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Jan. 15, 2008
CONTACT: Ward Mullens

EMU adds master's degree in Autism Spectrum Disorders

YPSILANTI - Eastern Michigan University has created a new academic program focusing on Autism Spectrum Disorders. The new master’s degree program was approved by the Board of Regents at its regular meeting Jan. 15.

“In a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control one out of every 150 children is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD),” said Sally Burton-Hoyle, professor of special education at EMU.

While the number of diagnosed children is increasing, the same report indicates a shortage of special education personnel.

“There are estimated to be more than 1,000 unfilled special education teaching positions in Michigan,” Burton-Hoyle said. The personnel shortages noted in Michigan are also reflected in national data compiled by The American Association for Employment in Education. That report referred to a ‘considerable shortage’ in special education teachers.

“Obviously, this is a vital need and we want to help fill that need,” Burton-Hoyle said.

The 39-hour degree program is designed to prepare highly qualified special education teachers and allied professionals to meet the needs of preK-12 students with Autism Spectrum Disorders and their families.

The master of arts degree consists of a 12-credit core, common to all masters programs in special education, a nine-credit research component, and an 18-credit concentration in Autism Spectrum Disorders.

“It is anticipated that this program will admit its first 20 graduate students in the 2008-09 academic year. Within three years program enrollment is anticipated at 60 students,” said Burton-Hoyle.


Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.

Editor's Note: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU's Eastern Experts online at www.emich.edu/univcomm/easternexperts.

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