Autism and Developmental Disabilities

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

Photo of Mark O'Reilly

Area Co-Coordinator
Mark O'Reilly

Photo of Terry Falcomatta

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 of our graduates become Board Certified Behavior Analysts at the master’s (BCBA) or doctoral (BCBA-D) level. (View the BCBA Exam Pass Rates for Verified Programs.) Training in these programs emphasizes 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. 

As a graduate of our AD&D program, you will be 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.


Photo of Terry Falcomata

Terry Falcomata, BCBA-D

Professor, Graduate Advisor

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

Photo of Christina Fragale

Christina Fragale, BCBA-D

Assistant Professor of Practice

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

Photo of Mark O'Reilly

Mark O'Reilly, BCBA-D, LBA

Professor & Department Chair

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

Laura Rojeski, BCBA-D

Assistant Professor of Practice

Engages in training and supervision of clinicians to support challenging behavior and transition, particularly for students with autism spectrum disorders.

Photo of Nigel Pierce

Program Alumna Recognized for Excellence in Teaching

Nigel P. Pierce, an assistant professor in the School of Education at North Carolina Central University, engages in the development of culturally competent educators who recognize educational disparities and who are willing to advocate for children and families.