Course Descriptions — Special Education

SPED2120 Characteristics and Identification of Disabilities and the Law
4 semester hours
The focus of this course will be on the defining characteristics of disability classi­fications in common use in the schools (learning disabilities, cognitive issues such as intellectual disabilities and traumatic brain injury, autism, emotional disorders, and physical disabilities/other health impaired), including discussion of subtypes within disability groupings that have been suggested by research, educational, or clinical practice. Definition of exceptionality and incidence rates and how they vary by state or urban/suburban/rural area will be considered. Moreover, candidates will be introduced to teaching interventions relevant to student needs in each area; these methods of instruction are for cross-categorical special education environments.  Historical per­spective will be given regarding major national education laws, including IDEA and the most recent reauthorization. Discussion will center on how these laws have been interpreted and how this impacts the service provision in the schools, both for students who receive accommodations (504 Plans) and for those who receive services from a variety of school professionals. The special education referral process will be studied, delineating how and when either a 504 Plan or an Individual Education Plan might be established. Also, state-level legislation that has influenced identification and placement will also be discussed. Ethical and legal issues related to issues such as confidentiality or the reporting of suspected abuse will also be considered. Includes 15 hours of observation centering on the legal aspects of the special education process.
Prerequisites: a) Passing an FBI National Fingerprinting Screening that encompasses passing a criminal background/sex offender check; b) passing a TB test; c) successfully completing at least 24 semester hours.


SPED2200 Cognitive Development of Typical and Atypical Learners
3 semester hours 
This course will address research and educational psychology theories related to typical physical and cognitive development and learning and disorders associated with the cognitive processes, ranging from constructivist research to information processing and brain imaging to behaviorism.. Additionally, contrasts will be drawn between the impact on various types of processing strengths and weaknesses, such as auditory or other sensory processing and memory, and how they might impact learning and behav­ior, as well as remedial efforts for differing disabilities, such as learning disabili­ties, intellectual disability, or acquired disorders (traumatic brain injury). Task analyses focusing on receptive/expressive (input/output), visual/auditory, and verbal/nonverbal aspects of cognitive tasks will be undertaken for students ranging from primary to high school. The development of more metacognitive tasks, such the ability to monitor behavior, actively solve problems, and use study skills, will also be discussed, particularly for the middle and high school years. This serves as further introduction to the accommodations and strategies for teaching students in special education. Includes a minimum of 16 hours additional laboratory time of observation in the schools, focusing on the differential impact of cognitive disorders above. 
Prerequisites: a) Passing an FBI National Fingerprinting Screening that encompasses passing a criminal background/sex offender check; b) passing a TB test; c) SPED2120 or concurrent registration.


SPED2750 Clinical Immersion
1 semester hour
Clinical Immersion in special education is a 15-week course that contains an orientation component. Clinical Immersion is a one-credit class where candidates are required to participate in a classroom setting by working with elementary special education students one on one and/or small groups.  Candidates assist and support the cooperating teacher and K-5 learners in a variety of facets. Student activities are generated and supervised by the classroom teacher. Because this is designed to be a sophomore experience, the candidate will not act as the primary teacher at any time but instead may re-teach or assist, similar to the role of a para-educator.  The course is not designed for clerical duties and encourages students to observe the everyday classroom activities.  A reflective journal entry is a weekly requirement for candidates; evaluations and observations by AU faculty are also a component.
Prerequisites: a) Passing an FBI National Fingerprinting Screening that encompasses passing a criminal background/sex offender check; b) passing a TB test; c) SPED2120 or concurrent registration.


SPED3250 Advanced Special Education Law
2 semester hours
This course will develop a candidate’s knowledge of the special education law gained in Characteristics and Identification of Disabilities and the Law (or its equivalent), calling for the candidate to evaluate and apply that knowledge to the field of special education (e.g., through the use of case studies).   All aspects of the law, from referral and identification, Response to Intervention, the IEP process, and transitions within the service system will be studied.
Prerequisite: SPED2120 (or equivalent from a junior college).


