Texas Tech University

Burkhart Center Offers Free, Online Professional Development for Educators of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Robert Stein

June 30, 2020

The new professional development experiences cover applied behavior analysis and are funded by a $460,000 grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

To equip more Texas educators with the skills to effectively work with students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the Burkhart Center for Autism Education & Research at Texas Tech University is offering a new slate of free, online professional development opportunities.

The offerings are available through the Burkhart Center's Teacher Training Institute and are designed for Texas educators interested in additional training in applied behavior analysis (ABA):

  • Online registered behavior technician (RBT) training, a six-week course that prepares educators for paraprofessional certification as an RBT.
  • Online supervised fieldwork experiences for educators who are seeking certification as a board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA) but are unable to secure fieldwork experience in a school setting.
  • Online functional behavioral assessment (FBA) workshops, which prepare education professionals to conduct behavior assessments and develop effective intervention plans for students with ASD.

All levels of educators in public education throughout Texas are welcome to apply. More information and directions for applying can be found online.

The three new professional development offerings are funded by a $460,000 grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's (THECB) Autism Grant Program. Researchers at the Burkhart Center developed the training models, which all incorporate personalized coaching and feedback from the Burkhart Center's expert faculty and staff.

Researchers hope the online professional development courses ultimately will give many more Texas teachers the ability to apply evidence-based ABA principles and strategies in the classroom. ABA is widely considered the "gold standard" in ASD treatment.

"Many times, educators in the public school system want to continue their education and learn more about utilizing applied behavior analysis in a school setting, but they find it difficult to find an expert to provide the supervision and oversight in this particular setting," said Jennifer Hamrick, the grant project director and an assistant professor and BCBA in the Burkhart Center. "With these new offerings, we will be able to provide high-quality training and guidance from faculty and staff who have extensive experience in school settings."