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UHV to offer new autism concentration for educators

May 11, 2013 at 12:11 a.m.

Andria Young, a UHV associate professor of special education

The University of Houston-Victoria is addressing the increase of autism in schoolchildren by providing a new graduate-level degree concentration that offers educators insight into the minds of those who have the disorder.

The new autism spectrum disorder concentration is part of the Master of Education in special education degree offered through the UHV School of Education and Human Development.

The classes also are available for nondegree-seeking students looking for professional or personal development.

Fred Litton, dean of the UHV School of Education and Human Development, announced the new concentration May 2, World Autism Awareness Day, during the school's Spring Symposium about autism. The new classes will start in the fall.

"As more children with autism spectrum disorder are enrolled in regular classes, it is important for educators to know how to handle situations with them," Litton said. "We want to prepare our students to be knowledgeable, ethical and caring decision makers when they work with autistic children."

Autism is a developmental disorder that affects the way children interact with the world around them as well as with others.

Children with autism often have difficulty with social interactions and communicating.

They also tend to engage in repetitive behaviors and have difficulty with changes in their routines, said Andria Young, a UHV associate professor of special education.

"Students with autism need support from teachers in the way they are integrated into the classroom," Young said. "The autism classes will give educators the tools they need to have a successful experience in their classroom."

The five classes in the concentration provide a well-rounded look into communication strategies, behavior assessments and teaching strategies that education professionals can use with students with autism.

The classes are offered online, and both online resources and video demonstrations will be used in the courses, Young said.

The master's in special education is an online program for students interested in special and general education as well as those working in organizations serving the needs of people with disabilities.

The degree consists of 39 hours of courses, including 15 hours for the autism concentration. Other concentrations in the online degree program include applied behavioral analysis and educational diagnostician certification.

For more information about the UHV School of Education & Human Development, contact the school ateducation@uhv.edu or 361-570-4262.

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