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December 30, 2008

La Salle University’s New Program for Teaching Educators of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Takes a Multidisciplinary Approach That Includes Educating and Caring for the Entire Family

Beginning in January, La Salle University will offer a new certificate program that provides educators with a multidisciplinary approach to work with children with autismand their families.

The program, which is 12 credits, can be completed in one calendar year. Students will take courses held in the evenings during the spring ’09 semester, two summer sessions and in the fall of ’09.

“The autism certificate program is one component of a La Salle-wide initiative to bring attention to the need for coordinated sharing of knowledge, perspectives, and advances in the care, support, and education of individuals with autism and their families,” said Frank Mosca, Chair of the Education Department at La Salle. “As a center for educational, health, psychological, and social service studies in the area, La Salle is staged to help address the many aspects of life touched by autism.”

“To this end, we are developing a course of study that taps into these several academic and professional areas and brings them together to lend a systemic approach to instructional content in the area of autism,” said Mosca. “Collaborating with other interested groups beyond the University community, we at La Salle hope to provide an incubator for the development of advanced skills and accelerated sharing of emerging best practices in school and home for supporting these children and optimizing their human potential.”  

Part of the curriculum for the certificate includes working with autistic children.

The certificate coursework will encourage participants to begin with a “one-on-one” relationship with the child with ASD and then work towards the child interacting with other children in the classroom.

The first course is “Dimensions in Autism,” which will examine the various levels of autism, from high-functioning to non-verbal.

The second course will feature working with families who have a child presenting with ASD. Professors from various disciplines, such as psychology, social work, and education, will instruct the course.

“About 80 percent of couples who have an autistic child get divorced,” says Dr. Carole Patrylo, a professor of education at La Salle. “The family must be included in the education process.”

The third course will focus on communication with children with ASD, and the fourth course will concentrate on how teachers can implement and meet goals for each child’s Individual Education Plan.

In addition to the autism certificate program, La Salle’s Graduate Education Department will be offering other programs for educators at its Bucks County Center and Philadelphia campus:

A Pennsylvania state certification in Special Education that will help teachers expand their professional options while completing their continuing education requirements. The certificate can earned in one year.

A reading specialist certification program, which emphasizes a balanced, integrated approach to learning, along with an emphasis on literacy leadership and a focus on children and adolescent literature.

A Master’s in Education with Certification in Special Education. For educators who have completed the Special Education certificate, an advanced degree can be obtained with three additional courses in this program.

For more information, call 215.951.1806 or