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 who graduate 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. 

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.


Photo of Terry Falcomata

Terry Falcomata, 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.

Photo of Christina Fragale

Christina Fragale, BCBA-D

Clinical Assistant Professor

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

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.

Our Alumni

Mandy Rispoli

Associate Professor and Co-director of the Purdue Autism Cluster at Purdue University Mandy Rispoli was selected as a winner of Purdue’s inaugural Trailblazer Mid-Career Faculty Research Award this spring in recognition of her research in the field of special education. She was supervised by Mark O'Reilly while she worked on her Ph.D. Learn more about her work and the award