Patricia Rakovic, C.G.S. 2010

Have you ever imagined yourself in a place surrounded by others on the same quest? Do you yearn for an environment where you are challenged to stretch yourself intellectually, where you are exposed to new ideas that you use in your job the following day? Do you want to work hard to make a difference? The Certificate in Graduate Studies in Autism Education provided that opportunity for me.

I am celebrating thirty-four years in the field of education as a speech and language pathologist. My workplace is and has been in private rehabilitation centers, public schools and universities. I love my occupation and am always open to new opportunities for learning. What the Autism Education program at Rhode Island College was able to offer me, however, exceeded my expectations.

The faculty that taught the courses are leaders in their field. They provided us with cutting edge research, exposure to the scientists and doctors exploring new ideas in autism, and challenged us to take this information back to our districts. In addition, the experience was a partnership between a group of learners with the faculty at the helm, guiding us to make new connections and discover research-based treatment approaches that would facilitate changes in our students.

Perhaps the most telling sign of the impact of this program Autism Education is that at the end of the program no one wanted it to end - and it didn’t. I was part of the first group that graduated and we continue to meet regularly, and have been joined by students from subsequent years. At our last meeting we created a common website for our group so that the exchange of ideas can continue to happen on an even more regular basis.

Rhode Island College provided the spark and we caught the fire! Thank you.