SPED3350WI Introduction to Educational Research
3 semester hours 
Candidates will be introduced to educational research paradigms, including basic qualitative and quantitative methodology and how primary research should be evaluated.  The purpose of quantitative statistics and single subject design will be included.  Candidates will generate a brief survey of the literature in some area related to social behavior or motivational theory.   Based on the Social-Emotional Standards, social behavior will be viewed broadly, ranging from the individual's self-perceptions such as self-esteem and self-determination, to his or her ability to perceive social cues and to engage socially not only in the school but in the family and community. Other topics might include time management and self-advocacy for the middle and high school years. Moreover, research regarding the impact on behavior of preconceptions held by teachers and others regarding the students will be studied. . Due to the writing intensive nature of this course, it is anticipated that the course will be taken primarily by majors in the field of special education or disability studies. 
Prerequisites: a) Passing an FBI National Fingerprinting Screening that encompasses passing a criminal background/sex offender check; b) passing a TB test; c) SPED2120 or concurrent registration, IDS2000 with a grade of “C” or higher. Meets Writing Intensive requirement.

 
SPED3510 Diversity and Disability/ EDU3130 Cross Cultural Studies for Teaching English Language Learners
3 semester hours 
This course focuses on how language, culture/ethnicity, socioeconomic level, gender, perceived disability, and cultural awareness impact the teaching and learning of diverse children. An additional focus will be on how various social institutions, particularly the school and family, may define roles and issues of diversity and disability and how this may impact collaboration and communication in regular, ESL/Bilingual, and special education. Research related to over- and under-representation, including potential bias in assessment and identification, will be studied. Finally, the teaching of appropriate strategies to support a diverse population will be addressed. Includes 20 hours of clinical experience in the form of a laboratory attached to the course. 
Prerequisites: a) Passing an FBI National Fingerprinting Screening that encompasses passing a criminal background/sex offender check; b) passing a TB test and c) SPED3120 (or PSY3460 + SPED3810) or concurrent registration.


SPED3610 Oral Language Development and Disorders/EDU3610 Linguistics for Teaching English Language Learners
3 semester hours 
This course covers the nature and functions of language: phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics as well as the analysis and application of linguistic theory. It also contrasts theories and processes related to second language acquisition with typical monolingual oral and nonverbal development of the K-21 period. This, in turn, will be distinguished from atypical development. Informal assessment, teaching techniques, and accommodations, will be an additional focus. Specific focus will be given to communication intervention for some children, such as those using ESL, sign language, or alternative and augmentative communication. Includes 20 hours of clinical experience laboratory for special education majors and those who use this course for an ESL/Bilingual Endorsement, including informal assessment and exposure to software technology in common use in the schools. 
Prerequisites: : a) Passing an FBI National Fingerprinting Screening that encompasses passing a criminal background/sex offender check; b) passing a TB test; c) EDU1030, SPED2120; d) passage of the ISBE/TAP test.


SPED3620Language Development & Diversity
3 semester hours
This course will provide a foundation in typical language development; while the first six years of life will be surveyed, the focus will be on language development in the school-aged years (including high school).  This study will then be applied to advancing an understanding of how this developmental process intersects with linguistic diversity often noted in English Language Learners and students with disabilities.  In addition to topics related to language acquisition, other aspects of diversity that may impact students’ engagement in the classroom will be studied, such as culture/ethnicity (beyond linguistics per se and including cultures’ belief structures regarding disability and parental roles in education), socio-economic level (class), religion and gender.  There will be recursive discussion regarding the impact of all issues on English Language Learners and students with disabilities and how this may impact the classroom and school community.
Prerequisites: ENG1030, SPED2120.


