Kennebec Valley Community College in central Maine will now offer an Associate in Applied Science in Autism Spectrum Disorder Studies, according to a story in the local Morning Sentinel. The 62-credit-hour program is now enrolling for the summer and fall; in the summer, one course will be offered online, the newspaper reported.
The degree program includes coursework in language development, educating children with disabilities, psychology, biology, sociology, working with families of those with autism, and several courses on the autism spectrum.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one in 88 children has an autism spectrum disorder—up from one in 110 children in 2006 and up from one in 150 children in 2000.
The college is not the first to offer a degree program in autism studies, but many degree programs that study the disorder are at the graduate level, such as the online master’s degree in curriculum and instruction- autism studies option available at the University of Massachusetts, the post-baccalaureate certificate in autism through Penn State Online, and a Master of Science in Autism Studies through the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
The Kennebec degree program is aptly-timed: April is National Autism Awareness Month. News about the disorder continues to be released. Reuters reported April 9 that a study shows autism is more prevalent among children whose mothers were obese during pregnancy; Time reported April 5 that a new study links the age of fathers with risk of children being born with the disorder.