EDSP6339 Foundations of Special Education

Course Description

The focus of the course will be preparing graduate students with a firm foundation and overview of special education. Students will be immersed in a brief history of special education law, be able to identify the disability categories, and provide an overview of characteristics of students with disabilities and supports needed for successful behavioral and academic success.

The goal of the School of Education conceptual model is to prepare entry-level educators who will become collaborative decision-makers. The school’s comprehensive program is designed to integrate Content, Operative, Reflective, and Collaborative knowledge as a framework for the teacher education program.

Course Credits: 3

Prerequisites: Admission into the MA in special education program

Student Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Describe defining dimensions of special education, including disability categories and prevalence rates, key court cases, federal legislation to ensure FAPE, and problems with disproportionate representation, including underrepresentation.
  • Describe the IEP process, role of families of children with disabilities, and principles of effective communication, including guidelines for communicating with families.
  • Describe common characteristics of students with intellectual disabilities (ID), identify factors involving placement decisions for individuals with ID, and key elements of a lifeskills approach.
  • Identify characteristics of students with learning disabilities (LD), Emotional Behavioral Disorders (EBD), and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), and describe placement options, evidence-based strategies, and associated risk factors for each category.
  • Describe the characteristics of students with communication disorders, speech language impairments, and deafness or hearing impairments, including causes, educational approaches, placement options, related services, access to language and curriculum, and social opportunities and cultural identity.
  • Describe characteristics of students with visual impairments/blindness, physical disabilities, and other health impairments (OHI), expanded core curriculum of nonacademic skills, types and causes, severity, age of onset, instructional decisions, educational methods, placement options, and continuum of services.
  • Define and describe the characteristics of individuals with multiple disabilities, deaf-blindness, and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), including curriculum-based decisions related to developmental stages and milestones for children with severe disabilities, and skills and dispositions needed by teachers working with students with severe disabilities.