By: International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES)
Over the last few months, a record number of Ohio educators and licensed professionals have applied for the Certified Autism Specialist certification. The main reason for the huge surge in applications is parents are demanding teachers, licensed professionals, and even para professionals have the latest training available when dealing with their children.
Hope Boren is a Licensed Physical Therapist that works in the Reynoldsburg school system and recently completed her Certified Autism Specialist certification. She said the reason she became certified was “to help the parents of my students feel confident that we, as a team, can address and meet their child’s needs.” She also noted that the field of Autism is changing so fast that it is nearly impossible for anyone to consider themselves an expert, but adding the C.A.S credential to her resume shows her peers and parents that she personally goes above and beyond her basic professional requirements to get the latest training in Autism.
With the rapid advances in medical research and new innovative therapies, things are changing at a lightning pace in the field of Autism. Megan, a veteran special education teacher in the Cleveland area, noted that “the reason I became a Certified Autism Specialist is because the university level course I took on Autism five years ago was no longer relevant. Without making Autism part of my continuing education plan, I never had confidence in my ability to work with children with Autism.”
Autism certification programs come in a variety of different formats, from multi-year university sponsored programs that cost over $40K, to simple weekend training classes. It is imperative to note that none of these options will make you an expert on Autism, and the only way to stay well versed in the field is to make it a part of your continuing education program. Megan from Cleveland noted that the best way for her to deliver quality instruction in the classroom and give her students’ parents the confidence they demand was for her to attend state and national level conferences. This professional development allowed her to be exposed to the latest medical innovations and continually update her knowledge in the field. While over last five years she has regularly given up her summer vacation with her family to attend these conferences, until now she never had anything to show for her hard work.
Over the last five years, one of the largest and fastest growing Autism certification programs is run by The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (www.ibcces.org). Their program is purely a certification program so it does not include the actual training, but it is designed to recognize educators, licensed professionals and even para-professionals for their knowledge in the field of Autism. Among other things, the program is based on the applicant’s formal education, current work experience, and the continuing education in the field of Autism.
While the precipitate incidence of Autism in Ohio is on par with the other 49 states, Ohio has long been a front runner in the training and the treatment of Autism. The state’s proactive measures may explain the rapid surge in Certified Autism Specialists in the state, but no one can know for sure. The one thing we do know is that when parents are confident in both the teachers and the schools ability to care for the needs of their children, the students get a better education, fewer lawsuits are filed, and everyone wins.