Skip to Main Content

Austism Spectrum Disorders Track

The Occupational Therapy Doctorate, Autism Spectrum Disorders Track, is made up of 8 core courses and 4 elective courses for a total of 36 credits. It is designed for students interested in advancing their practice to specialize in the treatment of clients with autism spectrum disorders. Students completing this track will have the credentials to teach in most OT and OTA programs. The courses are offered completely online. Please see below for descriptions of the courses.

Curriculum & Schedules

Code Course Name Credit Hours
ABA501 The Science of ABA: Concepts and Principles 3

This course introduces the philosophical assumptions and dimensions of the science of applied behavior analysis, including determinism, empiricism, parsimony, selectionism, pragmatism, and lawfulness of behavior. Students define key terms related to applied behavior analysis, the scientific principles of behavior, and behavioral technologies. Students differentiate between environmental and mentalistic explanations of behavior, and between conceptual, experimental, and applied analyses of behavior. This course provides students with a basic understanding of the application of behavior analysis to a wide variety of human conditions and severely disabling conditions. Students will learn the history of ABA and be introduced to the use of behavioral principles to increase and decrease behavior. The science of ABA can provide a framework for assessing a variety of children and adolescents, for designing, implementing, and evaluating IEP’s, for maintaining children in general education settings, and for assuring generalization and maintenance. Examples of educational strategies relying on behavioral principles for effective implementation will be discussed including reinforcement procedures, token economy procedures, stimulus control procedures, such as modeling and other forms of prompting, self-management procedures, and augmentative and assistive technologies.

OTD701 Utilization of Research in Evidence Based Practice 3

Examination of the research process, statistical analysis, and evidence based practice with applicability to advanced occupational therapy practice. Attention is given to critical research methods, analysis, and ethical aspects of scholarly inquiry. Emphasis on how research contributes to the development of occupational therapy knowledge, improves practice, and enhances the education and professional accountability of occupational therapy practitioners.

OTD702 Application of Occupational Science 3

This course explores advanced clinical applications of the occupational therapy practice framework as well as descriptive, relational, predictive, and prescriptive aspects of occupational science with a focus on application to advanced occupational therapy clinical practice.

OTD703 Community Practice, Program Development, and Entrepreneurship 3

This course discusses the foundation, theoretical framework, and role of occupational therapy in community practice. This course also thoroughly explores the program development process, entrepreneurship, and business fundamentals in occupational therapy.

OTD704 Bioethics 3

This course provides an opportunity for students to assess ethical and legal issues confronting occupational therapy practitioners and other healthcare providers in a variety of practice settings, focusing on the identification and analysis of legal and ethical concepts and principles underlying occupational therapy and health care. The course focuses on ethical concepts, theories, and values applied in ethical decision-making that are related to a variety of ethical dilemmas in health and social settings.

OTD705 Leadership & Advocacy 3

This course explores leadership theory and application to current and future practice. Students also examine advocacy in the occupational therapy profession. Current issues and trends in the occupational therapy field are discussed.

OTD797 Capstone Professional Writing and Proposal 3

Students focus on professional writing skills and clinical reasoning to develop a proposal for their capstone project. Through participation in this course, students will identify relevant issues impacting occupational therapy in their specialty area. A literature review into a specific area of inquiry and a detailed proposal for implementation, evaluation, and dissemination of the capstone project will be completed.

OTD798 Capstone Project Implementation and Evaluation 3

The purpose of this course is to demonstrate advanced skills in evidence-based occupational therapy practice. Students will implement and evaluate a project that reflects an identified area of need. The course is conducted in a seminar format with students working independently, but engaging in online discussions with faculty and students.

OTD799 Capstone Project Dissemination 3

Students further synthesize outcomes of the capstone project and will demonstrate their understanding of advanced occupational therapy concepts. Dissemination of findings from the capstone project will be completed with a focus on demonstrating skills as a clinical scholar.

SPE546 Teaching Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders 3

This course focuses on children with autism and examines the variety of exceptionalities and special needs of these children, emphasizing the development of collaborative partnerships among educators, clinicians, and (especially) parents and families. Neurobiological, psychological, educational, social, and emotional factors will be addressed. Specialized teaching strategies, techniques, and environmental/curriculum modifications for children with autism will be studied, including strategies for successful inclusion.

SPE552 Problem Solving and Program Analysis in Autism 3

This course will provide students with in depth knowledge of research-based teaching programs. Participants will learn the scientific cycle of assessment- planning-implementation-evaluation, acquire tools to participate effectively in cross-disciplinary teams and to collaborate with families of students with autism, and have the opportunity to reflect about collaborating with families when developing and implementing teaching programs. Established programs and professional resources will be presented to increase the knowledge of available educational options.

SPE560 Advanced Techniques and Process for Behavior Change 3

During this course, students will review and demonstrate a repertoire of planning, teaching, and supervision skills in programs for learners with autism. Designed as a practical and in-depth review of key behavioral instruction procedures tailored to the unique learning needs of students with autism, the course helps students demonstrate and evaluate methods of instruction. Presented in a highly visual, engaging, and step-by-step manner, course materials help students practice the cycle of evaluation, implementation, and analysis in areas such as communication and social behavior. Students learn how to perform some key aspects of teaching more deeply and effectively with models, “how to” fidelity checklists, and practice exercises. The examples and activities provide practical ways to set up, implement, and monitor educational programs. Special emphasis will include practice on reducing a problem behavior and learning to supervise others as they implement programs.