Assumption Launches Specialized Autism Graduate Program 

Jun 01, 2020

To meet the growing need of professionals trained to work with and advocate for individuals in need of special education services, Assumption has launched a new Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies (CAGS) in Special Education: Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).  This program allows graduate students to receive a CAGS in ASD as well as an Autism Endorsement from the state, preparing them to meet an area of need in schools and develop the skills and knowledge necessary to best work with students with ASD. 

Assumption’s licensure programs have been “Approved with Distinction” by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and is one of only three in Massachusetts to receive this highest level of approval by the Department. This CAGS program has been designed to closely follow state guidelines for Massachusetts Autism Endorsement—a distinction created for licensed special education teachers to better meet the unique and complex needs of students with ASD and enhance the knowledge of special educators working with students who have ASD. 

“As the number of students with ASD continues to rise, there is an ever-important need for teachers and other school professionals who are able to provide these students with appropriate special education services and advocate for them,” said Nanho Vander Hart, Ph.D., associate professor and director of special education at Assumption.  “This new program strives to meet this need and give educators the tools that they need to best serve students with ASD.  Our goal and purpose is to prepare teachers to educate students with autism spectrum disorders in a manner consistent with their potential and in the least restrictive environment, in accordance with federal and state special education law.”

The program provides candidates with two paths, obtaining a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study, or obtaining a CAGS with an Autism Endorsement. Candidates with appropriate initial license may advance their license to a professional level. Both the endorsement and non-endorsement tracks will allow graduate students to refine and deepen their knowledge and skills in autism spectrum disorders, preparing them to be more effective teachers and advocates for the students with ASD that they will serve.  

For more information, visit the program page