All policy decisions are courses of action that provide teachers with opportunities to improve teaching and learning. Participants will learn about the importance of using a systematic process to collect data, analyze problems and design policy initiatives, which may be at the classroom, department, school, district, state, or federal level.

Recognizing differences in learning and perception is essential to teaching individuals on the autism spectrum.  Individuals with ASD have unique social cognitive processing styles and needs that impact their participation in school and the community. In addition, they face unique challenges with executive functions such as organization, planning/prioritizing, and social self-monitoring.  In this course, participants will gain advanced knowledge of social cognitive and executive function differences for individuals with ASD, learn about formal and informal assessment tools, and learn how to design and implement instructional programs that promote social participation and inter-personal interactions. The strategies explored in the course specifically target promoting skills in:  social understanding, self-monitoring/self-advocacy, problem solving, cognitive flexibility, and effective organization, planning and time management skills.

Course assignments and resources access information from a variety of sources such as peer reviewed journal publications, text selections, web-based resources, direct student-application opportunities, and small group interaction to engage in relevant professional development and reflection, to increase knowledge and skill as a special educator, and inform your instructional practices with students and families.  This course is a required course for the ASD Licensure and an elective course for those seeking the ASD Certificate. 

The intent of this course is to develop an understanding of the impact an autism spectrum disorder has throughout an individuals’ educational, employment and independent living environments. Emphasis will be on the characteristics, issues, and essential elements for effective transition involved in the education and support of adolescents and young adults across the spectrum.

The incidence of autism spectrum disorders has increased significantly, and schools are charged with meeting the needs of learners with ASDs. This course examines the range autism spectrum disorders, core challenge areas, Minnesota educational criteria, identification and assessment, personal perspectives, family issues and how autism impacts the family dynamics. Evidence-based practices, research related to autism, educational practices and programs will be explored.