Anyone who works or has worked with special needs individuals knows that it can be a very time-consuming developing an understanding of the disorder and the co-morbidities associated with the wide spectrum of Autism. The Global Autism Technology in Education (G.A.T.E) online program by Paine College, Augusta, USA (Sponsored by GTBank) was developed to provide therapists and caregivers the introduction, background, aptitude and skills needed to work effectively with this growing special needs population. The series is divided into four parts currently offered in fall, winter and spring with a portfolio project to allow the participant to present the how new acquired skills might be incorporated into their daily routines. Each part is comprised of four, two week sessions that have a very specific focus.

Part 1- Course I: What is Autism Spectrum Disorder: An Introduction

This is an overview of autism spectrum disorders. The course is an examination of the psychological, physiological, social, and educational characteristics of individuals who have been identified as having Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Included in the course are discussions of issues related to the definition and characteristics of learners with autism spectrum disorders, causes and prevalence of autism in the general United States population and in selected developing countries, special education services for ASD individuals, and early intervention therapies. In addition, students will learn how to write instructional objectives, long-term goals, individualized education programs, and instructional plans for children with ASD. This is a required course for this certificate program.

Introduction ASD

  • Understanding ASD
  • How To Document Daily Activities/Treatment
  • Characteristics of Autism
  • Understanding Co-morbidities associated with ASD

Part II - Course II – Social / Cultural Issues: The Treatment of Individuals with Autism and Special Needs

Become familiar with the ethical and cultural aspects with understanding how individuals with Autism and specials needs are managed in this society. Some discussion time will be devoted to examining rural and urban environments developed and developing regions and the various approaches to dealing and treatment protocols for individuals with ASD. Historical factors for why organizations dedicated to individuals with ASD developed Codes for Ethical behavior will be explored.

Ethics and Cultural Issues

  • How To Navigate Cultural Barriers
  • Developing a Global Perspective on Treatment of Special Needs Individual
  • Discussion on Rural and Urban Development Issues.

Part III- Course III – Alternative Communication Techniques and Literacy Acquisition for Non-Verbal Individuals

This course will be an overview of the methods and techniques used to help individuals with ASD communicate. Connections between reading, writing, communication and instruction, adaptive devices and software dedicated communication devices will be examined. The course will focus primarily on classroom use of American Sign Language application and its direct and indirect impact on the delivery of services for students with ASD.

Communication Techniques

  • Using sign language creatively
  • Developing a picture system to relay information
  • Assisting overall communication style with special needs individuals

Part IV - Course IV – Developing the Support Network for Special Needs Providers

New and Experienced special needs providers will benefit from this course by learning new strategies for motivating, managing and communicating the concerns of clients and consumers. Seasoned providers will gain new perspectives on their role for providing support to individuals with ASD. A portion of the course will be dedicated to exploring questions such as what happens with adult individuals with ASD and examining the unique stressors experienced by parents, extended family and caregivers.

Network Development Highlight

  • Building High Performance Teams
  • Mapping Possibilities for Adults
  • Effective Network Building

Part V - Course V - Portfolio Project: Techniques to Record Socialization and Therapy Progress

This course will examine best practices for the purposeful collection of work exhibiting the student / client's efforts, progress and achievements to demonstrate mastery of the benchmarks. The portfolio will also represent a collection of students' best work or best efforts, student-selected samples of work experiences related to outcomes being assessed, and documents according to growth and development toward mastering identified outcomes. 

Developing Components


  • Student participation in selecting contents and criteria for selection
  • Criteria for judging merits
  • Evidence of a student's self-reflection
  • Record keeping
  • Allows assessment flexibility targeting multiple intelligence/learning styles
  • Documenting therapy & program of behavior conditioning

Course Schedule