Kennebec Valley Community College in Maine is launching a two-year degree in autism spectrum disorder studies this fall.
Martha Naber, education program coordinator at KVCC, said the program is important for the health of families and communities.
As the prevalence of Autism rises, so does the need for educators to have a thorough understanding of those autism spectrum disorders. Naber said the courses will be helpful for a host of people, including education technicians, teachers in search of recertification credits, health-care workers and family members.
“Each person on the spectrum is unique,” she said. “There is no one method (of teaching). One (child) might be very verbal and one might not have any language. One might flap their arms and one might not at all. One might be highly sensitive to light and another might be sensitive to sounds.”
Courses in the college’s 62-credit program include Working with Family Members, Language Development, Data Collection, and Assisted Technology.
Kennebec Valley Community College President Barbara Woodlee said the college is reacting to the needs of the community.
“KVCC has always adapted its program offerings to meet changing workforce needs, and the addition of a two-year autism degree is both timely and appropriate given the college’s experience in autism education and the significant increase in autism diagnosis nationwide,” she said.
Two courses for the degree will be offered this summer, according to Jonathan Humphrey, media specialist at the college. One will be available statewide through interactive television sites and one will be available online.