M.Ed. in Special Education-Focus Autism Spectrum Disorders and Related Developmental Delays and Disabilities

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1 in 54 8-year-old children were identified as having ASD in 2016. (ADDM Network, 2020); over half are classified as having an intellectual disability or borderline intellectual disability and this rate of autism has steadily grown over the last twenty years.  According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), a guide created by the American Psychiatric Association used to diagnose mental disorders, people with ASD have: 


  1. Difficulty with communication and interaction with other people
  2. Restricted interests and repetitive behaviors
  3. Symptoms that hurt the person’s ability to function properly in school, work, and other areas of life.

Autism is known as a “spectrum” disorder because there is wide variation in the type and severity of symptoms people experience.ASD is reported to occur in all racial, ethnic and economic groups.

Recognizing the increasing impact on our schools and families, the ISECY, in the Counseling, Higher Education and Special Education Department offers this graduate program that reaches out beyond UMD’s flagship center to surrounding Maryland local educational agencies to offer a M.Ed. in Special Education with a focus on ASD and Related Developmental Delays and Disabilities to special educators, general educators, related service providers, and others working in the community in the area of developmental disabilities.  Graduate students receive advanced training in the areas of:

  1. Knowledge and skills in the core & associated characteristics of individuals with ASD and related developmental disabilities;  
  2. Identification and use of evidence-based methods and practices to increase academic, behavior, and self-determination in students with ASD and students with related developmental delays and disabilities;
  3. Knowledge about Social-Communication Challenges and Use of Strategies for students with ASD or others requiring alternative & augmentative communication (AAC) systems for persons with complex communication needs;
  4. Skills to increase behavior and classroom management to support students with ASD and related developmental delays and disabilities;

Visit the program page for more information*