Matt Brodhead is an assistant professor in the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Special Education, and he is the research director of the Early Learning Institute. His research examines focused social skill interventions for children with autism.

Approximately 1 in 59 children in the United States is affected with autism spectrum disorder, or ASD. Over the last 40 years, a robust body of scientific literature has shown that applied behavior analysis, or ABA, is the best and most effective treatment for ASD. I’m proud to work for an institution such as MSU because of the way it has taken the lead in the area of ABA as a treatment for ASD.

At MSU, students are trained to become the next generation of science-practitioners by undergoing intensive and applied fieldwork training experiences in community-based treatment programs, such as the Early Learning Institute and Spartan Project SEARCH. Since community-based programs are the settings in which a majority of individuals with ASD receive services, our students are prepared, from the start, in environments that match those of the real world.

I have witnessed our students and graduates excel in the community because of the learning environments we have created here at MSU. Our fieldwork and coursework emphasize growth and development in personnel management and leadership, data analysis, parent training and curriculum development. These experiences are carefully crafted and sequenced by our faculty to ensure our students get the most of their graduate experience.

Our program is designed to use applied behavioral science to make meaningful change in people with ASD. Due to the applied science focus, it is research driven and research intensive. Through the research of our students, our program has developed ways to help individuals learn to navigate mass transportation and to help ASD providers make faster and more accurate treatment decisions. These two examples are only the beginning of a long list of ways our students have made an impact on the ASD community. I am excited to continue to see the positive impact our students will make.

While our program is only in its fourth year, incoming students are aware of the impression we’ve made in ABA and ASD treatment. Students are drawn to the high-quality mentorship and they know that, when they graduate, they will be leaders in the field.

At MSU, we are training the next generation of science-practitioners who will help make the world a better place for individuals with ASD.

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