Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. According to recent prevalence studies via the Center for Disease Controls (CDC), currently 1 in 59 children are diagnosed with ASD.


  • August and January Start Dates
  • No GRE required
The Graduate Certificate in Autism Teaching offers educators, counselors, and other professionals or interested parents and community members a four-course sequence designed to meet the competencies set forth by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) for the Autism Spectrum Disorders Endorsement. If you work with children and youth identified with an autism spectrum disorder, the program will prepare you to design effective programs for your students.

In this certificate program, students will study the theories and methods proven to be successful in working with children, adolescents and adults with ASD. Students will examine evidence-based practices for teaching children who are on the spectrum including Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), TEACCH, Early Start Denver Model, Discrete Trial Training (DTT), Verbal Behavioral Intervention (VBI), Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), and Pivotal Response Training (PRT). This program provides opportunities for students to conduct Functional Behavior Assessments (FBAs) and develop resulting Behavior Interventions (BIPs). Students will explore the various assistive technologies including augmentative communication systems that improve opportunities for students to access the general education curriculum.

Any teacher or other education professional who holds a current Level I or Level II certification and who successfully completes the four-course certificate sequence, is eligible for the Autism Endorsement from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). Students who successfully complete the four-course sequence, but do not hold a current Level I or Level II certification are eligible for the Carlow issued certificate of completion but not the PDE Endorsement. There is no associated or required autism certification test required for those seeking the State endorsement.

Courses are offered in a hybrid or online format throughout the school year and in the summer. 
To enroll or get answers to your questions, please contact Admissions at 412.578.6059 or by email at admissions@carlow.edu

Course Information

SPED 772 Positive Behavior Supports PK-8 or 774, 7-12
This course is intended to provide teachers with an understanding of the etiology and conditions of student behavior and equip them with strategies so that many manage classroom behavior effectively. The techniques of Applied Behavioral Analysis will be introduced. Identification of students at risk including children with emotional, social and behavioral disorders and the development of effective intervention strategies will be covered. A variety of methods for data collection and the analysis of the information generated by these methods are included in the course. Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) and the development of the Behavior Improvement Plan (BIP) will be explored so that a beginning teacher is prepared with numerous options to use when dealing with problem behavior in a positive and proactive manner. 

SPED 760 Communication and Technologies in Special Education
This course focuses on language development from birth to adult in individuals with disabilities, the range of communication needs often displayed and alternative technologies to support those needs. An area of particular emphasis is the teachers role in supporting language and communication development in the classroom and contributing member of the transdisciplinary team. Collaborative models and communication strategies for developing effective working relationships with team members will be examined. In addition, students will study the role of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) and assistive technologies; their selection, function, and application for promoting independence for learning and living. Opportunities for hands-on exploration of a variety of devices, both low and high tech including switches, augmentative communication devices, alternative keyboards, specialized computer software, adaptive equipment and other items available in Carlow's Assistive Technology Library will be utilized. 

SPED 778 Autism Spectrum Disorders
This course is designed to prepare teachers to work in a variety of environments serving children and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) including the general education classroom, inclusive settings and specialized settings. Evidence-based practice, philosophical approaches, and specific intervention techniques are examined. These practices are considered within the continuum of services and collaborative models utilized in designing effective instructional environments for students with ASD. Attention is given to current and evolving research related to etiology, brain function, and early intervention as well as Applied Behavior Analysis, PECS and TEACHH practices. 

SPED 788 Applied Issues in ASD
This course is designed to provide professionals working in a variety of environments serving children and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) including the general education classroom, inclusive settings and specialized settings, with opportunities to develop essential skills for effective collaboration with families and service providers. Examination of professional ethics and approaches for effective communication and support for individuals and their families define the foundation for decisions regarding appropriate educational practices for children and youth with ASD. These include determinations for medication, related services, generalization and long range planning.