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This graduate certificate (with an option to complete a master's in special education in parallel) is ideal for educators, interventionists, psychologists, speech therapists, paraprofessionals, or family members who want to enhance their preparation for working with children and adults affected with autism spectrum disorders.

The Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) graduate curriculum provides training in topic areas required to implement a variety of programs for autistic individuals across their lifespans.

Students who wish to attain the master's in special education in conjunction with this certificate program complete an additional 12 credits of coursework.

What is the difference between the ASD and ABA certificates?

The autism certificate focuses on understanding the characteristics of autistic individuals and preparing students to apply research-based practices to their professional practice. The autism program is aligned with the Virginia Autism Council’s “Skill competencies for professionals and paraprofessionals in Virginia supporting individuals with autism across the lifespan”.

In contrast, the ABA program prepares students to use Applied Behavior Analysis, which is a scientific approach to the study of behavior, concerned with describing, explaining, predicting, and changing behavior. The ABA certificate is designed for individuals who design, implement, and monitor behavioral treatments and verbal behavior training programs, and is based on the standards of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc.

Additional Information

  • Students wishing to pursue the master's option should apply to the master's program and contact an advisor to add the certificate once enrolled.
  • Coursework is delivered 100% online in a modified schedule to meet the needs of busy professionals.
  • This program does not lead to teacher licensure.