Education of Students with Autism and Other Pervasive Developmental Disorders


This 18-credit, online certificate is designed for parents, certified educators, educational support personnel, and interested members of the community to gain practical knowledge for supporting children and adults diagnosed with autism. The 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 who complete the coursework will learn to:

  • Describe and define the developmental aspects, theoretical background, descriptive characteristics, and diagnostic characteristics of autism (ASD).
  • Define, identify, and implement evidence-based practices to address the educational needs of students with ASD within an educational setting (pre-k, through 12th grade).
  • Utilize research methods to evaluate and measure the effectiveness of behavioral interventions and instructional procedures within an educational setting (pre-k through 12th grade).
  • Design, implement and evaluate an instructional program based on assessment results to increase a desired behavior/skill and decrease undesired behaviors for individual students or a group of students in an educational setting (pre-k through 12th grade).

Requirements (18 credits)

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

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)


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.

877.550 Inclusive Practices for Autism Spectrum Disorders


This course examines the legal mandates for inclusive practices in public schools and barriers to successful inclusion for student with autism. Students will identify the process for determining the most appropriate educational environment and learn the critical steps in preparing students and teachers for inclusion. Modules of inclusion and instructional modification for the general education classroom will be reviewed. Students will learn to define the varying applications of inclusive settings, plan goals and objectives that reflect the inclusion goals, and implement strategies that lead toward inclusion (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.

Gainful Employment Disclosure

In accordance with US Department of Education regulations, the JHU School of Education is required to disclose 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.

State-specific Information for Online Students

Students should be aware of additional state-specific information for online programs.

Contact Us

Faculty Contact
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