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Why Study Autism Spectrum Disorders at Madonna University?

  • You will enhance your employment opportunities by distinguishing your credentials
  • You will experience low student-to-teacher ratio courses for more personal instruction
  • You may opt for the ASD endorsement alone or incorporate it into a master’s degree
  • You will develop professional alliances with fellow students and instructors
  • You will participate in a rigorous program with an excellent reputation
  • The coursework will help you to meet revised state certification requirements

An MAT with a specialty in autism spectrum disorders is a comprehensive program for teachers who possess a valid Michigan teaching certificate. The program prepares you to understand and effectively work with the ASD student population. You will learn to administer and interpret formal and informal assessments, accurately identify student needs, and utilize best practice interventions. The curriculum enables you to critically analyze and utilize research-based instructional strategies to address ASD in all educational placements. Through coursework and field experience, you will apply theory to practice as a collaborator with other educators, families and service providers in light of inclusion and transition planning. You may choose to pursue the ASD endorsement alone, or incorporate it into a Master’s degree in ASD.

CareersGrad SchoolEmployers of Alumni
General Education Teacher Learning Disabilities Public, private and parochial schools in the Tri-county area, greater Michigan, out-of-state, and overseas
Resource Room Teacher Deaf and Hard of Hearing Public and private Allied Service Agencies, learning centers, local families and private agencies
Self-contained Classroom Teacher Educational Leadership  
Teacher Consultant Educational Technology  
Private Tutor Online Teaching and eLearning  
  Higher Education and Student Affairs  
  Literacy Education  
  Catholic School Leadership  

Rachelle Marie Vartanian
Why did you choose Madonna University?
I chose Madonna University because they were one of the only universities that had a master's program in Autism. In fact, when I told people I was going back to school to get a second Master's degree (this time in Autism) most people had never heard of this degree, because it was so new. Now there are other universities with this program, but at the time when I was attending Madonna there may have been one other college that offered this program.

What do you think makes the experience and education at Madonna special?
Madonna is special for many reasons. The small class size makes your learning feel more intimate and because of this you often have a sense of community with your classmates and instructor. There is a friendly atmosphere at Madonna from the faculty that work there to the people that attend there. Every step of the way I always felt like the administration, teachers, and my peers did everything they could to help me succeed.

What have you been doing since graduation, career wise? (graduate school, employer?)
The first thing I did once I graduated from Madonna University was begin a social skills program. I have a son who has Asperger's Syndrome and he desperately needed a social skills group that was in our area. In the past in order for him to attend groups that would help him we would have to travel a great distance, several times a week, and spend an exorbitant amount of money. During this time, I was a special education teacher for the public schools so I knew of many families who were in the same position I was in. We were all desperate for quality programs for our children but didn't know where to find them. Once I graduated I decided it was time to start a social skills program of my own. I rented a room from the Farmington Public Library and started providing social skill groups on Sunday afternoon. I didn't charge families for this service and I did something else that I thought had been missing from the groups my son had attended in the past. I brought with me kids that were the same age as the kids in the group but were not on the spectrum (neuro-typical). This was really powerful because the kids in the group were able to learn new skills from their peers who didn't have the same issues they had. In June of 2015 the school district I was working for offered some of its employees a buy-out, and I was one of them. Financially I wasn't ready to retire (I'm only forty-six) but I kept thinking I'm supposed to be doing something more than what I'm currently doing. I prayed about this decision for a long time and eventually decided to take a leap of faith. In October of 2015 I opened up the doors to Living & Learning Enrichment Center in downtown Northville. We offer programs to children, teens, and adults who are on the Autism Spectrum.

How has your Madonna degree played a role in your current position?
Going back to school and getting a second Master's degree gave me the confidence to quit my job after twenty years and do something completely different. I would have never been able to leave my teaching position and open up my own center had I not attended Madonna. I have learned so much from attending this school.
It has been several years since I graduated from Madonna University and I'm still in contact with my professors. I believe that speaks volumes as to what type of university Madonna is.

What has been your most rewarding professional or personal experience since graduating?
The most rewarding experience for me was when an elderly woman came into my center asking for help for her daughter. We talked for a long time about her daughter and what her needs were. Sadly, her adult daughter had not left her home in four years because of a breakdown she had experienced. We worked on a plan to get her daughter to come into the center and it worked. She spent several hours with us but it was very difficult to tell whether it was a good experience for her. She didn't smile much and said very little. The following day the mother came into our center and told us her daughter would be back the following week. She began to cry and said, "It's a start." Every week since her daughter comes to our center a little stronger and a little happier. It's something I still can't get over.

Rosemary Nuttall

Rosemary Nuttal,
Why did you choose Madonna University?
I chose Madonna University based on word of mouth and location.  I knew that I wanted to go into education and I knew several people that recommended Madonna University.  I also liked that they had a satellite campus in Southgate and smaller class sizes.

What do you think makes the experience and education at Madonna special?
I had a wonderful experience at Madonna.  I have made countless friends and have had unbelievable support from both classmates and faculty.  The faculty at Madonna University truly care about their students.

What have you been doing since graduation, career wise? (graduate school, employer?)
I graduated from Madonna University with my undergraduate degree and decided to continue my education at Madonna.  I obtained full-time employment as an educator of students with autism in Redford.  Since graduating from graduate school at Madonna, I made a move over to Grosse Pointe Public Schools as an educator of students with autism and I love it!  We have a great team there.

How has your Madonna degree played a role in your current position?
Madonna plays an important role in obtaining employment. Employers know that students graduating from Madonna University have received a quality education and are very qualified in their field of study.  The School of Education at Madonna really helped prepare me to become a respected teacher in my district.  My education and training has prepared me for both delivering quality education to my students as well as effectively collaborating with my colleagues.

What has been your most rewarding professional or personal experience since graduating?
Seeing my students progress is extremely rewarding. I love the connections I make with students and families.  There is not a single experience that is most rewarding because these connections keep happening and I couldn't ask for anything more fulfilling professionally.  I am truly blessed.

Lisa Gumbleton Lisa (Hoffman) Gumbleton,
Why did you choose Madonna University?
I chose Madonna as it was one of the few universities that offered an accredited Master’s in Autism program. I also chose Madonna because it offered cohort programs (off-campus).

What do you think makes the experience and education at Madonna special?
The courses were relevant and up-to-date. Small class sizes provided an intimate setting and encouraged thoughtful engagement between faculty and students.

What have you been doing since graduation, career wise? (graduate school, employer?)
Speaking engagements at Autism Seminars.  Using tools and strategies I learned helping people in the community and in my role as a teacher in Grand Blanc.  Working to building Autism awareness in my daily life.

How has your Madonna degree played a role in your current position?
Has allowed me to have children on the spectrum included in my classroom.  Has enabled me to help my peers enhance their Autism skill set because of the excellent training I received at Madonna.

What has been your most rewarding professional or personal experience since graduating?
The intense bond I have developed with the parents who have children on the spectrum and the ability give them strength, hope and tools to help their children thrive.