The major in General Special Education with initial certification is offered to students with or without experience at the early childhood, elementary, middle, or secondary levels. The options for this major in General Special Education are as follows: (1) General Special Education: Initial Certification; (2) Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities: Endorsement; and (3) Specific Learning Disabilities: Endorsement. In addition to the initial certification in general special education, the student can acquire specialized knowledge in the area of autism; an endorsement in the area of emotional and behavioral disabilities; and an endorsement in the area of specific learning disabilities.
Integrated within the General Pedagogy core courses for each of thefour options are areas of knowledge, content, pedagogy, and research that bridge each option. Integrated within the Specific Pedagogy Courses is assessment for instruction of persons on the autism spectrum or for emotional and behavioral disabilities as well as for specific learning disabilities. The graduate student’s focus determines their particular population and program of study. For example, students seeking certification in specific learning disabilities will participate in an internship with children and adolescents with specific learning disabilities supervised by a teacher certified as a specific learning disabilities teacher. Students can pursue multiple endorsements by completing the full complement of coursework under general and specific pedagogy and the appropriate internship(s).
Taking into consideration previous course work and prior experiences, the Program Director for Education reviews transcripts to determine the sequence of courses and any additional background preparation that may be needed. Early field experiences are tailored to the needs, competencies, current and prior experiences of the students. Field experiences are embedded in relevant courses. The General Special Education with initial certification program culminates with a full-time internship with individuals identified with emotional and behavioral disabilities, specific learning disabilities, or mild and moderate forms of developmental disabilities. Each student is mentored by an appropriately certified professional educator during the internship.
Students seeking initial teacher certification must apply to the Professional Educator Preparation Program (PEPP) after having successfully completed 12 credits. They also must have received positive reports from cooperating practitioner and university professor (s), maintained a minimum of a 3.0 GPA and successfully completed the Praxis Test of Core Academic Skills.
General Special Education: Initial Certification
The General Special Education sequence of courses is designed for students who hold a bachelor’s degree and seek initial teaching certification in special education settings.
General Special Education: Autism Specialization
The General Special Education with an Autism specialization is designed for students who hold a bachelor’s degree and may or may not hold certification in early childhood, elementary or secondary education and wish to become certified in special education. The courses in this specialization prepares students with the knowledge to teach and work in a program or classroom setting with students on the autism spectrum.
Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities: Endorsement
The course of study for students seeking an endorsement for emotional and behavioral disabilities must have current teaching certification in either general education or special education. For individuals without special education certification, the program may lead to general special education certification (K-12), in addition to either emotional and behavioral disabilities or specific learning disabilities certification. In addition, specific pedagogy courses associated with the assessment and knowledge of persons with autism spectrum disorders are offered. This set of graduate courses prepares educators to work directly with students with emotional and behavioral disabilities in general and in special education classrooms as well as consult and collaboratorate with other professionals and family members.
Specific Learning Disabilities: Endorsement
The program provides opportunities to develop professional skills, knowledge, and competencies for the education of students with specific learning disabilities in grades K-12. Students are prepared to teach and consult with regular education teachers recommending methods to assist students with specific disabilities in ways to be successful in inclusive classrooms. The program culminates with a full-time internship in a school setting with children and adolescents identified with a specific learning disability with a certified teacher in specific learning disabilities.
Specific Pedagogy Core Courses* and Internship Seminars**
- Students seeking the degree with one professional endorsement for emotional and behavioral disabilities or specific learning disabilities may take ED 530 Assessment of Learning and Reading Disabilities or ED 534 Assessment of Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities prior to ED 694 Internship Seminar: Professional Endorsement I for a total of 39 credits.
- Students seeking both endorsements take ED 530 Assessment of Learning Disabilities and ED 535 Assessment of Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities prior to taking ED 694 Internship Seminar Endorsement I and ED 696 Internship Seminar Endorsement II for a total of 48 credits.
- Students seeking content in autism only take ED 597 ABAI: Assessment and Monitoring of ASD prior to ED 690 Internship/Seminar: Initial Certification or ED 671 Capstone Project for a total of 39 credits.