Autism Spectrum Department of Special Education & Communicative Disorders

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click here for a pdf of Autism Spectrum professional competencies.

Candidates completing the Autism Spectrum Graduate Certificate will demonstrate the following professional competencies in autism related knowledge and skill

  1. Nature of the Autism Spectrum in Theory and Practice
    1.1 Historical and theoretical foundation
    1.2 Current definitions (state, federal, international) Early indicators, etiology, prevalence
    1.3 Diagnostic tools, criteria (DSM-5) and differential diagnosis
    1.4 Characteristics associated with ASD
    1.5 Current and emerging practices and service delivery models
  2. Family Support and Partnerships
    2.1 Supports parents and family members as active participants in all aspects of child’s education
    2.2 Responsive to family culture, language, values, parenting styles and personal perspectives
    2.3 Facilitates communication between school, home and community
    2.4 Provides family with timely information, education and resources pertinent to child’s needs
    2.5 Assists family in accessing community supports and services 
    2.6 Collaborates with family to improve professional practices
  3. School and Community Partnerships
    3.1 Links with community agencies and organizations serving diverse learners with ASD across the lifespan
    3.2 Interdisciplinary team collaboration within and across systems
    3.3 Accesses community supports and services for children and adults with ASD and their families
    3.4 Facilitates communication between school, home and community
  4. Individualized Educational Services and Supports
    4.1 Develops IEP in collaboration with family and professionals across disciplines
    4.2 Responsive to social, cultural and linguistic backgrounds of each individual and family with consideration of family preferences
    4.3 Degree of structure and level of intensity adapted to child’s strengths, challenges and emergent potentials
    4.4 Incorporates child’s preferences and special interests in program goals and methods
    4.5 Incorporates environmental and instructional adaptations and accommodations 
  5. Assessment Frameworks and Procedures
    5.1 Typical and atypical learning and development across the lifespan
    5.2 Formal and informal assessment tools and techniques
    5.3 Systematically collects and analyzes multiple sources of data across settings to assess and monitor individual learning, development and overall progress
    5.4 Constructs profiles of strengths, challenges and emergent potential across core domains of learning and development
    * Cognition and learning style
    * Communication and language
    * Social (interaction and relationships with adults and peers)
    * Play and imagination (representational)
    * Behavior patterns (activities, interests)
    * Sensory processing
    * Adaptive functioning (daily life skills/self-care)
    5.5 Uses results to set realistic and meaningful goals and plan instruction and intervention
  6. Curriculum and Instruction
    6.1 Balanced functional, developmental and academic curriculum (aligned with California Learning Standards and addresses Cross-cultural Language and Academic
    Development (CLAD) for English language learners)

    6.2 Well planned, systematic and differentiated instruction adapted to range of ages, abilities, interests and learning styles
    6.3 Instructional activities provide multiple opportunities to practice skills across natural learning contexts within home, school and community
    6.4 Varied instructional formats through multiple modes of one-to-one, small group, large-group, adult-directed, child-centered, and peer mediated instruction geared to individual
    6.5 Supports maintenance of learned skills over time and generalization of skills to natural settings
    6.6 Trains and manages para-educators/program staff
  7. Structuring Learning Environments
    7.1 Clearly organized and comprehensible learning environments 
    7.2 Use of visual cues and supports to maximize engagement and learning
    7.3 Incorporates predictable routines, rituals, schedules for activities and events
    7.4 Structures materials and work tasks
    7.5 Defines physical space with clear boundaries
    7.6 Facilitates transitions, flexibility and change
  8. Addressing Challenging Behaviors
    8.1 Functional approach through Positive Behavior Supports
    8.2 Responsive to unique modes of communication, social-emotional regulation and sensory processing
    8.3 Data-based functional behavioral assessments (FBA) and behavior supports plans consistent with state and federal guidelines
    8.4 Application of a variety of empirically validated behavioral intervention strategies (ABA, cognitive behavior, developmental, sensory-based)
    8.5 Crisis intervention techniques
  9. Supporting Communicative Competence
    9.1 Patterns of speech, language and communication in ASD
    9.2 Continuum of approaches to assessment and intervention (discrete trial, traditional behavioral, developmental, social-pragmatic)
    9.3 Supports intentional and spontaneous communication across partners, activities and settings
    9.4 Functional expressive and receptive communication for mute, pre-verbal and verbal children
    9.5 Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) strategies
    9.6 Integrating verbal and nonverbal forms of communication
  10. Supporting Social Competence
    10.1 Patterns of socialization with adults and peers in ASD
    10.2 Supports spontaneous joint attention, imitation, initiations and social reciprocity across  partners, activities and settings
    10.3 Adult-directed social skills training (ABA/direct instruction)
    10.4 Child-centered approaches (developmental, relationship-based, transactional)
    10.5 Peer-mediated practices
    10.6 Social-cognitive approaches
  11. Supporting Play/Leisure and Imagination
    11.1 Patterns of play and imagination in ASD
    11.2 Supports spontaneous engagement in a range of developmentally and age-appropriate play/leisure activities across independent and social contexts
    11.3 Incorporating play materials, activities and themes varying in degree of symbolic representation
    11.4 Adult-directed approaches
    11.5 Child-centered approaches
    11.6 Peer-mediated approaches
  12. Inclusion with Typical Peers
    12.1 Facilitates inclusion across natural contexts within school, home and community settings
    12.2 Explicit guidance for both children with autism and typical peers
    12.3 Creates culture of inclusion via awareness activities that promote understanding, empathy and acceptance of diverse learners with ASD
    12.4 Consistent opportunities to form social relationships and mutual friendships
    12.5 Guided participation in mutually enjoyed activities that are a natural part of the peer culture (play and recreation)
    12.6 Designs inviting play spaces and selects play materials with high interactive potential
  13. Transition, Vocational and Independent Learning
    13.1 Promotes adaptive behaviors to foster independence at all age and ability levels
    13.2 Plans transitions from one classroom, program or service delivery system to another
    13.3 Supports transition to self-determined careers and post-secondary education and community living
    13.4 Training in vocational and independent living skills
    Interagency collaboration
    13.5 Self-advocacy and disclosure perspectives of adults who identify on the autism spectrum
  14. Professional Literacy and Leadership
    14.1 Peer reviewed journals and publications on research and practice in ASD
    14.2 Professional and parent organizations (local, national and international)
    14.3 Current trends and controversies in the field of ASD
    14.4 Judges quality and efficacy of educational program models, services and practices
    14.5 Engages in reflective practice via multiple modes of field-based systematic inquiry
    14.6 Uses multi-media technology to produce and present educational tools and techniques


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