To the Editor:
We read with interest the Commentary titled “Where Are The Autism Teaching Competencies?” (Sept. 21, 2011). The teaching program developed by the authors is very interesting, and we applaud their work. With the increasing incidence of autism spectrum disorders, we are in complete agreement that educators need training and competencies to more effectively educate this population.
We would like to bring attention to the Initial and Advanced Teacher Knowledge and Skills Standards that were incorporated in 2009 into the Council for Exceptional Children’s resource on highly qualified teachers, titled “What Every Special Educator Needs to Know” and endorsed by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.
Based on a comprehensive review of evidence-based practices, these professional competencies contain the knowledge and skills essential for professionals entering practice or assuming advanced roles in instruction of students with autism spectrum disorders. They were developed through a grant from the Autism Society with support from the Network of Autism Training and Technical Assistance Programs and the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence. Families with a member on the autism spectrum, as well as individuals on the spectrum, were integral to the development of these standards.
These knowledge and skills standards are incorporated into the Autism Internet Modules (www.autisminternetmodules.org) available through the Ohio center at no cost to users. We encourage your readers to visit these competencies.
Brenda Smith Myles
Brenda Smith Myles is a consultant with the Ziggurat Group, a private practice based in Plano, Texas, that specializes in assessing autism spectrum disorders. Cathy Pratt is the director of the Indiana Resource Center for Autism at the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community, located at Indiana University.
A version of this article appeared in the October 12, 2011 edition of Education Week as Writers Highlight CEC Spec. Ed. Resource