SPED3750 Prosocial Skills and Challenging Behaviors
3 semester hours 
Initial focus will be on developing prosocial behavior, thereby facilitating involvement in the least restrictive environment, and how intervention may be adjusted based on needs of students with varying disabilities.  Both school-wide and classroom-wide strategies will be discussed.  Therefore, programs in common use in the schools, such as PBIS, and how they relate to Response to Intervention will be studied.  Subsequent focus will be on behavioral interventions for more challenging behaviors and how issues may change from the elementary to high school years. Environmental modifications, techniques of non-aversive behavioral control and methods to maintain attention, and effective reinforcement techniques will be taught. Techniques such as problem solving, crisis prevention, and conflict resolution, also potentially used to develop prosocial behavior, will be extending in this class to deal with more significant behavior problems, including issues such as self- stimulation and self-abuse. Issues related to the law and the range of service pro­vision outside the school, such as residential placements, will be discussed in relation to challenging behaviors and how the schools collaborate with external professional groups. 
Prerequisites: a) Passing an FBI National Fingerprinting Screening that encompasses passing a criminal background/sex offender check; b) passing a TB test; c) SPED2120.

SPED3760 Functional Behavior Assessments

1 semester hour
Candidates will gain applied knowledge and practice creating functional behavior assessments plans.  This course will serve as an extension of SPED3750 Prosocial Skills and Challenging Behaviors and should be taken concurrently; it will be an eight-week course in the second half of the semester in which SPED3750 is taken.
Prerequisites: SPED3750 concurrently; Special Education majors; Disability Studies majors; others by departmental permission.

 

SPED3815 Strategies for Students with Low Incidence Disabilities
2 semester hours

This course will focus on intervention techniques, adaptations, and assistive technology for students with more significant disabilities, including intellectual disability, traumatic brain injury, orthopedic impairments, more significant autism, and other health impaired. Typical and atypical motor development will be addressed. Functional adaptation of curriculum will be stressed, as well as resources available in the community and transition needs for this population. Study will span the needs of students in relation to life skills, recreation/leisure, community, and career/vocational issues and the development of goals and interventions to meet those needs. Specific life skills addressed will include toileting, eating, dressing, grooming, mobility, positioning, and transfers. Includes a minimum of 16 hours additional laboratory time of school observation.
Prerequisties: a) Passing an FBI National Fingerprinting Screening that encompasses passing a criminal background/sex offender check; b) passing a TB test and c) SPED2120 Characteristics and Identification of Disabilities and the Law - or concurrent registration.


SPED3850 Assistive Technology
1 semester hour
This course will introduce candidates to the application of the most frequently used assistive technology devices in the schools, both low and high tech.  In general, more intense focus will be placed on devices and technology used for students who are included in the regular classroom although all candidates will receive an overview of techniques for a range of students with disabilities.  For instance, all candidates will be exposed to use of a PECS system such as Boardmaker.
Prerequisite: SPED2120 or consent of instructor.

 
SPED/EDU3860 Psychological/Educational Assessment of Bilingual/ELLs and Students with Disabilities/Assessment of Bilingual Students
4 semester hours 
This course focuses on the assessment of language, development, academic performance, psychosocial behavior and vocational skills for the P-12 grades and how it is used to identify, place and monitor ELLs and students with disabilities. Particular emphasis will be placed on differential identification of these two groups. Moreover, issues related to second language acquisition, cognitive development (e.g., memory, speed of processing), modification, and adaptations will be addressed. Case studies will be used to understand the process of differential diagnosis, assessment of the learning environment (including curriculum-based assessment and portfolio assessment), and planning for instruction. Oral and written dissemination of results will be included. State and local language and learning assessment tools will be examined. Research will focus on the strengths and limitations of formal and informal testing and how this impacts response to intervention and service provision for ELLs and students with disabilities. Includes 20 hours of laboratory assessment and clinical experience. 
Prerequisites: Acceptance into the School of Education; passage of the Basic Skills Test; Special Education major or consent of the instructor; GPA of 3.0; a) Passing an FBI National Fingerprinting Screening that encompasses passing a criminal background/sex offender check; b) passing a TB test; c) SPED2120 or concurrent registration.


