Both undergraduate and graduate programs commonly offer areas of specialization, including learning disabilities and autism spectrum disorder. While many undergraduate and graduate programs are geared towards individuals seeking initial licensure for positions in elementary and secondary schools, some graduate programs are designed for currently licensed teachers and may prepare students for research or administrative careers. Common concepts taught in special education programs include:
- Child Development
- Classroom Management
- Instructional Strategies
- Mild to Moderate Disabilities
- Lesson Planning and Development
List of Common Courses
Introduction to Special Education Course
The introductory course provides historical and legal background information on educating diverse students with exceptionalities. Individuals enrolled in this course learn to identify characteristics of children with learning, behavioral, physical, mental and sensory disorders, as well as students with extreme talents. Other areas of focus include adapting the learning environment for students with special needs of all levels, effective instructional strategies and developing curriculum. Legalities associated with discrimination and parental involvement are also covered.
This course covers content in the processes of child development, learning, and assessment. The course will focus on developmentally appropriate techniques to achieve student learning and accommodations that address developmental concerns. Students will learn appropriate techniques of assessing student learning and identifying student developmental concerns. This will prepare students to identify student developmental needs, measure student achievement, and construct appropriate accommodations for students will special needs.
This course will cover the various learning disabilities that can impact student learning. Students will learn to identify learning disabilities and to develop accommodations and supports for students with disabilities in the classroom. Students will learn to construct lesson plans, individualized education plans, and student activities that help students with learning disabilities to be successful in the classroom. Students will also learn how to recognize the impact of different learning disabilities on student behavior and engagement, so that plans can be adapted to ensure student engagement and positive behaviors.
Students learn the complex set of state and federal laws that govern the public school environment. Special attention is given to those laws that protect students with special needs in the classroom, especially those regarding parental rights, student rights to accommodations, and legal definitions of the least restrictive environment.
Students in special education will have to complete a field experience in special education classrooms. This field experience should consist of planning and teaching lesson, assessing student achievement and conduct, and meeting with staff and teachers. Field experience students are expected to participate in intervention meetings, Individualized Education Plan meetings, and parent conferences for students with special needs.