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News Release


UAlbany's Distance Learning Autism Program One of Five Worldwide Approved for Professional Certification

Contact: Heidi Weber (518) 437-4980

ALBANY, N.Y. (September 3, 2003) -- The University at Albany's autism program is now one of only five programs in the world approved by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board Inc. (BACB) to offer a distance learning course sequence that applies toward certification. The BACB is a nonprofit corporation established to meet professional credentialing needs identified by behavior analysts, state governments and consumers of behavior analysis services.

UAlbany's Center for Autism and Related Disabilities offers the courses through its Autism Distance Education Network, a three-course certificate program focused on the education of children with autism and related disabilities. Students who complete the course sequence will be eligible to take the Board Certified Associate Behavior Analyst Examination.

According to Dr. Kristin Christodulu, director of UAlbany's Center for Autism and Related Disabilities, "We're pleased to receive the BACB certification because UAlbany's autism courses will help to fill a need in the Northeast for more professionals to work with children with autism. New York has less than 100 BACB certified professionals, whereas states such as Florida have close to 750 and are still looking for more dedicated and qualified specialists."

Launched in 1999, UAlbany's certificate program originally included students at 13 university classrooms and health centers across the state who watched lectures through videoconferencing technology. The program has grown rapidly. Now, more than 500 special and regular education teachers, school psychologists, speech professionals, physical and occupational therapists, paraprofessionals, teacher assistants and aides and parents have completed parts of this sequence. Three credits per course are offered at both the undergraduate and graduate level.

A Snapshot of UAlbany's Autism Courses

Autism I - Foundation Course and Autism II - Introduction to Intervention are being offered this Fall as online courses. The lectures will be available as RealPlayer files and linked to UAlbany's Web site or on CDs. In addition, the syllabus, course notes and sample exam questions will be available for downloading. Autism I includes an overview of autism and related disorders, including discussion of diagnostic issues, philosophical issues, research on the biological and psychosocial bases of the disorders, as well as an overview of intervention techniques and legal issues. The basic principles of behavior analysis are covered.

Autism II provides students with an in-depth knowledge of the empirically validated techniques used to treat children with autism. Highlighted are programmatic efforts to improve language/communication and social skills and related research on reducing problem behavior.

Autism III - Practicum in Intervention parallels the Introduction to Intervention course and involves students engaged in practicum experiences with children having autism. Students are supervised as they work with children with this disorder and are required to design and implement a series of plans.

For more information, visit

Established in 1844 and designated a center of the State University of New York in 1962, the University at Albany's broad mission of excellence in undergraduate and graduate education, research and public service engages 17,000 diverse students in eight degree-granting schools and colleges. The University is engaged in a $500 million fundraising campaign, the most ambitious in its history, with the goal of placing it among the nation's top 30 public research universities by the end of the decade. For more information about this nationally ranked University, visit

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