Description of the Program A focus on how to plan, instruct, conduct assessments and collaborate to maximize learning opportunities for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders. This program allows professional educators to be better equipped to work with students with ASD as well as other significant intellectual disabilities. Admission Requirements Holds a minimum of a bachelor's degree; Holds a teaching certificate in education (any content area); Pass the GRE/MAT requirements, OR have 3 years of successful teaching, OR 3.0 undergraduate cumulative GPA, OR other master's degree. If a candidate does not have a Class B teaching certificate in collaborative teaching/special education, then the applicant must meet with an advisor to determine if any undergraduate special education coursework is required to meet all competencies. Otherwise, the Class B competencies are covered within the Class A program. Students will be required to opt into either the K-6 or 6-12 track for ALSDE certification. Degree Requirements Core Courses = 4 courses (12 hours) ED 530 Applied Multiculturalism 3 hours Online Through an examination of constructs such as race, ethnicity, social class, gender, sexual orientation, and religious affiliation, students will develop a theoretical understanding of the connections between identity, difference, power, and privilege and the role(s) schools (could/should) play in perpetuating or ending discriminatory practices. Furthermore and importantly, students will develop an understanding of the ways research in both the humanities and social sciences can be used to interpret, analyze, and critique multiculturalism. ED 535 Introduction to Applied Research 3 hours Online Introduction to the nature of research and its relationship to educational thought and practice. Primary focus will be on planning and executing research activities(i.e. action research, thesis development) in the diverse classroom and analyzing the collected data to improve instruction, educational performance and adding to the body of knowledge on educational practices. ED 540 Cognitive Developmental Learning Theories 3 hours Online Designed to inform students about recent developments in Cognitive Psychology and their implications for teaching and learning. Students will leave ED 565 with a variety of “cognitive understandings” for use in differentiated classrooms. ED 565 Introduction to Differentiated Instruction 3 hours Online Provides an introduction to the philosophy and practice of differentiation. Examines the elements, content, process, product, affect and learning environment, by which instruction can be differentiated to address the complex challenges of meeting the diverse learning needs of all students. Concentration Courses = 6 courses (18 hours) ED 570 Differentiated Instruction for Special Populations 3 hours Online Provides practical strategies to maximize learning for all students, particularly those with disabilities, gifted/talented, and English language learners (ELL). Students will learn to utilize differentiated instruction to benefit both general and special education students simultaneously. This will include learning to select,implement, and evaluate lesson accommodations and modifications for students with exceptional needs. EDC 625 Assistive Technology for Educating Individuals with ASD 3 hours Online Advanced teacher candidates will explore a wide range of assistive technology (AT) applications for children with disabilities. Advanced teacher candidates consider needs based on the type of disabling condition, such as physical, cognitive, sensory disabilities,or multiple complex needs, as demonstrated by children with pervasive developmental disorders such as ASD. Emphasis will be placed upon the integration of AT into effective instructional practices that improve student learning and can be utilized as part of a differentiated instructional program in the diverse general education classroom. Particular emphasis will be placed on using technology to enhance the communication skills of children with ASD. EDC 636 Introduction to Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) 3 hours Online The advanced teacher candidate will develop an understanding of the range of characteristics and behaviors associated with ASD, the effects of early intervention on behaviors, and the theories regarding the etiology of the disorder. A review of the law and rights of parents as well as issues regarding service and specialized programs are included. EDC 645 Assessment and Behavioral Applications in ASD 3 hours Online This course focuses on assessment and intervention planning for children with ASD. Candidates will enhance their knowledge of various assessments appropriate to the ASD population and develop skills to administer and interpret assessments. The course will provide the advanced teacher candidate with an overview of the Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) approach to assessing and teaching, and how ABA fits within a differentiated intervention program for children with ASD. EDC 655 Collaboration and Transition Planning 3 hours Online Using case-based instructional strategies, this course is designed to assist the advanced teacher candidate in learning to build supportive relationships with families, paraprofessionals, and related service providers, including community agencies, as a foundation for designing differentiated learning experiences. The teacher candidate will develop the knowledge and skills for communicating accurately and sensitively, for selecting and evaluating intervention services and for helping stakeholders manage short-term and long-term issues, including post-secondary transitions. EDC 660 Practical Applications of Visual Instructional Strategies 3 hours Online Advanced Candidates participate in a summer clinic for children with ASAD. Candidates learn how to create an appropriate learning environment, organize schedules for individual students, develop materials, engage in instruction, respond to behavioral issues, and document student progress. Clients for the clinic would be drawn from a pool of applicants from the large population of families in Madison County who have one or more children with ASD. The practicum would consist of 3 days of preparation and 2 weeks of clinical experience. Action Research Project = 1 course (3 hours) ED 690 Master's Action Research Project 3 hours Online After the completion of the courses, advanced candidates will complete a summative action research project. Working with an individual faculty member, the action research will be planned, completed, and presented for the department.