The Autism Circuit Academy (ACA) endorsement programs are comprehensive professional development designed to help Texas educators acquire and effectively implement evidence-based practices (EBPs) for teaching students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The ACA is a product of the Texas Statewide Leadership for Autism Training (TSLAT) and is supported by a grant from the Texas Education Agency. The training is free for educators across Texas who are employees of a local education agency.
The Autism Circuit Academy is committed to building district capacity by increasing the number of educators in the state who are skilled in the implementation of EBPs. Through our virtual professional learning community format, participants can easily communicate with each other by asking questions, seeking and providing feedback, and uploading implementation artifacts. Our TSLAT staff provides rapid and ready assistance and continuous modeling throughout the duration of the program.
Is the ACA for you?
The Autism Circuit Academy programs are designed for educators committed to developing effective educational programming for all students with ASD.
I learned more from this year-long experience than I did in my Master's degree program!
Cindy Engel Autism Education Specialist, Region 12
I sharpened my skills, and we all made gains from the resources I shared with teachers.
Debbie Manning SLP, Fort Worth ISD
It’s wonderful to be able to approach my work from a position of strength, not survival!
Gretchen Wittenmyer Hutto ISD
The strategies that I learned in this program had a significant impact on having a successful year.
Renee Johnson Seguin ISD
Thank you for the opportunity to learn so much about Autism! I'm inspired to keep learning!
Geri King Sherman ISD
Special Education Teachers
General Education Teachers
Campus and District Specialists
Speech Language Pathologists
Other Local Education Agency Staff
If you are a new teacher or have limited experience with students with ASD, we recommend taking the following free online courses in our Learning Library before starting the EBP program:
* Level 2 programs are only open to participants that have completed the Level 1 program.
Frequently Asked Questions
What will my endorsement mean?
The Autism Circuit Academy endorsement is a visible sign of accomplishing the work you did to become skilled in the implementation of the evidence-based practices (EBPs) identified by the National Professional Development Center for Autism Spectrum Disorder. The paragraph on your endorsement states what you had to do to earn the endorsement and CEUs: watch multiple interactive webinars, provide evidence of implementation of each of the high-yield EBPs with students, and collaborate in a statewide professional learning community (PLC). The endorsement does not expand the scope of your profession, whatever it is, but does demonstrate your commitment and accomplishment in professional growth. The CEUs you earned from the Autism Circuit program are accredited by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). It is not an accredited degree, and it is not a license or certificate from the state. The state of Texas does not issue any licenses or certificates for autism training. The Commissioner’s rule related to autism states that all educators working with a child with autism must be trained; however, TEA does not specify what kind of training or how much training an educator needs. Schools are responsible for training educators to effectively and appropriately implement programs for students with autism. A license or certificate is not required. Your endorsement from TSLAT and TEA is a visible sign that you are equipped to effectively and appropriately implement programs for students with autism.
How do I request a copy of my certificate or my digital badge?
There are many online trainings about autism available. What makes the Autism Circuit Academy programs unique is the model of professional development (PD) that we use. Research shows that traditional models of PD, the sit-and-get model of workshops or webinars, are ineffective in getting educators to actually implement strategies that are taught; it is called the implementation gap. We have studied the research to learn ways to close that gap. 1) Effective PD should occur over time and be ongoing. Our Autism Circuit programs span a school year with opportunities for a second year of continued PD. 2) Coaching is found to be highly effective in helping teachers implement new practices. Our virtual PLC platform allows for coaching not just from our TSLAT staff, but from peers across Texas in the PLC (Center for Public Education, 2013).
Who is eligible for Level 2 programs?
Only educators who have completed the Level 1 EBP program are eligible to apply for either the Advanced program or the Literacy program.
Why are the Advanced and Literacy programs only open to Level 1 finishers?
The Advanced program is only open to educators who have completed the Level 1 program because the Advanced program builds on concepts and skills covered in the Level 1 training.
The Literacy program is only open to educators who have completed the Level 1 program because participants are expected to use the skills they learned in the Level 1 training in the Literacy training. Our concept is that now that they have learned HOW to teach using identified EBPs, they can now focus on WHAT to teach, content. Educators who have completed the Level 1 training also are more likely to have challenging behaviors better managed using the EBPs they learned that they may be better able to focus on content.