SPED4200 Introduction to Lifespan Work with People with Autism Spectrum Disorders    
3 semester hours 
Participants will develop an understanding of the characteristics of students and adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). A brief history of autism, and related disorders, will precede current research on the etiology and psychological theories of ASD's causality. Participants will gain an understanding of the systems and institutions involved in the diagnosis, treatment and case management of students and adults with autism spectrum disorders as well as identify the use of broad evidence-based education and treatment methods. Emphasis will be placed on early identification of autism and treatment of school-aged children through transition and into adulthood. The topics of child-centered inclusive education and ongoing family-centered support systems in home, school and community settings will also be discussed. This course will provide a thorough grounding in the characteristics of autism spectrum disorder and introduce the learner to best practices in serving persons experiencing ASD. Eligible for graduate credit. 
Prerequisites: a) Passing an FBI National Fingerprinting Screening that encompasses passing a criminal background/sex offender check; b) passing a TB test; c) SPED2120 or concurrent registration.

 
SPED4250 Behavioral Topics Relevant to People with Autism Spectrum Disorders
3 semester hours 
This course covers advanced strategies and interventions through behavioral principles and stressing positive support. For example, the research and clinical use of Applied Behavior Analysis will be examined. While focusing on people with autism, the research-based practices covered in the course are applicable to other individuals with behavioral disorders. Eligible for graduate credit. 
Prerequisites: a) Passing an FBI National Fingerprint Screening that encompasses passing a criminal background/sex offender check; b) passing a TB test; c) SPED2120 and junior status.


SPED4300 Advocacy of and Models for Vocational, Social/Leisure, and Residential Needs of People with Disabilities
3 semester hours 
Service models that cover the range of support services needed by people with disabilities will be investigated, including vocational, social/leisure, residential and case management spheres. In addition to providing evaluation of intervention techniques such as job-coaching, sheltered employment, group and independent living options, and the importance of integrated opportunities for social/leisure activities, the course will provide historical context for service provision and require candidates to evaluate where the field should expand in relation to advocacy activities for people with disabilities. Eligible for graduate credit. 
Prerequisites: a) Passing an FBI National Fingerprinting Screening that encompasses passing a criminal background/sex offender check; b) passing a TB test; c) SPED2120 or concurrent registration.


SPED4350 Integrating Assistive Technology and Curricular Adaptations
3 semester hours 
This course will focus on assistive technology, curricular adaptations and modifications that allow students with disabilities to achieve success in the least restrictive environment. Moreover, these will be put in the context of universal design and differentiation such that implementation can be fluid and help not only students with varying exceptionalities but also all students in a classroom. Therefore, this course will integrate the needs of the individual student with exceptionalities and the larger school community. Themes include low vs. high technology applications, professional development, and establishing a district plan that will allow constant updating of both software/equipment and training of personnel and families that are financially and programmatically viable. Eligible for graduate credit. 
Prerequisites: a) Passing an FBI National Fingerprinting Screening that encompasses passing a criminal background/sex offender check; b) passing a TB test; c) SPED2120 or concurrent registration.


SPED4400 Internship in Vocational, Social/Leisure, and/or Residential Agencies Serving People with Disabilities
4 semester hours 
Students will engage in two eight-week placements in two different life areas: vocational, social/leisure or residential to gain a broad exposure to the types of support service offered to adults with disabilities. With permission of the chair, a placement in an agency devoted to advocacy or political lobbying for people with disabilities is another viable option. This internship will be accompanied by a two-semester hour seminar to both provide support and to expose all candidates in the course to the variety of employment opportunities. 
Prerequisites: All major courses (can be concurrent registration); a) Passing an FBI National Fingerprinting Screening that encompasses passing a criminal background/sex offender check; b) passing a TB test; c) SPED2120 or concurrent registration; SPED4300.


SPED4450 Collaboration and Changing Roles in Special Education
 3 semester hours 
Study of changing roles and collaborative efforts in special education from a school and district perspective. Develop an understanding of interrelated needs of students, parents, schools and the community, particularly in diverse settings, as well as the resources available within communities. Study of the effective implementation of special education program change in the school and community setting through consensus building and negotiation as it relates to stakeholders from diverse perspectives. Themes include least restrictive environment and how it can be achieved through collaboration and co-teaching; transition and how it can be facilitated with collaborative relationships with community organizations, school personnel and families; professional development to enable changing roles to be effective. Eligible for graduate credit. 
Prerequisites: a) Passing an FBI National Fingerprinting Screening that encompasses passing a criminal background/sex offender check; b) passing a TB test; c) SPED2120 or concurrent registration.

