Thursday, April 24, 2008

Parents work on master's degrees to help their children with autism

The New York Times Education Life section focused on an Applied Behavior Analysis (A.B.A.) graduate program at Caldwell College in New Jersey, which is drawing parents of kids with autism to the program who want to gain the skills to help their children.

"Caldwell’s graduate program is the only one of its kind in New Jersey, a state known for pioneering autism education and advocacy," according to The New York Times. "New Jersey is home to the Princeton Child Development Institute and its many offspring, including a host of small private schools founded by parents committed to A.B.A. techniques. The state is thus a magnet for families from out of state looking for the best services for their children."

The article says that most of the parents in the program are focusing on the specific educational needs of kids with autism similar to their own.

"Martine Torriero, who has a 15-year-old son, hopes to run recreational and cultural programs for autistic teenagers," The NY Times reported." Delia O’Mahony, whose son is now 22, is interested in adult services, since children like hers 'fall off a cliff' when they are past school age.

"Diana Kelly, who used all her skills as a lawyer to get her two sons properly diagnosed and treated — each has a different variation of autism spectrum disorder — does private consulting for families and schools as she works toward her master’s degree. She hopes Caldwell will add a doctoral program, too."