Brennen School teacher awarded Autism Delaware scholarship for 2023–24 academic year

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Cynthia Ritter has been awarded an Autism Delaware Autism Teacher Certification Scholarship for the 2023–24 academic year. The Newark resident is a special-education teacher at the Brennen School and is working toward autism certification. The scholarship is being applied to the cost of Ritter’s enrollment in the University of Delaware’s Alternative Routes to Certification (ARTC) program.

Ritter started working at the Brennen School as a paraprofessional in 2018. In this position, not only did she assist the students with their daily routines and self-help skills, but she also learned how to collect data for each student’s team members. In the process, Ritter noted each student’s unique set of behavioral and academic skills and needs.

On the day Ritter was asked to substitute for a part-time instructional coach (so the coach could step in as a teacher), she accepted the hands-on opportunity to learn how to provide each student with individualized programming. But she also realized that more special-education teachers with autism certification were needed at the Brennen School. Ritter had already earned a B.S. in special-education interdisciplinary studies in 2020 and, in 2021, had begun academic work in Wilmington University’s master of education in special-education program. So, in December 2022, the master’s candidate began work on autism certification through the University of Delaware’s ARTC program. Still working toward autism certification, Ritter earned her master’s degree this past May.

“All through this process,” wrote Brennen School assistant principal Alexis Petrides Hackett in her letter of recommendation for the award, “Ms. Ritter provided a focused approach to learn the students and their needs. She has worked well with the team and took information and applied it for the benefit of the students.”

“Once I complete autism certification,” notes Ritter, “I will continue to grow as an educator through personal development opportunities. I hope to someday be a mentor to new teachers entering the field of special education and autism.”

About Autism Delaware scholarships

Every year, Autism Delaware awards the following scholarships to Delaware residents who are pursuing post-secondary education:

• Daniel and Lois Gray Memorial Scholarship for students enrolled at the University of Delaware who are pursuing a course of study that will lead to a career related to autism in the state of Delaware

• Adult with Autism Scholarship for autistic Delaware residents who are pursuing college or another post-secondary educational experience

• Autism Teacher Certification Scholarship for practicing Delaware teachers who are pursuing autism certification
For more information about Autism Delaware’s scholarship program, visit Autism Delaware/Scholarships.

About autism and Autism Delaware

Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life. Autism Delaware’s mission is to help people and families affected by autism. Autism Delaware is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit made up of individuals with autism and their family members, the professionals who serve them, and the friends of people with autism. With offices in Newark and Lewes, Autism Delaware serves the entire state of Delaware. For additional information about Autism Delaware, visit https://www.autismdelaware.org/.

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