The master’s degree program, with the ASD option, is designed to be a 2-3 year program. A graduate student who remains continuously enrolled through fall, spring, and summer semesters should be able to successfully complete the program in 2-3 calendar years.
All ASD courses are available online. This flexibility allows courses to be completed from anywhere in the world.
Courses for ASD Option
M.A.S. (15 credit hours - 5 out of 6 courses)
Graduate Certificate (18 credit hours):
EDU 650: Fundamentals of ASD (3 credits)
The purpose of this course is to provide an understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and their effect on life and learning; as well as a comprehensive overview of the history, current thinking, issues and practices. This course will examine autism and Asperger Syndrome, educational criteria, identification and assessment, personal perspectives, and teaching strategies. Broad areas to be covered in this course include: the breadth and variability of ASD characteristics; how multiple disciplines interact around ASD issues; how ASD effects learning, socialization, perception, communication, sensory processing and thinking; life span issues (from early childhood to adulthood); and, the perspectives of individuals with ASD, as well as their family members.
EDU 651: Assessment and Planning for Students with ASD (3 credits)
Students become competent in the identification and assessment of individuals with autism spectrum disorders. Research based best practices in assessment will be discussed. Students will effectively select, utilize, and report results on appropriate tools for evaluation of autism spectrum disorders.
EDU 652: Classroom Programing for Students with ASD (3 credits)
Students examine the design and implementation of effective classroom programs, such as those based on the TEACCH model, for students with autism spectrum disorder who differ in age and level of functioning. The course topics include classroom structure and organization, group instruction strategies, educational assessment and IEP development, record keeping, curriculum, instructional activities and materials, parent involvement, and staffing and support services.
EDU 653: Behavioral Intervention for Students with ASD (3 credits)
Students explore the growing body of research findings showing that students with autism spectrum disorders can derive significant and durable benefits from interventions based on the principals of applied behavior analysis. Strategies for conducting functional analysis of problem behavior and developing multidimensional intervention plans are reviewed.
EDU 654: Teaching Communication and Social Skills with Students with ASD (3 credits)
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 for students with autism spectrum disorders. Language development and communication strategies, augmentative and alternative communication systems (AAC), social deficits in autism, and approaching for teaching social skills will be addressed. Participants examine the instructional adaptations needed to promote the development of cognitive, communicative, and social skills in students with ASD, and review relevant empirical literature.
EDU 655: Intensive Early Intervention for Students with ASD (3 credits)
This course focuses on children with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) birth to age six. Topics addressed will include basic characteristics of children with ASD birth to age six, the developmental implications for these children and their families, and research supported early interventions utilizing a family centered approach with an emphasis on natural learning opportunities.
M.A.S. Core Courses (18 credit hours total)
EDU 510: Introduction to Research in Education (3 credits)
EDU 510 is designed to acquaint the beginning graduate student with the methods professional scholars use to conduct their own inquiries in the field of education. Students will be introduced to major categories of educational policy, as well as the research that supports key pieces of current federal and state policy. Students will investigate different research designs, including qualitative, quantitative, single-subject, ethnography, survey, and case study. To prepare students for the process of developing their capstone projects, the course will emphasize the rules and guidelines of APA format and style, including the basic features of technical and bias-free writing. This course might include one or two synchronous, on-line class meetings. The instructor will schedule these meetings at a time convenient to as many enrolled students as possible.
EDU 611: Research Development and Literature Analysis (3 credits)
Focuses on the development of a research project from the initial selection of a refined topic, first considered in EDU 609, to a definitive research proposal. Students will continue their exploration of the concepts and strategies of educational research and apply that information to their own planned research. Students will compare and contrast scholarly publications in order to refine their skills in synthesizing literature, and will participate in the peer review process by providing feedback to classmates regarding literature reviews they have composed. The authentic assessment woven throughout this course is the development of a preliminary presentation of the candidate’s proposed capstone project for faculty members and colleagues. This course might include one or two synchronous, on-line class meetings. The instructor will schedule these meetings at a time convenient to as many enrolled students as possible.
EDU 615: Data-Informed Analysis and Decisions (3 credits)
This final traditional course in the professional core sequence focuses on an examination of the various types of measurement scales (i.e., nominal, ordinal, interval, and ratio) and a discussion of which particular statistical analyses are appropriate for use with each type of data. Content of EDU 615 will include coverage of descriptive statistical measures and basic inferential statistics. Students will examine various data sets, master Excel database construction and use, and learn the principles of data-based decision-making. EDU 615 should prepare students with the essential tools they will need to develop the methodology and data analysis sections of the experimental capstone project. This course might include one or two synchronous, on-line class meetings. The instructor will schedule these meetings at a time convenient to as many enrolled students as possible.
EDU 630: Capstone (6 credits)
This culminating course in the professional core sequence for the M.A.S. degree requires the graduate student to design, formally propose, implement, and prepare a scholarly write-up of an individual capstone project. Two options are offered: (a) a traditional thesis project, for which the student will write research questions, conduct a thorough literature review, determine methodology, collect all relevant data, and complete analyses and discussion; and (b) a capstone internship experience project, for which the student will seek out and identify a host site and on-site mentor, then complete an intensive field-based internship—which must be beyond the scope of the graduate student’s current employment. MORE INFO
Successful completion of Missouri Western coursework in autism spectrum disorders does not yield a teaching license or new certification, since the State of Missouri does not offer a teaching license specific to the ﬁeld of ASD. Completing coursework specific to the ﬁeld of autism spectrum disorders will, however, extend the skills of special education teachers and related service providers to include strategies particularly effective with learners who experience ASD. Teachers in the ﬁelds of elementary and secondary education will benefit from intensive study in the ﬁeld of autism spectrum disorders by learning techniques to better support such learners in general education classrooms. A graduate student from outside the State of Missouri might be eligible for additional teacher licensure in his/her home state, on the basis of coursework completed in the Missouri Western autism spectrum disorders graduate program. Inquiry would need to be made of that state’s Ofﬁce of Teacher Certification.