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Autism Expertise

Autism expertise The lack of a specialized state program for licensing teachers to instruct autistic children worries some local parents and educators By Paris Achen Mail Tribune Autism — the fastest-growing disability among the state's schoolchildren — demands specialized instruction with intervention specifically tailored for the disorder's complex variety of manifestations, experts say. Yet, Oregon, like most other states, neither requires nor offers an autism credential to special education teachers and autism specialists. More: http://www.mailtribune.com/archive/2007/0326/local/stories/mon_autismendorsement.htm

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Good find Stacy. Here is another interesting quote from the story:
Licensure is tied to neither program. Autism specialists who aid teachers in coming up with interventions for children may have no formal training in autism other than what is required under a general special education teaching license, though most have on-the-job experience.
I went to an autism school district conference in Corvallis about 4 years ago. One class was on how the district had a school with a Positive Behavior Supports program that was being successful. The speaker was the "behavior specialist" for the entire elementary school. She seemed somewhat competent and very excited about what they were doing. But when asked for her credentials, she said she had a BS in English. She was neither a regular teacher, special ed teacher, school psychologist, or a certified behavior analyst. Hmmm. Oregon really should stop being a dog in the manger on behavioral issues and behavior plans for kids that have issues and need plans. The system is not setup with competent behaviorists (certified or not) and they refuse to contract with behavior analysts, especially certified ones. Although I have heard of a contract here and there, competent behavior analysts are woefully not used. If the state would hire or contract with certified behavior analyst they would increase their efficacy by a ton. Unfortunately it is not that easy as some parents would complain greatly. "Why, behavior analysis is torture and does not work!" Fact is, it can come in complete conflict with the eclectic systems already in place in Early Intervention and Special Education - namely, sensory integration and the developmental model of teaching. So although the article avoids naming the elephant in the room, I'll just come out and say it: Until we have competent behavior analysts we will continue to have "special education teachers [that are] generally inadequately prepared to teach students with autism." We'll never have a school system with ONLY behavior analysts but geez, shouldn't we have at least one or two in each district or even ESD? Right now, there are next to zero in the entire state: http://directinstruction.org/oregon http://directinstruction.org/bcba