 
SPED4500 Mathematics and Science Methods for Students with Disabilities
 3 semester hours 
The development of mathematical and science knowledge and reasoning will be studied in conjunction with disorders of these domains. Candidates will learn to assess and remediate weaknesses in both physical, biological and social sciences and mathematics, including the use of manipulatives and software technology. Strategy instruction as applied to the sciences will be a focus for middle and high school levels, as well as common accommodations. The development of lesson plans to deal with difficulties that may be encountered in topics such as estimation, men­tal mathematics, measurement, algebra, geometry, patterns and problem solving in mathematics; the inquiry process, experimentation, and safety in science; and integration and interrelatedness of areas within the social sciences will be cov­ered. For all domains, the importance of utilizing authentic activities that take into account issues of diversity and facilitate the student's integrating academic skills to the spheres of family, community, vocation and recreation will be stressed. Includes a minimum of 16 hours laboratory time for embedded clinical experience at the elementary and middle/high school levels, focusing on collaboration in mathematics and sciences. 
Prerequisites: Acceptance into the School of Education including passing the TAP and a Special Education major; maintaining a GPA of 3.0; a) Passing an FBI National Fingerprinting Screening that encompasses passing a criminal background/sex offender check; b) passing a TB test; c) SPED2120 or concurrent registration.


SPED4550 Reading Disabilities Theory and Interventions
4 semester hours 
The focus of this course will be on the theoretical models of reading develop­ment and disorders and how these theories have impacted the definition of the causes, diagnosis and treatment of reading disorders. Normal development of pre-reading and reading skills will be contrasted with atypical development. Research regarding how reading achievement relates to decoding and phono­logical awareness; word recognition; vocabulary; comprehension; fluency; self- monitoring; and instruction/service provision (individual, small group, and whole-class programs) will be studied, with practice of intervention techniques. For the middle and high school years, techniques effective for various domain areas will be stressed, as well as how accommodations in relation to reading can be integrated into the student’s curriculum. In addition, the course will include further training on the standardized tests and software technology interventions specific to reading, as well as the performance of informal measures such as run­ning records and informal reading inventories, with a focus on error analysis, interpretation, and communication of results to students, families and colleagues. Includes additional laboratory time of a minimum of 20 hours of work with students in addition to semester hours. 
Prerequisites: Acceptance into the School of Education including passing the Basic Skills Test/TAP; maintaining a GPA of 3.0; a) Passing an FBI National Fingerprinting Screening that encompasses passing a criminal background/sex offender check; b) passing a TB test; c) EDU3480, SPED2120, SPED4660 or concurrent registration.


SPED4610 Written Language Development and Disorders
4 semester hours 
This course will study theories and research regarding the development and dis­orders of written language, including handwriting, spelling and written discourse, from emergent literacy to strategies for research and essay forms used more exten­sively in middle/high school. The range of impact, dependent on disability, will be investigated, both in regard to academic, social and vocational pursuits. For­mal and informal assessments to elicit and analyze written language samples will be learned and practiced, as well as lesson plans using remedial techniques and software technology commonly in use for varying disabilities, ranging from learn­ing disabilities to physical disorders impacting the physical act of writing. Includes a minimum of 15 hours working with students at both the elementary and middle/high school levels.  Includes a one-hour lab in addition to semester hours. 
Prerequisites: Acceptance into the School of Education including passing the Basic Skills Test/TAP; maintaining a GPA of 3.0; a) Passing an  FBI National Fingerprinting Screening that encompasses passing a criminal background/sex offender check; b) passing a TB test; c) EDU2100, EDU2260, SPED2120, EDU3480.


