Special Education Course Information

Within schools, special education programs are designed to help children who have disabilities ranging from hearing and seeing to learning and behavioral issues. Because students with disabilities have such a wide variety of needs, there are several different programs for aspiring special education teachers to choose from.

Essential Information

Special education courses can be found within undergraduate and graduate programs in special education. Undergraduate programs typically result in Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees in special education and typically include an internship. Students enrolled in graduate programs may earn master's or doctoral degrees in special education. Some institutions may also offer certificates in the field.

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.

List of Common Courses

Some of the most common course offerings in special education are summarized below.

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.

Diversity and Special Needs Course

Diversity courses teach students about the types of needs special education students may have and prepares them to teach their own students someday. A special education student's needs may range from learning to behavioral, physical to sensory. The course covers unique teaching strategies that may be applied to different types of students, as well as problem-solving skills that may be utilized in the classroom.

Behavioral Analysis and Intervention Course

Students with behavior disorders may cause disturbances in the classroom, so educators need to be prepared to handle the situation if it does occur. The behavior analysis and intervention course focuses on changing a student's behavior, while helping them to develop and grow. Intervention strategies and techniques for students that have conflicts in the classroom are also covered in this class.

Families of Students with Disabilities Course

An important aspect of working with exceptional students is getting their families involved. Because students are constantly learning, even when they leave school, it is necessary for parents to understand what they need to do at home in order for growth to continue. This course trains future educators to effectively collaborate and communicate with parents, while developing their knowledge and skills.

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