CGU Receives Grant to Begin Professionally Integrated Graduate-Level Certificate Program in Autism

The School of Education’s Teacher Education Internship Program received a $28,230 grant from the Change Happens Foundation to support a certificate program for the professional development of service providers in the field of autism and autism research. The three-course program is the only of its kind at the graduate level, and is greatly needed, as there has been a huge increase in autism diagnosis.

Claremont, CA, August 22, 2009 --( The certificate was designed to bring together an array of experts and educators from a variety of fields (medicine, education, psychology, allied health fields, and family services) to develop and examine the latest, most effective techniques of providing services to children with autism. Therefore, professionals, clinicians, teachers, administrators, and even parents would benefit from taking the course.

It is estimated that 1 child in 150 is now born with a form of autism. CGU hopes the new program will create informed autism specialists at a time when qualified teachers, health care providers, and case workers are at a critical low.

“The complexity of autism and the range of issues invoked in its effective treatment demand a new and comprehensive knowledge-set that even well-trained teachers and therapists often do not have,” said Jeanne Fryer of CGU, who is the project’s director. “Current and developing avenues of research and service delivery will be explored from different perspectives to create a new understanding of what works best, thus making positive change happen.”

“This support is especially gratifying since it will help the TEIP pursue its most important goal: the creation of highly-skilled teachers in high-need areas,” said Margaret Grogan, Dean of the School of Educational Studies.

The funding will support partial tuition for five student-professionals. CGU's Office of Teacher Education will match the grant to bring the first cohort of supported students to ten. Additionally, districts will contribute towards tuition costs as well as the availability of federal funding for Master’s degrees in Special Education. Other collaborators in the design and administration of the program will include Casa Colina Rehabilitation Hospital, Claremont McKenna College’s Claremont Autism Center, the Pomona San Gabriel Regional Hospital, and the West End Selpa, a regional education support resource for schools districts and families.

The program—which consists of three separate four-unit courses—has been designed to meet the California Commission on Teacher Accreditation standards. Accreditation pending and expected in Spring, 2010.

Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability, with diagnoses increasing 172% since 1990. Individuals with autism suffer a variety of educational delays and behavioral issues that exclude them from participating fully in society. Research shows the annual cost of autism to be $90 billion; however, early diagnosis and intervention can reduce the costs of lifelong care by two-thirds, while helping people to live fuller, healthier lives.

CGU’s TEIP has been a very successful program. For example, 95% of CGU TEIP graduates are still teaching after five years, as compared to the state average of 50%. In the most recent Teacher Education Cohort, 71% of students were from historically underrepresented populations and 46% spoke a second language other than English.
About Claremont Graduate University

Founded in 1925, Claremont Graduate University is one of the top graduate schools in the United States. Our nine academic schools conduct leading-edge research and award masters and doctoral degrees in 22 disciplines. Because the world’s problems are not simple nor easily defined, diverse faculty and students research and study across the traditional discipline boundaries to create new and practical solutions for the major problems plaguing our world. A Southern California based graduate school devoted entirely to graduate research and study, CGU boasts a low student-to-faculty ratio.

About the School of Educational Studies
Based at Claremont Graduate University in Southern California, its program is in one of the top-ranked Schools in Education in California. Its teacher training programs prepare teachers in urban leadership, special education, and administration, offering both PhD and masters degrees.

Claremont Graduate University
Nikolaos Johnson