Course Outline SpEd602


Course Outline: SpEd 602, Introduction to Teaching Students with Disabilities

General Pedagogical Core Course


Course Description (updated 12/07)

This course focuses on historical background of current approaches to teaching children with disabilities; special education and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; current theories and methodologies in work with students with disabilities; inclusion and the concept of the least restrictive environment; early intervention; special education programs, curricula, classroom management, and use of technology; educational challenges and instructional approaches with children with mental retardation, physical and sensory impairments, language delays, emotional disturbance, and learning disabilities; special attention to work with children with autism; application of principles of differentiated instruction; and an introduction to approaches and debates on reading and language arts instruction for native English speakers and English language learners.

3 credits

Program Mission in Education & Special Education

The mission of the program is to educate, train and graduate individuals who embody and promote excellence in education. We accomplish this through aiding in students’ development of the tools of effective thinking and learning as applied to the theory and practice of teaching. We hold that the primary goal of learning is to develop the skills and passion for further learning. The mission of our program therefore includes fostering in students the means and desire to seek ongoing professional development through independent learning opportunities as well as through formal education.

All persons are capable of developing their intellectual potential to higher levels. Our mission is to nurture this development in our students and provide them with the means and encouragement to do the same with their students. We accomplish this through fostering student engagement with strong theoretical knowledge and putting this knowledge into useful practice in authentic classroom situations. Interwoven into students’ learning and practice experiences is a dedication to multiculturalism, diversity, and global awareness; we foster in our graduates a commitment to bring the benefits of education to all children, adolescents, and adults, regardless of individual differences or special needs. To facilitate the achievement of these goals, we foster technological literacy in our students toward the purposes of effective teaching and empowering their own students with such knowledge and skills.


Goal One- Theory and Research: Students will explore theoretical and conceptual frameworks such as philosophy and social theory that inform a modern understanding of education. Students will go on to critically analyze these areas and integrate them into a larger understanding of educational practice.


Students will be able to:

1.         Explain principles of effective instruction

2.         Present effective lessons, drawing on both theoretical knowledge and knowledge of standards and requirements

3.         Analyze and discuss basic principles of cognitive education as they relate to child development and learning

4.         Apply knowledge of child development and learning to creation of developmentally appropriate and effective instructional tools

5.         Create and present effective lessons that reflect a synthesis of theoretical and content knowledge

6.         Analyze texts for validity of reasoning and drawing of inferences

7.         Analyze and use research literature in the field of education and related disciplines

8.         Combine varied elements of their course of study to produce a final culminating practicum project



Goal Two- Multiculturalism, Globalism and Diversity: Students will appreciate the implications of living in a global society. Further, students will demonstrate knowledge and competency in issues of diversity related to culture, gender, and ability within America. Students will encourage such interest and appreciation in the learners with whom they work. Students will relate globalism, diversity and multiculturalism to their professional role and explore these areas both within an academic context and through the real-life situations of teaching.


            Students will be able to:

1.         Interpret multiple perspectives held by different cultures on ways of understanding the world and themselves

2.         Demonstrate through writing and discussion, appreciation for cultures that differ in important respects from the student’s own culture

3.         Encourage the exploration of global, diversity and multicultural issues among their peers and students

4.         Analyze and critique the implications for teaching and learning within diverse and culturally varied school settings

5.         Apply multicultural and diversity training to the creation of strategies for class environment, management, pedagogy and course planning

6.         Reflect on and analyze their thinking and professional awareness for biases and prejudices in the context of what they learn about other cultures

7.         Within field experience and practicum courses, apply enhanced knowledge of global, diversity and multicultural issues in real classroom situations


Goal Three-Learners with Special Needs: Students will appreciate issues and concerns specific to learners with special needs. This encompasses special education, gifted and at-risk learners. Further, students will apply this knowledge to develop plans of action for meeting the needs of these students that are in alignment with federal, state and local standards and requirements as well as current accepted theory.


