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The course Teaching Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder is currently in development as an iPad app by Dr.
Currently more than 1 in 110 births are children who will experience symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder. The teachers and other educational professionals that will work with these children during their school years have little opportunity to receive training in how to work with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
We wanted the entire course content and activities to be accessible anywhere, anytime on the same device - even when they are in the classroom.
We wanted to incorporate interactivity and multimedia features that were available in the app format. Quickly, Paul moves the boy to an empty table, sets down the magnetic counting maze he'd been working on and asks him to continue. A few evenings earlier, after a similarly grueling day in the classroom, Paul had logged online to a Hunter College post-master's degree applied-behavior analysis certification course - one of two offered by the University.
The varied autism initiatives in education and research under way at CUNY are aimed at a similar goal: to create a cadre of local educators, therapists, health and other professionals, scholars and parents who understand autism.
Increased public awareness of autism has been largely driven by the increase in the number of children who have the disorder.
CUNY Distinguished Lecturer John Brown teaches a graduate-level applied behavioranalysis course.
The increase has been especially hard on public school systems that have been unable to provide adequate teacher training and support.
Officials at Autism Speaks believe the rise in the number of affected children makes autism more common than the pediatric versions of AIDs, diabetes and cancer combined. Hunter psychologist Michael Siller shows parents how to make todders' play time more valuable. The post-master's degree applied-behavior analysis course sequence that Paul takes is formally known as an "Advanced Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis." Taught by Brown, a seasoned and well-respected behavior analyst hired last year by Hunter College, it provides course-of-study programs at the college.
Although Paul is confident of her skills as a special education teacher and has learned a lot on the job, she enrolled in the Hunter course because she wanted to know more about autism. According to Brown, Paul did the right thing by moving the distraught student to another table.
Also at Hunter, psychologist Michael Siller is researching toddlers who are at risk for autism - including younger siblings of children who already have it. Behaviors that raise concerns that a child might have autism typically begin between 12 and 24 months. Siller often carries a bag with special toys to the houses of his participants, who either have autism or are at risk for it.
Melinda Cornwell, an undergraduate student and mother of a son with autism, is among those who assist Siller as a research assistant and playtime "interventionist." She says she tries to help young children at risk for autism discover that playing with another person can be rewarding and fun - a concept that is not always simple for children with autism to grasp. To address this, Hunter Assistant Professor in Early Childhood Special Education Donia Fahim teaches a master's degree class in which sensory integration is one of the evidence based practices taught. Hunter professor Shirley Cohen co-designed and trains New York City public school teachers in the innovative "ASD Nest" program. During recent visits to Nest classrooms in Manhattan and Queens, it was often difficult to distinguish the children who had autism from those who didn't. At Hunter and Queens, the state-funded Regional Centers for Autism Spectrum Disorders have, despite relatively small budgets, creatively provided training and conferences for professionals as well as parents of autistic children. Several CUNY professors are reaching out to potentially underserved communities at home and abroad. At Brooklyn College, as part of its "cross-paradigm" approach, speech-language pathology and special education experts collaborate and provide a certification program to students from a variety of disciplines, including social work and psychology.
A City College study shows that children who have autism need small classrooms and quiet environments in which to learn.


