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Special Educator Professional Development Opportunities - Program Courses


Professional Development Courses
(can apply to master's or continuing license in special education)
Credits Fall Winter Spring Summer
SpEd 418/518 Survey of Exceptional Learners 3 X X X X
SpEd 510 Legal Aspects in Special Education 3     X  
SpEd 510 Teacher Training of Paraprofessional Teams 3       X
SpEd 510 Assistive Technology, Augmentative, and Alternative Communication 3       X
SpEd 510 Academic Assessment and Evaluation of English Language Learners 3       X

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Course Descriptions

SPED 418/518  Survey of Exceptional Learners (3 credits)
Distance education
This is an overview of working with individuals with exceptionalities, including special education and multicultural differences. The nature of diversities (including the talented and gifted) and educational ramifications for the teacher will be addressed.

SPED 510  Teacher Training of Paraprofessional Teams Serving Students with Significant Disabilities (3 credits)
Focus on research-based best practices in the training and supervision of educational assistants by special education teachers. Learn a variety of strategies for organizing paraprofessional work, establishing monitoring and documentation systems, providing training and feedback, and developing a staff team within the classroom or program. Examine your own and other teachers' issues and approaches to paraprofessional supervision.

SPED 510  Assistive Technology, Augmentative, and Alternative Communication (3 credits)
Develop theoretical foundations for the assessment and selection of assistive technology and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) for individuals with significant and multiple disabilities, including autism spectrum disorders, early childhood through adulthood. This course emphasizes the impact of motor skills, cognitive skills, and visual skills on the selection of assistive technology and AAC. It provides instructional strategies for teaching individuals with disabilities to use assistive technology and AAC. Topics include funding of assistive technology and AAC devices, language development for students who use AAC devices, AAC strategies for beginning communicators, culturally responsive assessment, and the use of assistive technology and AAC to improve access to general education curriculum.

SPED 510  Legal Aspects of Special Education (3 credits)
Provides a thorough overview of the laws that govern the provision of special education services in the schools and their application in practice. Focus on recent changes in special education law and the implications for special educators. Using a seminar format, discuss recent cases and situations in order to learn how to interpret and apply legal guidelines in different situations. Highly recommended for all special eductors as an update since the reauthorization of IDEA and its application in public schools.

SPED 510 Academic Assessment and Evaluation of English Language Learners (3 credits)
Provides knowledge and skills that constitute the latest empirically-based methods for evaluating the academic abilities of English language learners. Understand the developmental issues and foundations that affect measurement of ELL abilities including the interaction between classroom learning and achievement and cognitive and linguistic development. Basic topics include the concept of achievement and learning, use of formal and informal measures, group screening, individual diagnostic and proficiency tests for measuring reading, writing, mathematics, as well as other school-based skills (e.g., comprehension). Learn a framework for assessment that integrates parallel processes in development including language, cognition, and achievement. Review second language acquisition and bilingual education methodology as background for understanding language and cultural issues related to fair and equitable assessment of multilingual and multicultural populations.


More professional development for special educators