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Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders and Autism Spectrum Disorders:
UMD Continuing Education Launches Two Noncredit Certificates Geared Toward Caregivers

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UMD Continuing Education has launched two new noncredit certificates: Studies in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders and Studies in Autism Spectrum Disorders.  

Individuals who have been diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) or Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) face unique problems and have unique needs. Families, caregivers, and service providers may feel unequipped to meet the challenges they are presented with when caring for someone with a special diagnosis. UMD Continuing Education (CE) has designed two online noncredit certificates to provide practical strategies and information to those assisting someone living with FASD or ASD.

The Studies in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders certificate is a 22-hour online noncredit certificate, divided into four topic modules. Participants can go at their own pace and complete all of the modules to earn the certificate or enroll in one or more of the modules as stand-alone classes.

This certificate was developed in collaboration with subject matter expert Lynne Frigaard, the administrator/fetal alcohol specialist at ARC Northland. She has over twenty years experience in the field of professional and parent training, program development, advocacy, and nonprofit management. Frigaard is considered to be among Minnesota’s leaders in the effort to prevent FASD.

The Studies in Autism Spectrum Disorders certificate will be launched at the end of this month. It is a 15-hour online noncredit certificate program, divided into two topic modules. Again, participants can go at their own pace and take both of the modules to earn the certificate or take either module as a stand-alone class.

This certificate is being developed through collaboration with subject matter experts Tanya Verdugo and Marcia Baer. Verdugo has a master’s of education from Hamline University. She has worked for Lutheran Social Services as a direct support professional for women with disabilities and for the Autism Society of Minnesota as an education specialist. Baer worked for the Forest Lake Areas Schools as a special education teacher and autism resources specialist for more than 20 years. She has a master’s of science in reading certification in learning disabilities from the University of Wisconsin and also has worked for the Autism Society of Minnesota as an education specialist.

Both certificates focus on skills development for those who provide care or guidance to individuals with either FASD or ASD. Caregivers may include parents, grandparents, personal care attendants, or camp counselors. Both certificate programs are also appropriate for professionals in the legal and law enforcement systems. Participants do not need to have a college degree to enroll in either certificate program.

CE has undergraduate/graduate certificate programs in FASD and ASD. Those programs, however, are geared toward teachers and other service providers who want intensive training and college credits in those subjects. “Our two new noncredit certificates are focused on the people who provide care for individuals with FASD and ASD. These certificates will provide practical skills and strategies for their roles as caregivers,” said Roxanne Richards, program development associate in CE, who guided the development of the two new certificates.

For more information, visit the Continuing Education website.

About UMD's Continuing Education
CE has a long and successful history of innovative continuing education programs and certificates developed in collaboration with an array of colleges and departments. Credit certificate programs include American Sign Language, Geographic Information Science, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, Educational Computing and Technology, Liberal Studies, and Environmental Education. Noncredit certificates include Studies in Gambling Addiction: Counseling the Pathological Gambler, Studies in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, Studies in Autism Spectrum Disorders, and Sustainable Food Systems. Certificate programs may be stepping-stones toward baccalaureate or graduate degrees, valuable preparation for employment opportunities or advancement, as well as serve a wide range of educational options for advancing lifelong learning.

Written by Kathleen McQuillan-Hofmann, July 2012

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Contact Cheryl Reitan creitan@d.umn.edu

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