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Typical Plan of Study

The Clinical Practice Component: The program takes a comprehensive longitudinal case study approach to ASD nursing care.

In collaboration with faculty and preceptors at the clinical sites, students identify a family as a client and interact with the child, family members, care team, etc. for the duration of the course. Principles learned in the didactic components are applied. Students must satisfactorily complete didactic and clinical components. Each student will have a clinical experience on day per week (6 hours) for one semester. The clinical semester can be flexible based on the needs of the student. Nurses acquire didactic content and clinical experience in caring for individuals with ASD. Teaching methods include lectures, seminars, interactive discussions, case-based learning, independent guided studies and clinical fieldwork. Course faculty has extensive experience in assessment and providing care across the lifespan. Students interact with clinicians, epidemiologists, and scientists who are nationally recognized in the fields of education, nursing, and behavioral health.

Year 1:


Autism Spectrum Disorder: Prevalence, Etiology, Screening and Assessment

Through classroom and clinical experiences, this course provides an overview of the public health problem of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Content addresses the natural history, etiology, rising prevalence, risk factors, and core features. Changes in prevalence statistics and possible causes are outlineThese subjects are described in general terms for an overall picture of the disorder. Taking a developmental approach, students begin case management and follow a family through screening, diagnosis and treatment planning. Key information is elaborated through case studies. The course highlights the important and evolving role of nurses in the care of people with ASD. Content is supported by the scientific literature. Students’ clinical experiences startthe identification of and collaborative work with a family that has a young chiwith ASD. The student follows that family and the child through diagnosis, treatments and long term planning. This case approach allows the student to work with the same family over the entire post-masters program to learn the value of interdisciplinary, contiguous care.


Health and Behavioral Care Planning and Intervention for Autism Spectrum Disorder

Through classroom and clinical experiences, this course focuses on the application of various treatment approaches to the management of acute and chronic problems of autism spectrum disorder. Approaches to behavioral, psychological and medical co-morbidities are explored, practiced and evaluated. Students’ clinical experiences build on the previous semester and continue with the application of class instruction to patient and family care. The student works closely with behaviorists, psychologists and occupational therapists to integrate nursing care planning with other services. This case approach continues, and exposure to a second family is added to expand learning opportunities and develop nursing services.


Leadership, Advocacy, and the Practice of Integrated Nursing Care of ASD

Emphasis is on the synthesis of course content practice. Through classroom and clinical experiences, students critically examine the role of nursing in the life-long care of people with ASD, and identify ways to expand the scope of nursing care for this vulnerable population. Students explore the availability of services in the community and discuss approaches to patient advocacy. Students have opportunities to select an area of specialization to develop specific practice expertise. Such areas are Diagnosis and Referral Practices (e.g. ADOS Training), Behavioral Therapy Training (e.g. Applied Behavioral Analysis), and clinical research. Practical issues of collaboration and reimbursement for services are explored. Students’ clinical experiences are designed to facilitate scholarship, independence and advanced specialization in a chosen component of ASD care, for example, behavioral analysis, screening and/or diagnosis, or an agenda for research. Students identify and implement an independent project.