Students will be able to:

1.        Explain the relationship of special education theories, such as differentiation of instruction to fundamental areas of pedagogy such as: instructional planning, classroom management, and the act of teaching

2.        Analyze the effectiveness of specific tools such as life-space interviews, and behavior contracts in effectively addressing problem behavior of individual children

3.        Synthesize theory with specific mandates such as NYSED alternate assessment performance indicators to formulate strategies for addressing special learners’ needs

4.        Describe and evaluate the relationship between principles of special education and general  principles of education such as cognitive theory

5.        Formulate robust goal-oriented pedagogical practices for students based on effective use of IEP’s

6.        Demonstrate knowledge of critical legislation such as IDEA and Section 504 and the impact of concomitant concepts such as FAPE and LRE

7.        Apply relevant local, state and national standards, such as Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) standards to developing strategies in key areas such as assessment, classroom management and lesson planning


Goal Four- Technological Literacy: Students will achieve technological literacy towards the purpose of effectively implementing technology in instructional practices and related areas.


Students will be able to:

1.      Demonstrate knowledge and use of technology for instructional purposes.

2.      Apply technology in academic research, planning, and organization

3.      Describe the nature and use of appropriate assistive technology in meeting the needs of special education students

4.      Apply technology to developing strategies in essential areas of pedagogy such as: instructional planning, classroom management, and the act of teaching

5.      Understand and use technology, including assistive technology, for instruction and for assisting all children with gaining access to the curriculum

6.      Comprehend the rapidly changing nature of technology and the need for ongoing learning to maintain technological literacy


Goal Five-Application of Professional Learning: Students will integrate knowledge gained through their course work, field experience and practicum into authentic teaching situations.


Students will be able to:

1.        Enact effective lesson plans that accomplish lesson, unit and course objectives

2.        Develop educationally significant assignments and projects that facilitate the accomplishment and measurement of lesson, unit and course objectives

3.        Demonstrate principles of effective instruction within specific pedagogical content areas

4.        Relate classroom practice and planning to relevant standards (CEC, NYSED Content, NAEYC) and demonstrate alignment with standards

5.        Apply educational and content-specific theories to advance key areas of pedagogy, such as instructional planning, classroom management, and the act of teaching

6.        Design and implement effective one-on-one intervention strategies with special needs and at-risk students


Student Learning Outcomes

Students will demonstrate ability to:


1.      empathize with children with disabilities and their families

2.      recognize that communication between the school, parents and school personnel is imperative in the success of all children but especially children with special needs

3.      give an account of the history of special education  and the individual disability categories

4.      identify the provisions of Section 504, PL 94-142, IDEA ’90, ’97 and 2004, ADA, and NCLB, etc.

5.      identify the types, characteristics and prevalence of each disability studied in the course, including severe and multiple disabilities

6.      identify the specific treatments for students with each of the disabilities studied

7.      recognize the differences and similarities among individuals with disabilities

8.      give an account of how diversity affects students with disabilities and their families and schools

9.      give an account of the use of medication with students with disabilities and the possible side effects of such medication

10.  identify the steps involved in the development of an IEP and an IFSP

11.  recognize the rights, roles and functions of the IEP team

12.  identify information that must be specified in an IEP (goals, objectives etc.)

13.  recognize the need for background information regarding academic, medical, family history and cultural background

14.  analyze issues related to IEP development and amendment

15.  recognize the importance of assessment in placement and accommodation decisions in the IEP process

16.  give an account of formal and informal assessment

17.  demonstrate knowledge of both alternative and authentic assessment

18.  give an account of the legal ramifications of FERPA and how it relates to assessment and confidentiality

19.  describe the purpose and components of transition planning including the coordination of members and contact with agencies

20.  describe and discuss principles of effective collaboration

21.  recognize different inclusion models (co-teaching, push-in etc.) and the appropriate use of them

22.  recognize the effective use of technology to facilitate students’ learning in a collaborative setting

23.  give an account of curriculum modifications for students with various disabilities

24.  describe and discuss effective behavior and classroom management techniques appropriate to the needs of students with disabilities

25.  demonstrate an understanding of the purpose and development of a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) and a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP)

26.  recognize the role of a teacher’s self-assessment/reflection in the use of  behavioral interventions

27.  identify and use standards and policies of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), the National Association of Young Children (NAEYC)

28.  give an account of and use the New York State Learning Standards