Program Mission and Philosophy:
Autism Spectrum Disorders
The WVU Autism Spectrum Disorders Program is designed to prepare professional educators who can provide quality early intervention, special education and adult rehabilitation services to individuals with an autism spectrum disorder from early childhood through adulthood. Graduates are prepared to work in developmentally appropriate and inclusive environments under the auspices of public school and other community agencies.
The program emphasizes the need to empower families to make decisions, to promote self-determination by individuals with an autism spectrum disorder through design of appropriate individualized interventions and provisions of appropriate supports, and to engage in individual and systems advocacy for individuals with an autism spectrum disorder and their families.
Because effective programs require services of professionals from a variety of disciplines, graduates are prepared to make necessary referrals to other agencies, serve on multidisciplinary intervention teams, interact with colleagues using a transdisciplinary team model and promote interagency collaboration in service delivery systems.
Autism specialists also must know current best, appropriate practices used in working with individuals with an autism spectrum disorder and be able to demonstrate application of evidence-based practices as exemplified by reputable research and professional standards.
Graduates are taught to engage in reflection in and on practice, including their own, and to respond responsibly to the legal, ethical, social, and cultural issues encountered when working with young children, children, adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorders in today’s world.
Children, adolescents, and adults with an autism spectrum disorder have a right to appropriate and adequate services to meet their needs in the home, inclusive preschool , inclusive school, and community settings.
Individuals with an autism spectrum disorder and their families should be empowered to make decisions about services and supports without undue interference from service providers.
Individuals with an autism spectrum disorder deserve programs that develop skills enabling them to participate fully in family, preschool, school, and community life and enjoy the civil rights and personal freedoms as responsible citizens in a free society.