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Autism Endorsement Certificate

Special Education Classroom

The Autism Endorsement Certificate Program is a 12-credit program designed to provide licensed educators with the competencies necessary to meet the complex educational needs of students with autism according to their potential in their least restrictive environment. The certificate program will be available to Massachusetts educators with a teacher license and at least three credits related to special education, or possession of an initial or professional license as Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities, Teachers of Students with Severe Disabilities, Teacher of the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing, and Teacher of the Visually Impaired. The content of the courses is based on the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education guidelines and the best practices identified by the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) for an Autism Spectrum Disorder Specialist. The educators enrolled in the certificate program will be able to demonstrate how to conduct assessments, develop IEPs based on assessment, and implement specially designed instruction for students on the autism spectrum. By earning the certificate educators will have a greater understanding of the foundations and characteristics of autism, research based assessment methods, how to identify the supports necessary to provide the least restrictive environment for a student with autism, and the best practices in collaboration and consultation with general education teachers and related service providers.

Graduate Chair:

Ashley Rodrigues

Assistant Professor & Chairperson for Graduate Studies

Bridgewater State University


Application Deadlines

Applications should be complete six to eight weeks prior to the beginning of classes to ensure an admissions decision for the semester in which the applicant wishes to enroll.

Admissions Requirements

  • Online application and $50 application fee
  • Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate course work
  • Existing initial or professional license in one of the below areas and a minimum of 3 credits in special education. Qualifications for endorsement by the DESE requires a pre-existing license from which the autism endorsement may be added.
    • Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities
    • Teacher of Students with Severe Disabilities
    • Teacher of the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing
    • Teacher of the Visually Impaired

Massachusetts Education Personal ID (MEPID)

The program of study for the Autism Spectrum Endorsement begins with SPED 551 Autism Spectrum Disorders. This course provides both a theoretical and applied overview of the needs of students with autism spectrum disorders. It looks at current research in potential causes, treatments, and educational supports. Once candidates have the background provided through SPED 551, they are introduced to specialized strategies for assessing students on the spectrum through SPED 583 Introduction to Applied Behavior Analysis. This course introduces candidates to the basic principles of behavior analysis as they relate to children and adolescents with developmental disabilities. Participants become knowledgeable about evidence-based interventions based on basic principles of behavior for intervening on behalf of children in educational settings. SPED 583 provides candidates with comprehensive skills to conduct a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA), and to develop behavior management programs among a variety of students with autism spectrum disorders.
Building on the competencies candidates have demonstrated through SPED 551 and specific assessment strategies for evaluating individual students through SPED 583, candidates then learn program and curriculum design to address programmatic issues through SPED 566 Classroom Programming for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders. This course provides major theories, teaching approaches, trends, classroom structure and environmental arrangements, research-based instructional strategies, progress monitoring, collaboration, and family involvement strategies employed among all developmental domains for students with autism spectrum disorders.
The final culmination of the Autism Spectrum Endorsement sequence is SPED 585 Practicum in Autism. This is a 150-hour practicum that piggy-backs on candidates’ employment as licensed teachers in early childhood, elementary education, secondary education, and moderate or severe special needs. Candidates document a variety of competencies using an e-folio that is uploaded into an electronic data base called TaskStream. Upon completing SPED 585, candidates are eligible to be endorsed in Autism Spectrum through the field placement offices at BSU.
Autism Endorsement sequence.PNG
***For the most up-to-date information regarding course descriptions, please visit our University Catalog.
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