Ananda Aspen

Assistant Professor of Teacher Education
BAH 102


M.A., Special Education, California State University, Fresno
Teaching Credentials, California State University, Fresno, 1995
B.A., Art, Minor in Latin American Studies, California State University, Fresno

Share why you teach at FPU

I teach at Fresno Pacific University because I share a passion for excellence founded in compassion and social justice concordant with the mission of the university. My entire career has been founded on the principles of service and dedication to the most fragile and needy populations, those with severe disabilities, public schools in the poorest neighborhoods and towns, and with families struggling to emerge from poverty and stress. Working with pre-service and new teachers in our credential programs gives me an opportunity to be part of the greater mission of promoting excellence through service to others. I feel that Fresno Pacific University embodies the qualities that are fundamental to my work and my life.

Scholarly Interests

My interests are varied and many, from autism assessment and evidence-based practices to early intervention and reducing risk for children living in poverty; from improving teacher certification programs to enhancing capacity for instructional assistants; from enhancing teacher sense of efficacy to diminishing psychological threat for African-American students; and from establishing markers for joint attention risk factors in infants and toddlers to examining trends in depression and suicide risk for teens with Aspergers Disorder.

Professional and Service Experience

  • Education specialist, Diagnostic Center, Central California Department of Education, 2009-present
  • Assistant professor, Fresno Pacific University, 2007-present
  • Autism consultant (Management), Fresno County Office of Education, 2005-2009
  • Instructor, Fresno Pacific University, 1998-2002
  • Autism specialist, Fresno Unified School District, 2000-2005
  • Resource specialist teacher/ISGI, Fresno Unified School District, 1998-2000
  • Teacher, M/S preschool special day class, Fresno County Office of Education, 1991-1998
  • Teacher, M/M billingual 3rd-6th special day class, Fresno County Office of Education, 1987-1991
  • Foster care for medically fragile and special needs children, Fresno County Office of Education, 1985-1986

Honors and Awards

  • Technical Assistance Trainer, National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders (grant through Unites States Departmet of Special Education, PI Dr. Sally Rogers, UC Davis MIND Institute), 2010-present
  • IAPG Work Group on Early Intervention for Autism Spectrum Disorders, 2011
  • Current California Interagency Planning Group, Autism Spectrum Disorders, 2012
  • Autism Specialist of the Year, Autism Society of America, 2008
  • CBEST Development Committee, 2003-2006
  • Preschool Assessment Team, FCOE,1997-1998
  • Task Force: Medically Challenged Infants, 1995-1998
  • Principal Designee, Ramacher Developmental Center, FCOE, 1995-1998
  • Mentor Teacher, Fresno County Office of Education, 1994-1998

Professional Affiliations

  • 2011 Joint District Coordinator
  • Fresno Pony Club
  • USPC
  • United States Equestrian Federation
  • United States Hunter Jumper Association 
  • California Association of Billingual Educators
  • Council for Exceptional Children (Autism Spectrum Disorders Chapter and Early Intervention Chapter)
  • Blind Babies Foundation, Central California
  • Sierra Club (Tehipite Chapter)
  • Fresno County Archaeological Society
  • Angel Babies, Children's Hospital, Madera
  • America Mensa Foundation
  • Exceptional Parents Unlimited, Fresno 

Personal Experiences

I was a part of the development of the interdisciplinary certificate in autism and the autism authorization for Fresno Pacific University. I also support the foundation of a new school for students with autism and severe disabilities in Cusco, Peru, including taking special education colleagues and pre-service teachers with me to present on autism interventions and to learn from the staff and students at this amazing school. My future hopes are to provide a collaborative model between Fresno Pacific University and this school for a semester of living in Peru and learning for candidates who want an international practicum experience.

Publications and Presentations


I have made several hundred formal presentations at schools, universities and professional conferences. I have presented 250 formal workshop presentations since August 2011. National and international presentations include:

  • Council for Exceptional Children national conference
  • California Association for School Psychologists state conference
  • California Association of Learning Disabilities state conference
  • California Association for Bilingual Educators conference
  • California Association for Resource Specialists local conference
  • California State Educators Association state conference
  • National Professional Development Center on ASD conference
  • Congreso Internacional de Profesores, Centro Especial, San Juan de Dios, Cusco, Peru


  • "Visualizing Success, Strategies for Autism," co-authored with M. Austin in CSHA Magazine, 2003
  • Navigating the System, A Guide for Parents, 1997