Autism & Developmental Disabilities

A young woman works with an autistic boy while sitting on a sofa.

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Area Co-Coordinator
Mark O'Reilly

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Area Co-Coordinator
Terry Falcomatta

The Department of Special Education offers master’s (M.Ed., M.A.) and doctoral (Ph.D.) degrees with a concentration in Autism and Developmental Disabilities (A&DD). Our program curricula are Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) approved and many who graduate become Board Certified Behavior Analysts at the master’s (BCBA) or doctoral (BCBA-D) level. Training in these programs emphasize academic foundations in:

  • education and treatment of individuals with A&DD,
  • use of scientist-practitioner methods,
  • development of research skills so that graduates can contribute new knowledge on assessment and treatment practices,
  • competent, ethical, and multicultural practice.

Coursework and research are led by expert faculty to provide a rich understanding of the design, implementation, and evaluation of effective services offered to those with autism and related developmental disabilities. 

Graduates from the AD&D program are qualified for several careers in the field of special education. Our alumni are employed as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapists, special education teachers, professors in universities, behavioral consultants, and director-level administrators.


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Terry Falcomata, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Associate Professor, Graduate Advisor

Focuses primarily on the assessment and treatment of severe challenging behavior displayed by individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities.

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Christina Fragale, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Clinical Assistant Professor

Works with culturally diverse individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders to assess and treat challenging behavior.

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Mark O'Reilly, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Department Chair, Professor

Audrey Rogers Myers Centennial Professorship in Education

Assesses and supports individuals with intellectual disabilities and develops social skill/communication interventions for children with ASD.

In the Spotlight

Woman sitting in a chair.

Game Changers: Autism and Developmental Disabilities

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's latest report estimates that 1 in 68 U.S. children has an autism spectrum disorder. Those are daunting numbers, but there is hope.

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Q&A on Challenging Behavior with Dr. Terry Falcomata

Dr. Falcomata’s involvement with education stretches back to his days as a seventh-grade language arts teacher. But it wasn’t until he tackled his master’s work in behavior analysis and training that he developed a passion for the research he currently pursues.