Within the past decade, the number of children diagnosed with autism has increased dramatically: One in every eighty-eight children, according to the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. The need for professionals trained in this field is great. This certificate is designed for those who seek additional training in this area of critical need.
This certificate increases a student’s understanding of the diagnosis of autism or Asperger’s syndrome. Students explore current issues related to autism and best practices in providing educational services that meet the unique characteristics and needs of those who fall within the autism spectrum. A critical component of this certificate is its attention to current theories in the field.
Interested applicants are strongly advised to meet with an advisor before enrolling in the program so that they are clear about course delivery modalities. Specifically, these delivery modalities include online and hybrid formats.
Candidates for positions and careers in education should explore health requirements associated with employment in a school setting. Prospective students with special needs that may affect their learning are encouraged to contact the Disabilities Services Coordinator for accommodation options.
The health and safety of children, adolescents, and other learners are of paramount concern to the program. Prior to employment, applicants for teaching positions in public and private schools in New Hampshire must undergo background checks through the New Hampshire Department of Safety. For admission into the Teacher Education associate degree, the Special Education certificate, and the Career and Technical Education certificate, applicants must likewise undergo national criminal background checks. The cost of the background check is the responsibility of the student. Applicants with a criminal record, depending on the nature of this record, may not be eligible for field experience or employment. Applicants are advised to discuss such matters during an admission interview to avoid confusion.
Technical standards provide guidance to students about the skills and abilities they need to function successfully in the program and ultimately as teachers in the public and/or private school classroom. Applicants who suspect they may be unable to meet one or more of the technical standards should contact program faculty members to discuss their concerns. Program faculty considers all academically qualified candidates, provided that the technical standards can be met with reasonable accommodations. Students in the program must have:
- Sufficient strength, stamina, and motor coordination.
- Sufficient hearing and visual acuity to ensure a safe environment, along with an ability to respond quickly to emergencies.
- Sufficient verbal ability to express and exchange information and ideas, as well as to interpret important instructions to children, adolescents, colleagues, and parents.
- Sufficient writing skills to record students’ daily progress and milestones, and to compose a variety of reports.
- An ability to work with frequent interruptions, to respond appropriately to unexpected situations, and to cope with extreme variations in workload and stress levels.