SUNY Empire Autism Research, Education, and Services Center

With an increasing number of children and adults being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders, there is a growing demand for individuals and organizations to have the information and skills needed to better serve individuals with autism. By partnering with the Anderson Center for Autism on the creation of the SUNY Empire Autism Research, Education, and Services (ARES) Center, SUNY Empire aims to help meet this demand.

The ARES Center Goals

Promote Workforce Development in Professionals that Serve Individuals with Autism

There is a growing need for professionals who work with and support individuals with autism. Through the ARES Center, SUNY Empire will develop academic programs that prepare professionals across disciplines to work with individuals with autism and provide career pathways for current workers to increase their skills.

Professional Learning Evaluations

The ARES Center has started this work by partnering with SUNY Empire’s Center for Leaderships in Credentialing Learning to conduct a Professional Learning Evaluation (PLE) of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board’s (BACB) Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) credential and two New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) certifications: The Direct Support Professional and Approved Medication Administration certifications. These evaluations provide direct care staff that work with individuals with autism and other disabilities with up to 13 college credits toward an associates or bachelor’s degree at SUNY Empire.

Degree Programs

The Center is also working with the Anderson Center to develop a Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis program that will prepare graduates to become NYS Licensed Behavior Analysts and Board Certified Behavior Analysts. This program is currently under State University of New York (SUNY) and New York State Education Department (NYSED) review. The anticipated program launch date is September of 2021, pending SUNY and NYSED approval.

Meet Individuals with Autism’s Needs for Post-Secondary Education by Becoming an Autism Supportive College

Despite a growing number of students with autism seeking a college degree, the number of college’s specifically addressing the needs of these students is not growing fast enough. Additionally, there are to date no colleges that offer supports for students with autism in fully online programs. Working with the Anderson Center, the ARES Center will educate SUNY Empire faculty and staff across the college on autism and how to meet the needs of students with autism in both face-to-face and online environments. Additionally, the Center will over time build out additional college-wide services that meet the needs of students with and without autism. The ARES Center will also partner with New York State High Schools who serve highly qualified students with autism to create a pipeline into SUNY Empire programs.

Build Capacity throughout New York and the World to Support Individuals with Autism by Disseminating the Most Up-to-date Information Related to Autism

Those who need access to information of how best to support individuals with autism (e.g. parents, teachers, employers, and service providers) don’t always have access to up-to-date, accurate information. Working with partners across New York State and the world, the ARES Center will provide information, education, and training to parents, professionals, employers, community organizations, and others in ways to support the individual with autism.

Conduct cutting edge research on methods, tools, and practices to support individual with autism in a variety of settings

In collaboration with external partners, ARES Center faculty and staff will engage in applied research into methods, tools, and practices to support individual with autism. The goal of this research will be to impact the daily lives of individuals with autism.

Current News and Events

Announcing the New ARES Director

The SUNY Empire Autism Research, Education, and Services (ARES) Center is pleased to announce the hiring of the ARES Center’s founding Director Dr. Noor Syed, BCBA-D, LBA-LBS. Dr. Syed holds Ph.D., M.Phil, and M.S. Degrees in Applied Behavior Analysis from Teachers College, Columbia University and a BA in Psychology Applied Behavior Analysis from Binghamton University. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst – Doctoral and a Licensed Behavior Analyst/Specialist in New York, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. She also holds birth-second grade teacher certification in both general education and special education. She currently serves as a Verified Course Sequence Coordinator for the Behavior Analyst Certification Board and an Authorized Continuing Education Provider Coordinator for the Behavior Analyst Certification board. Prior to joining SUNY Empire, Dr. Syed was a Professor of Practice and the Clinical Director of Lehigh University Autism Services and the director of International Partnerships for the Global Autism Project. Before joining academia Dr. Syed worked in a variety of professional settings as a applied behavior analyst and special education teacher.

Regional Town Halls

In order to ensure the SUNY Empire ARES Center-Anderson Center partnership is grounded in the real world needs of individuals with autism, their communities, and organization that serve them, the ARES Center and Anderson Center are embarking a virtual listening tour. Over the next several months SUNY Empire, SUNY Empire ARES Center, and Anderson Center leadership will hold a series of regional town hall meetings across New York State to learn firsthand about the needs of various stakeholder groups and how the ARES Center-Anderson Center partnership can help address those needs.

Town Hall Dates, Times, and Log in Information: