News Story

NSU to offer specialized Master of Education degree in Special Education-Autism Spectrum Disorders

By NSU Staff

(Tahlequah, Okla.)--Northeastern State University, a leader in producing career-ready educators, will begin offering a Master of Education degree in Special Education, with an emphasis in Autism Spectrum Disorders beginning the summer of 2015.

The program, which has been in development since the spring of 2013, began its formation after parents, educators, and others working with students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ADS) persistently asked the Special Education program for information on strategies that work for children with ASD.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2014), one out of every 68 school-aged children has been identified with an ASD. NSU’s College of Education determined that a program with such a specialized focus was a necessity for not only those children with ASD, but also the school systems in Oklahoma that need expert educators.

The program, which has already seen numerous applications since its announcement, will be taught by a combination of NSU faculty from the Special Education, Reading, Early Childhood, Educational leadership and Speech/Language Pathology programs.

In order to complete the program, students will be required to take six hours of Professional Education courses, 20 hours of Special Education courses, six hours of Enrichment courses and complete one hour for Capstone. In addition to this, this program will also address effective strategies for all other disability categories recognized federally and by the state of Oklahoma.

To provide convenience to many educators who are looking to remain in their current professions and further their education, or to those looking to make a career change, NSU will offer a majority of the coursework for this program online and in blended instructional methods. Courses that require face-to-face settings will occur in the afternoons and evenings. Students will also receive the opportunity to work directly with children with ASD for a semester, along with developing and analyzing research pertaining to ASD through a required practicum.

With the prevalence rate of ASD rapidly increasing, NSU will be providing a unique experience for those accepted into the program. NSU will be the only university in the state of Oklahoma to offer a specialized degree focused on ASD. Also, the program plans to incorporate HB1233 for those potential students who received a bachelor’s degree in a subject other than education. An application to offer the boot camp required to do this is currently awaiting approval; however, the Special Education department hopes to be able to offer the camp during the summer of 2015.

“We believe that this program will gain the interest of current teachers, parents and many other professionals who may think about switching careers,” Dr. Lisa Tritschler, Curriculum & Instruction Department Chair said. “Everyone that we have spoken to about our new program has exhibited such enthusiasm because it is unique to the state of Oklahoma.”

This program will provide students with the most effective skills that are needed to support children with ASD.  Students will be able to implement evidence-based academic, behavioral, social and functional skills  within the classroom or any other career involving working with children and adults with ASD.

“Ultimately, we know our graduates will implement effective strategies to guide their students with ASD to become successful, independent citizens of our society in adulthood. We also hope the knowledge of this program will inspire others to work with children and adults with ASD,” Tritschler said. 

Published: 3/23/2015 11:34:32 AM

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