September 4, 2008

University of Central Oklahoma Offers Training for Treating Autism

The University of Central Oklahoma has established a training program for the treatment of autism.

Students completing the program can become board-certified behavior analysts specializing in autism.

A result of Senate Bill 2071, the Integrated Behavior Analysis program was developed after the Legislature approved Senate Bill 2071, an initiative to create a training system in Oklahoma to meet the needs of autistic children.

Mary Sweet-Darter, UCO psychology professor and head of the team that created the program, said the program is not just for teachers, but also is for professionals who typically interface with the service delivery system surrounding children with autism such as special educators, school psychologists, speech and language pathologists, licensed professional counselors and early childhood specialists.

"It is our hope that providing a network of board-certified behavior analysts will help teachers and schools better serve their children within the autistic spectrum," she said.

"Children within the spectrum require specialized therapeutic intervention and research clearly demonstrates that intervening with very young children is the most effective way to address the autism epidemic."

The UCO program is not a degree program and does not lead to any kind of graduate or undergraduate degree. A master's degree is required in order to qualify to take the national exam to become a board-certified behavior analyst.

Twenty-eight students are registered for the UCO program's fall semester inaugural class. The state Department of Education is offering tuition reimbursement to those who will be working within the Oklahoma public schools system.

Originally published by Journal Record Staff.

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