of both approaches by creating programs that use both techniques. In addition to applied behavior analysis, other approaches will be presented in theory for discussion and application.

Course #3: EDSP 614
Communication Interventions for the Learner with Autism Spectrum Disorder

This course provides the students with a theoretical basis in the area of communication, language skills, typical and atypical language development, and communication interventions for the learner with ASD. The student will focus on developmental stages of communication; understanding the interventions for the learner who has non-verbal, verbal, or limited verbal communication strategies; the development of social skills and the pragmatic use of communication; low-tech to high-tech solutions to those students with communication deficits; and the development of a communication program based on assessment.

Course #4: EDSP 616
Special Topics in Autism Spectrum Disorder

This course provides the students with knowledge base in current educational topics associated with autism spectrum disorder. The student will learn to evaluate and identify research based methodologies given an array of programs, procedures, and claims that are current in today’s media (to include peer reviewed literature and other publications). Some of the topic areas covered are sensory integration dysfunction, functional behavioral assessment, data-based decision making, school-based assessment, least restrictive environment, and family/community systems.

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Office of Graduate and Professional Studies

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