Dominican approved for special education teacher training of children with autism

Dominican University of California will meet the growing demand for special education teachers trained to work with children with autism. The University has received approval from the accrediting body of the Commission on Teacher Credentialing to offer an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) teacher preparation program. The Commission’s Committee on Accreditation (COA) voted to approve the ASD Added Authorization program at its meeting on November 5.

The COA approved Dominican along with California Lutheran University, Capistrano Unified School District, Wiseburn School District, Holy Names University, and Whittier College for their Education Specialist added authorization programs for Autism Spectrum Disorder.

If the COA determines that a program meets all applicable standards, the COA grants initial accreditation to the program. Prior to being presented to the COA for action, new programs proposed by eligible institutions are reviewed by Commission staff or other experts. New credential program proposals made by eligible institutions must fulfill preconditions established by state law and the Commission.

The University will offer a 12-unit program that will meet state requirements to infuse training in basic education credentials because of the growing existence of autism. The Autism Spectrum Disorders Added Authorization program will include student teaching.

Beginning in the fall of 2011, Dominican also will offer a Master of Science in Special Education degree with an emphasis on autism. “This program was designed to enhance training to reach students and those who are in need of services,” said Dr. Rande Webster,  Director of Special Education Programs at Dominican. “We need to keep moving forward in our credential programs to offer robust training models to teachers working in our communities.”

 Dominican is in the process of seeking a partnership to create a regional center for autism. The Proposed Dominican University of California Center for Autism would build upon existing programs in both the Department of Education and the Department of Occupational Therapy that meet the educational, social, behavioral and therapeutic needs of children with ASD.