Whether at home or abroad, autism remains a conundrum and like Paul, many teachers believe the more education they have the better. One day in the summer, Mahalko visited the Nest students she teaches during the school year. Some features on this Website require JavaScript (if you see this message it's because the browser has JavaScript turned off or does not support it).
After more than 17 years of experience working with teachers struggling to implement an effective learning program for special needs kids, Dr.
Across the country, the number of children diagnosed as having autism has increased substantially and many of these students are in general education classrooms.
Teaching Students with AutismA provides a brief summary of how K-12 educators might think differently about students with autism, capitalize on their strengths, provide supports to address their challenges, and facilitate positive social relationships among students with and without autism.
Linda Chmiliar, Assistant Professor Inclusive Education in the Centre for Social Sciences at Athabasca University. 396, special education teacher Shavon Paul is keeping a watchful eye on the small group of students in her class. It is also part of a broad effort by the University, partially centered at Hunter, to address the growing incidence of autism, a potentially devastating neurobiological communication, social and behavioral disorder.
Autism Speaks, an advocacy and fundraising organization, believes the figure is much higher today.
The newly formed autism center at Hunter, which involves the college's five schools, was a direct response to the situation in New York City. Fifty years ago, many blamed cold, distant parents and so called "refrigerator mothers" were often sent to therapy while their children remained untreated or were institutionalized. Apart from these programs, students who would like to gain certification must perform 1,500 hours of fieldwork that adheres to Behavior Analyst Certification Board guidelines and take an examination conducted by the board.
The methods advocated by the course have been praised by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the New York State Department of Health.
Every child is different, she says, and the disability strikes with varying levels of severity. The technique - re-direction - often involves a split-second decision to find the right distraction, one that will enable a student to continue working. He and his staff also teach parents how to encourage their children's communication during play time. So Siller is studying warning signs, such as lack of shared eye contact, affect and communicative gestures or the presence of repetitive play to see if some of these behaviors can be effectively targeted during early intervention. Researchers are trying to find out whether developmental delays associated with autism can be extinguished, modified or prevented by early intervention. The book illustrates concrete steps for parents to help their children connect and develop enthusiasm for toys, playmates and their relatives. Teachers scan a checklist informing them of their own sensory issues such as adjusting their earrings or necklaces.
These include teaching them to recognize when they are upset and using relaxation strategies and self-management skills. The program, at 15 elementary schools, mixes typical and high-functioning autistic children in the classroom, which Nest advocates say benefits both groups.
In Flushing, Queens assistant professor of special education Peishi Wang provides training and support in Mandarin to family members of the Chinese immigrant community who are affected by autism.
This data may be helpful to those who say additional funding is necessary to educate autistic children. 186Q in a Nest program in Bellerose, Queens, is also earning her applied-behavior analysis certification.
She peeked into a classroom and held her breath when a boy was asked to pretend that he was in ancient Greece and to play a game popular with children of that time and place.


Mahalko nodded as the student's summer teacher asked him to try to pretend for just one round of the game. Lori Ernsperger decided it was about time someone created a comprehensive resource for practical use in the classroom. How can general education teachers and other education professionals address their complex communication, social and learning needs? Your e-mail address, and that of your recipient, will be used only in the case of transmission errors and to let the recipient know who sent the story. At Brooklyn College, a range of educational approaches is explored, and at City College, researchers are looking at the role class size plays in educating students who have autism.
Citing recent data from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration the group believes it's one child out of 91. According to the city's education department, in June this year the system was serving 7,664 students on the autism spectrum in public and nonpublic schools, a figure which does not reflect children under five who have already been diagnosed.
Now, many researchers believe a genetic predisposition combined with environmental toxicity at a vulnerable time in the development of a child may be at the root of the disorder. Brown says re-direction is based on general data, science and technology - and the specific data and needs that apply to the particular student. Siller's playtime work with children addresses this possibility and builds on earlier research he conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles. Frequently, handling these issues is left to occupational therapists during individual sessions while teachers remain baffled about what to do about them in the classroom. Teachers need to help students learn to ask for a break when they are over-stimulated, she says. An autistic student who has communication difficulties was asked what her role in this activity would be.
These two professors estimate they have helped to educate hundreds of classroom teachers, graduate students, parents and others working with autistic students.
Fahim at Hunter, who has worked with autistic individuals in Africa and the Middle East, is now setting up training courses for teachers and parents in Nigeria, Kenya and Egypt. Recently, she signed on to the same online session as Paul and a number of other New York City public school teachers.
At Queens College, which like Hunter is home to a branch of the state-funded Regional Centers for Autism Spectrum Disorders, there is also a bilingual outreach to the immigrant community.
They need to teach students that "time out" is not a reward or punishment but a way to regulate their behavior.
Fredda Brown says that during the past year, the Queens center has provided training to about 200 graduate students from multiple disciplines, 225 New York City public school and Nassau County educators and 125 people at a second annual conference. And Hunter psychologist Tricia Striano is working with colleagues in Sardinia to conduct a study on eye-gaze processing in autistic children.
One of her missions that evening online was to ask how to handle highly inappropriate personal questions innocently posed by one of her students. This much-needed resource unlocks the secrets of six critical teaching elements, including creating an effective classroom environment, curriculum development, instructional strategies, managing problem behaviors, data collection, and building collaborative teams.
In August, the Hunter regional center also offered a three-hour training session in autism mandated by the state for the certification of special-education administrators, supervisors and other educators. The research aims to establish more reliable diagnostic tools and new intervention strategies for first-year infants. Behavior analysis, Brown says, is a method of determining whether the technology works for a particular student in a particular situation.



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