Skip Navigation

Course Starts:

Course Length:
7.5 Weeks

Course Fee:
$950 per person
(Discounts available)

Introduction to the Science and Lived Experience of Autism (ISLEA)

Members of the autistic community strive to achieve a full and productive life and deserve to be understood for their unique abilities. They add value to the diversity of our society and their lived experience is an example of what makes each of us special in our own way.

Dr. Matthew Lerner, Research Director of the world-renowned Stony Brook Autism Initiative, developed an Introduction to the Science and Lived Experience of Autism (ISLEA) to help those who work and live with people on the autism spectrum gain a deeper understanding of what it means to compassionately interact with and support autistic individuals.

The program is designed to debunk the myths, explore the science, and gain insight into the actual lived experience of those with autism. Its goal is to provide professionals in education and health and human services with the knowledge they need to engage more effectively and humanely with members of the autistic community. Following the principle of “Nothing about us, without us,” the program includes the active involvement of autistic individuals of all ages and situations. Family members and caregivers of people with autism are also encouraged to enroll.

What You Will Learn

In this course, you will:

  • Increase your core knowledge and understanding of autism
  • Learn to develop a deeper, more reflective, and more humane way of caring for autistic individuals
  • Learn how to work more effectively with people with autism
  • Gain a better understanding of the science and lived experience of autism to help prevent easily-managed situations (emotions, behaviors, frustrations) from escalating to dangerous levels
  • Learn how to reduce your own stress and lessen the chance of burnout

Who Should Register

This program was designed for:

  • Training Division Directors
  • Educators – Superintendents / Principals / AVPs / Teachers / 1:1 Aides
  • Healthcare Managers
  • Direct Support Professionals
  • Self-Direction Staff
  • Families and Caregivers
Micrpcredential Badge for ISLEA

Earn a Microcredential

An Introduction to the Science and Lived Experience of Autism (ISLEA) is a microcredential-granting program. The digital badge awarded upon completion of the program demonstrates the participant’s qualifications in this critical area of social support. It also helps reassure families that the staff caring for their loved ones is qualified to provide the safety and quality of care that people with ASD require and deserve.


Dr. Matthew Lerner is an Associate Professor of Psychology, Psychiatry, and Pediatrics in the Department of Psychology at Stony Brook University, where he directs the Social Competence and Treatment Lab. He is a Founder of the Stony Brook Autism Initiative and Co-Director of the Stony Brook LEND Center. In his nearly 20 years of autism practice, Dr. Lerner has published over 100 articles and delivered hundreds of scholarly and community presentations on the science and understanding of autism.

Dr. Lerner serves as Associate Editor of the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders and on the Editorial Boards of 7 other academic outlets. He has received grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA), and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Among his notable acknowledgments and awards are the David Shakow Early Career Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Clinical Psychology from the Society of Clinical Psychology, the Sara S. Sparrow Early Career Research Award (APA Division on Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities/Autism Spectrum Disorder), and the Transformative Contributions Award from the Autism & Developmental Disabilities SIG of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies.

Affordable Excellence

Stony Brook's course rates are among the most affordable of all top-tier universities in the nation. The course fees for Introduction to the Science and Lived Experience of Autism (ISLEA) are as follows:

  • $950 per person – There will be a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 30 students per class. Discounts are available for SBU alumni, veterans and groups of 3 or more.
  • Specialized contracts  – Contact us for information about offering this program exclusively for your organization.

Why Choose Stony Brook?

Stony Brook University appears in the top 80 public universities, and its Clinical Psychology Program is ranked in the top 3 by U.S. News and World Report. The Center for Corporate Education has worked for over twenty years to deliver programs that deliver essential skill sets for Long Island individuals and employers.

Stony Brook University/SUNY is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer, and educator.