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New Autism Education Degree at L.I.U. Rockland Meets Growing Need

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Hudson Graduate Center at Rockland,
Long Island University

When it comes to autism, special education isn't special enough. School districts need special education teachers who are trained specifically to teach the rapidly growing population of autistic children – and the Rockland Graduate Campus of Long Island University has launched a new master's degree program that meets the need.

One of the first of its kind in New York State, the Rockland Graduate Campus C.A.S.E. program (Concentration in Autism Special Education) will provide teachers with the necessary skills to educate the estimated 1 in 150 children who have autism spectrum disorder, said Elaine Geller, director of the Special Education Program at the Rockland Graduate Campus.

“There is an expressed need for highly qualified special educators who are specifically trained to work with autism spectrum disorder, since educating this population requires specific expertise,” Geller said. “The demand for special educators with this specific expertise is rising in Bergen, Orange and Rockland counties, as well as in New York City and nationwide.”

Courses in the new degree program will begin in January 2008 at the Campus, located on Route 340 in Orangeburg.

The prevalence of autism spectrum disorder has soared in recent years. New Jersey had the highest rate of ASD among the 14 states surveyed in a study commissioned by the Centers for Disease Control. The average of the 14 states was 6.7 of 1,000 children, but in New Jersey, the figure was 10.6 per 1,000. The rate was even higher among boys, who are much more likely than girls to have ASD. The CDC reported 16.8 boys per 1,000 had ASD in New Jersey.

The 30-credit C.A.S.E. program leads to a Master of Science in Special Education with a concentration in autism and includes five new courses developed specifically for the program: “Communication Development and Language Disorders in Children with Autism;” “Contemporary Issues in Autism Spectrum Disorders;” “Behavior Management for Children with Autism & Developmental Disabilities;” “Diagnosis and Treatment of Autism and Related Disorders Throughout the Lifecycle,” and the “Supervised Practicum in Autism.”

The program is open to certified teachers grades 1-6. It is designed to prepare highly specialized educators to work in teams with psychologists, social workers and families to respond to the special needs of this unique population. This program will nurture the development of the requisite knowledge, skills and dispositions that characterize an effective special educator in such areas as assessment and diagnosis, behavior management, communication development, diagnosis and treatment, and curriculum-based assessment and instruction.

As with all of the Rockland Graduate Campus master's degree programs, courses in the C.A.S.E. program are scheduled with working professionals in mind. Classes are held in evenings and on weekends at the Campus, which is located just minutes from the Palisades Parkway and the New York State Thruway.

For more information on the C.A.S.E. program and other graduate degrees at the Rockland Graduate Campus of Long Island University, visit www.liu.edu/rockland, e-mail rockland@liu.edu or call (845) 359-7200.

Posted 10/25/2007

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