This project will address the need for highly qualified speech language pathologists (SLPs) to work with individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families by training 20 students to obtain a Master's degree in speech pathology. The competency based model will integrate broad-based knowledge and skills with core coursework essential for meeting the needs of SLPs working with individuals with ASD. The comprehensive pre-professional training for SLPs has specialized coursework and practica that are congruent with the American Speech and Hearing Association's requirements for a Master's degree in speech language pathology. Each trainee will complete a 60 semester hour program with the following unique features: (a) each trainee will be mentored by local families and providers to gain real world experience in home and community settings; (b) project centers will serve as the basis for a required applied research experience for children and families with ASD; (c) national leaders, family members, and community providers will be active participants in the practica/seminars/courses supported through easy access technology; and (d) a series of three specialization seminars will address (1) evidence-based early identification, assessment and intervention practices for students with ASD, (2) cultural and linguistic competent advocacy, consultation and interdisciplinary teamwork strategies, and (3) translation of research-to-practice for the alternative and augmentative communication needs of individuals with ASD at home and school. Implementation of knowledge and skills will be measured via competency checklists and portfolio documentation to ensure development and application of content in each of the three specialization areas.