Special Education

Resources Related to Autism

Teacher and Paraprofessional Training on Autism

Effective Practices in Education Programs for Students With Autism

Availability and Effectiveness of Preschool Programs For Children with Autism

Early Identification and Services

Teacher and Paraprofessional Training on Autism

In 2001, the Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities (VESID) of the New York State Education Department (NYSED) is pleased to announce it has awarded grants to 17 New York State colleges and universities to develop and deliver courses in autism. The goals of this initiative are:

  • to ensure that teacher and paraprofessional preparation programs throughout New York State include courses specific to the education of students with autism (preservice preparation programs); and
  • to ensure that courses are available to currently certified teachers, related service providers and paraprofessionals who are working with students with autism in this State on a non-matriculated basis (inservice training).

VESID Funds Support Development of Distance Education Network

The State University of New York at Albany has developed a certificate program focused on the Education of Children with Autism and Related Disorders to be offered across New York State through distance education. Possible participants in the coursework include special and regular education teachers, school psychologists, speech professionals, physical and occupational therapists, paraprofessionals, teacher assistants and aides and parents. The coursework will consist of a series of three courses (Autism I – Foundation Course; Autism II – Introduction to Intervention; Autism III – Practicum in Intervention).

The first of these courses were offered in the Fall 2001 at 11 sites throughout New York State. For additional information, see The Center for Autism and Related Disabilities external link.

Effective Practices in Education Programs for Students With Autism

VESID has established a goal of identifying and promoting the replication of quality education programs for students with autism. This initiative will involve three components:

  1. Development of Quality Indicators of Effective Programs for Students with Autism

The New York Autism Network has developed Autism Program Quality Indicators (APQI) based on a review of the literature and input and review by regional advisory groups and national experts. The APQI are being used extensively throughout New York State and nationally.  Requests for permission to use the APQI have been received from Indiana, Idaho, Louisiana, California, Hawaii, and Canada.

  1. The State Education Department’s Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities (VESID) has identified five schools with effective practices in instructional programs for school-age students with autism to receive grant funds to assist other schools to replicate their effective practices. Each of the selected schools demonstrated quality through a combination of written materials and on-site reviews based on the Autism Program Quality Indicators (APQI). .

Availability and Effectiveness of Preschool Programs for Children with Autism

Chapter 405 of the Laws of 1999 required the Department to conduct a study of the availability and effectiveness of preschool programs for children with autism. The State University of New York at Albany conducted this study through its grant activities relating to the New York Autism Network. The results of this study has been reported to the Governor and to the Legislature. 

A Report to the Board of Regents, The Governor and The New York State Legislature - March 2004

A copy of the full report may be found at the Westchester Institute for Human Development external link web site.

Early Identification and Services for Young Children With Autism

Current research supports the need for early identification of children with autism spectrum disorders and the provision of appropriate education programs and services to support their learning and development. Physicians and family care providers have a primary role in assisting families to identify the needs of their children in order to obtain appropriate supports. Some of the early signs that a child may have an autism spectrum disorder include:

  • no babbling or pointing or other gestures by 12 months of age;
  • no single words by age 16 months;
  • no two-word spontaneous (not echolalic) phrases by 24 months; and
  • any loss of any language or social skills at any age.

Families need to be connected to resources that will assist them in obtaining appropriate evaluation and services for their children. Parents may contact their local school district Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) for a no-cost evaluation of their child if they are concerned about the child’s learning.

Additional Resources:

Brochure - Identifying Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder - Information for Physicians ad Primary Health Care Providers 

Preschool Special Education Brochure

Early Childhood Direction Centers

Special Education Quality Assurance Regional Offices

Regional Special Education Technical Assistance Support Centers

New York City Parent Centers

Department of Healthexternal link

Last Updated: March 17, 2014