SPED4620 Collaboration Models for Inclusion
4 semester hours 
Intervention theories and models for the preschool to postsecondary years will be investigated, ranging from individual to small group to inclusion classroom settings. An overview of how remedial efforts in oral language, read­ing, writing, mathematics, nonverbal and social issues might interrelate will be delineated. Current trends in service provision will be explored, such as response to intervention models. The role of the special educator as a facilitator for dif­ferentiating curriculum and providing accommodations in the regular education classroom will be highlighted, as well as co-planning and co-teaching models. Moreover, transition services and how they might be impacted by differing needs dependent upon disability will be an additional focus. Local and state resources that pertain to issues of employment, sexuality, independent living and learning, and social participation in leisure activities will be explored, particularly for the middle and high school student. Special educators’ varying roles, from address­ing family concerns and advocacy to supervision of para-educators, will be dis­cussed. Candidates will be exposed to professional organizations in the field and will develop a professional development plan and a personal philosophy of spe­cial education. The necessity for consultation, collaboration and flexibility of services will permeate all discussion of theory and models. Includes a minimum of 15 hours of observation and work related to course topics. 
Prerequisites: Passing an FBI National Fingerprinting Screening that encompasses passing a criminal background/sex offender check; b) passing a TB test; c) SPED2120 or concurrent registration.


SPED4660 Direct Instruction Reading Methods
2 semester hours 
This course will focus primarily on interventions for students that benefit from highly structured, explicit instruction in reading. Interventions, methods and programs for small groups and individualized instruction will be evaluated.  Systems that may be investigated include, but are not limited to, Multi-sensory Instruction, Direct Instruction and Cognitive Strategies (e.g., Lindamood Bell and the Wilson System). Requires 14 hours (minimum) of school laboratory time in addition to semester hours. 
Prerequisites: Acceptance into the School of Education and Special Education major, including passing the Basic Skills Test/TAP, maintaining a GPA of 3.0, a) Passing an FBI National Fingerprinting Screening that encompasses passing a criminal background/sex offender check; b) passing a TB test; c) SPED2120, EDU3480.


SPED4750 Student Teaching in Special Education
10 semester hours 
The student teaching experience involves placement in a special education setting under the supervision of a certified teacher. Placements will encompass the K-21 age range, experiencing two separate placements, and including a range of level of disability. Candidates will capitalize on skills learned in earlier courses to conduct formal, informal and functional assessments. Based on this information, they will generate and imple­ment lesson plans, establishing an effective learning climate for their students. Additionally, candidates must demonstrate the ability to collaborate with col­leagues, para-educators (candidates should expect a supervisory role as well), other professionals within the school and community, and families to meet students' academic, social and life skill needs. In short, the candidate will learn to fill all roles and major functions expected of the special educator, with the benefit of supervision. 
Prerequisites: Admission to the School of Education, a 3.0 or better GPA in special education courses, officially reported passing score on the pertinent Illinois certification tests (Basic Skills/TAP; Assessment of Professional Teaching K-12; Learning Behavior Specialist I (content area); and Special Education General Curriculum Test (content area), all Special Education coursework for the major.


SPED4760 Seminar for Student Teaching in Special Education
 3 semester hours 
The special education student teaching seminar will guide the teacher candidate through their student teaching experience by facilitating work and discussions on competencies related to becoming a successful special educator. As part of this work, the teacher candidate will complete an electronic professional portfolio structured around the Illinois Professional Teaching Standards and the Council on Exceptional Children (CEC) standards. Seminar topics will cover best practices in instructional decision making, analysis of student learning via formative and summative assessments, self-evaluation of teaching practices through the use of action research, supporting diverse learners through a positive, prosocial learning environment, professional and legal obligations as a special educator, fostering positive parent and community relationships, seeking and obtaining a teaching position, managing the first year as a professional special educator, and becoming a teacher leader in the first year of teaching and beyond. In particular, the seminar will provide candidates with support in completing their comparative case study projects that will be incorporated into their portfolio in Livetext, with a focus on how to conduct effectively action research in the candidate’s own classroom, developing culturally responsive collaboration and co-teaching skills, professional ethics, and professional development plans for lifelong learning. Includes support for ISBE TPA. 
Prerequisites: Admission to the School of Education, a 3.0 or better GPA in special education courses, officially reported passing score on the pertinent Illinois certification tests (Basic Skills/TAP; Assessment of Professional Teaching K-12; Learning Behavior Specialist I (content area); and Special Education General Curriculum Test (content area), all special education coursework for the major; concurrent enrollment in SPED4750.