Autism Spectrum Disorders (School-Based), Graduate Certificate

Department of Educational Specialties

College of Education

This plan is no longer offered at the Flagstaff Campus. 

This certificate plan is appropriate if you desire specialized training in autism spectrum disorders for school-based populations.

This plan will not be available to new students after Summer 2024

    • Graduate certificate programs require a minimum of 12 credit hours. Many graduate certificate programs require more than 12 credit hours.
    • No more than one 400-level NAU course (3 - 4 units) may be used on a graduate certificate program.
    • No more than twenty-five percent of the units required for the certificate program may be transferred from another university.
    • A 400-level course (undergraduate course) completed at another university is not eligible for transfer credit.
    • A minimum grade point average of 3.0 must be achieved to obtain a graduate certificate. No more than three units of coursework with a Grade of "C" may be used in a certificate program.
    • A graduate student may pursue a graduate certificate concurrently with a graduate degree. Each graduate degree program must decide which, if any, certificate courses can be counted toward the graduate degree.
    • Students who are admitted to a graduate certificate program will be eligible for the official posting of the graduate certificate to their transcripts when all applicable coursework has been successfully completed and approved by the academic unit and the Graduate College.
  • Please be aware that federal financial aid is not available for some certificates, if the certificate is pursued and completed as a stand-alone certificate (i.e., not completed concurrently with a degree program).  See the “Details” tab for additional information.

In addition to University Requirements:

  • Complete individual plan requirements.

Students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

Minimum Units for Completion 15
Additional Admission Requirements

Individual program admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.

Fieldwork Experience/Internship Fieldwork Experience/Internship is required.
Some online/blended coursework Required

Purpose Statement

Graduate Certificate program in Autism Spectrum Disorders prepares students to provide leadership to school and/or agency teams in order to meet the needs of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders in the school setting.  As the number of autism diagnoses continues to climb, the demand for professionals with the knowledge and understanding of the characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorders and the ability to adapt teaching and learning environments to support these students has become a strong need in the educational professions.  In our program, teachers and leaders of elementary and secondary institutions learn how to plan and develop meaningful instruction and assessment by using evidence-based instructional strategies that support these students in their classroom and social environments.  Our students also learn how to remain on top of their field, using the most current research to adapt their teaching and leadership practices for students having Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Student Learning Outcomes

Understand the Characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • Articulate awareness of etiological factors related to autism during discussions with parents and staff.
  • Interpret and relay current research findings related to autism in lay person terms or jargon free language.
  • Describe the core and associated characteristics of individuals with ASD.
  • Identify information regarding co-existing conditions.
Engage in Assessment Practices as Part of a School Team
  • Apply knowledge of legal guidelines and ethical standards for assessment.
  • Collect and review pre-referral intervention data.
  • Use procedures and instruments to screen and evaluate for ASD eligibility and determine needs.
  • Ascertain the needs of an individual in the areas of communication, social and emotional understanding, learning style, and self-care skills to guide interventions.
  • Continually evaluate and document progress on IEP goals and objectives using:
    • rating scales;
    • observations based on frequency, duration or amplitude of behaviors;
    • observations based on correct responding, errors and adult prompts;
    • observations based on level of independent performance; and
    • interviews with key informants (families, teachers, peers).
Plan for Effective and Meaningful Instruction
  • Apply principles of LRE in the education of students with autism through adapting tests and testing situations; modifying and augmenting curriculum; identifying and supporting general education settings; and developing and implementing peer support programs.
  • Extract key information from assessments and educational records in order to inform future practices.
  • Accurately collect and interpret data to document outcomes for students with ASD, and make necessary changes in programming when indicated with the family and team.
  • Write objectives, plan instruction, and evaluate progress across domains and disciplinary areas collaboratively.
  • Embed individualized goals, objectives, teaching strategies, and supports across settings to meet both IEP mandates and content standards.
  • Prepare social environments to include and support individuals with ASD.
  • Share a thorough profile of the individual with ASD’s environmental, sensory, social, communication, and support needs; and strengths and emerging skills, with their family, and the current and future educational team(s).
Understand and Utilize Evidence-Based Instructional Strategies
  • Implement and design instructional strategies/interventions, ranging from adult directed to embedded, that promote the generalization of skills across domains and settings.
  • Demonstrate consistent use of proactive strategies and positive behavioral supports for individuals with ASD.
  • Implement and model effective evidence-based teaching strategies, such as task analysis, prompting, fading, chaining, shaping and reinforcement strategies to teach and facilitate the generalization of skills.
  • Conduct functional behavioral assessments (FBA) to determine what motivates and maintains a challenging/interfering behavior, and based on the functional behavior assessment, develop a methodologically sound and ethical behavior intervention plan, which teaches socially acceptable replacement behavior that meets the student’s needs.
  • Use effective teaching strategies for individuals with ASD, such as environmental manipulation, visual supports, social modeling, peer supports, inclusive practices.
  • Develop and implement an effective communication skills program for individuals with autism.
Engage in Professional Development and Collaborative Professional Practice
  • Understand the importance of professional development for staying current in the field of autism.
  • Examine the underlying theory and application of an intervention and how it does or does not apply to a particular individual.
  • Have a solid understanding of evidence-based practices for individuals with ASD and convey that understanding effectively to parents and other professionals.
  • Access current legal resources related to the education of individuals with ASD.
  • Effectively collaborate with and coach others on how to implement evidence-based practices.
  • Give and receive constructive feedback.
  • Provide structure and on-going training and support to paraprofessionals.

Additional Admission Requirements
  • Individual program admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.

  • The NAU graduate online application is required for all programs. Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.

    Admission requirements include the following:

    • Transcripts.
    • Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution with a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale ("A" = 4.0), or the equivalent.

    Visit the NAU Graduate Admissions website for additional information about graduate school application deadlines, eligibility for study, and admissions policies.

    Ready to apply? Begin your application now.

    International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy.

    • Prerequisites (may be completed concurrently with the program)
      • Introduction to Special Education or Foundations of Special Education in Low Incidence Disabilities
    • Responses to specific essay questions
    • Prior experience in the field
    • IVP Fingerprint Clearance Card
Certificate Requirements
  • Take the following 15 units:

    If you are from a disability-related field, you may complete this plan as part of your graduate studies or as a stand-alone certificate.

  • This certificate may be pursued and completed concurrently with a degree program or as a stand-alone certificate. Federal financial aid cannot be used if the certificate is completed as a stand-alone certificate.

  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.