Education of Students with Autism and Other Pervasive Developmental Disorders


*All courses will be offered online beginning 2018

Designed for certified special educators and professionals from the related services disciplines, this 18-credit graduate certificate program addresses the wide range of competencies that are necessary for the provision of effective educational programming for students who are diagnosed with autism and other pervasive developmental disorders.

Students may combine this certificate with a second certificate in special education to pursue the Master of Science in General Special Education Studies.

Prerequisite Course

(May be taken elsewhere; must have been completed within the last 2 years)

871.510 Legal Aspects, Service Systems, and Current Issues in Special Education

This online course reviews litigated and legislated standards for special education and related services for persons with disabilities. Students explore current issues in the provision of services for persons with disabilities, including inclusion, the response to intervention (RTI), and regulations for eligibility. (3 credits)

Requirements (18 credits)

The following six courses are required (for a total of 18 credits):

877.551 Survey of Autism and Other Pervasive Developmental Disorders

Providing a comprehensive review of current information about autism and other pervasive developmental disorders, this course draws on research findings and clinical experience from a number of related disciplines, including psychiatry, psychology, neurobiology, and pediatrics. In addition to exploring theories of causation, developmental aspects, descriptive and diagnostic characteristics, and legal and social issues, students are introduced to the primary therapeutic and intervention strategies employed with students who have autism. The theoretical basis of, and empirical evidence for, the diverse traditional and nontraditional therapies that have been proposed for persons with autism are also explored.

877.553 Classroom Programming for Students with Autism

Students examine the design and implementation of effective classroom programs for students with autism who differ in age and level of functioning. The course topics include classroom structure and organization, group instruction strategies, educational assessment and IEP development, data collection, curriculum, instructional activities and materials, parent involvement, and staffing and support services. (3 credits)

877.555 Teaching Communication and Social Skills

This course examines the assessment and instructional strategies that have been shown to be effective in promoting the development of cognitive, language, and social skills by students who have severe disabilities, including those diagnosed with autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, or other pervasive developmental disorders. Participants examine the instructional adaptations needed to promote the development of cognitive, communicative, and social skills in students with severe disabilities, and review the relevant empirical literature.

871.513 Applied Behavioral Programming

This course will focus on the methodology of applied behavior analysis including how the principles of behavior can be used to make changes and improvements in classroom behavior. Observational methods, single-subject designs, behavior promotion and reduction, and generalization strategies are reviewed in relation to the needs of students with disabilities. Students assess and develop individual behavior projects that demonstrate their ability to design, implement, and evaluate behavioral support programs in an ethically responsive manner. (3 credits)

877.513 Education of Students with Severe Disabilities: Augmentative Communication Systems

Students examine the design of augmentative communication systems that include use of graphic symbols for individuals with severe disabilities. Participants design and construct communication aids and develop strategies for integrating augmentative communication into the curriculum.

877.830 Graduate Project in Severe Disabilities

Students of demonstrated ability with special interest in services for persons with severe and multiple disabilities study under the direction of a faculty member in the School of Education. Students must meet with their faculty adviser and prepare an outline of their proposed projects prior to registration. (3 credits)

View Program Plan

Gainful Employment Disclosure

In accordance with US Department of Education regulations, the JHU School of Education is required to disclose graduation rate data, median loan debt data, and other select information for all Title IV eligible gainful employment (GE) programs. To see the most recent data available for this GE program, please view the attached disclosure.

Contact Us

Faculty Contact
Dr. Tamara Marder

Academic Coordinator
Camilla Mika-Simms
(410) 516-9760

Johns Hopkins has provided me the resources to create effective learning environments by bridging the gap between emerging educational theory, policy and applied classroom practices. By evaluating and improving my own teaching methods, I have advanced towards one of my goals of maximizing student growth outcomes in the classroom.”

Theresa Lawler
Fall 2016 Graduate
Special Educator
Lead Teacher, Kennedy Krieger Schools Fairmount Campus