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Friday, August 22, 2008

UCO Masters Degree To Prepare Students To Specialize In Helping Autistic Children



Media Advisory: UCO Masters Degree To Prepare Students To Specialize In Helping Autistic Children

Aug. 19, 2008

Contact: Adrienne Nobles, Director of Communications and Marketing, University of Central Oklahoma, (405) 974-2103, anobles@ucok.edu

MEDIA ADVISORY: NEW UCO MASTERS DEGREE FIRST IN STATE TO PREPARE STUDENTS TO SPECIALIZE IN HELPING AUTISTIC CHILDREN

WHEN: 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 20

WHERE: UCO Education Building, Room 204

WHAT: Beginning this fall semester, UCO will offer Oklahoma's first master's degree to prepare students to become nationally Board Certified Behavior Analysts who specialize in autism.

Before the first class in the new program begins on Aug. 20, UCO officials will join with State Senator Clark Jolley and State Representative Marion Cooksey and representatives from the Oklahoma Autism Coalition to celebrate this advancement in higher education and the treatment of autism.

The development of this program is in response to an initiative by the Oklahoma State Legislature to create a training system in the state to meet the needs of the growing number of autistic children. It is estimated that one in 150 children in the United States will be diagnosed with autism.

Headed by Dr. Mary Sweet-Darter, UCO psychology professor, the specialized degree consists of six courses and will take two years to complete. Twenty-eight students are registered for the new program.

UCO is uniquely positioned to provide this training, given its roots as a teaching college and its College of Education and Professional Studies' emphasis on improving PK-12 education and long-standing history of specialty training in it's nationally-accredited Department of Psychology.

Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects a person's ability to communicate and interact with others. It is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a "spectrum disorder" that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is no known single cause for autism.

INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITIES:
UCO Administrative Officials
Program Faculty
State Senator Clark Jolley
State Representative Marion Cooksey
Representatives from Oklahoma Autism Coalition

Media Contacts
Adrienne Nobles (405) 974-2103

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