SPED - Special Education

Volume 1: 2018.2019

Effective 1 June 2018 through 31 May 2019

Please see the Graduate Catalog Archives for PDF versions of past catalogs.

Course Descriptions

SPED 5010 Differentiated Mathematics Instruction (3)

This is a special topics course designed to explore the literature and current practices in differentiating math instruction in K-12 classrooms. The primary objective of this class is for students to advance their professional knowledge, skills and practice for effectively teaching mathematics through differentiated instruction. An additional emphasis will be placed on response to intervention and students will learn how to assess mathematics formatively and develop strategies and interventions that target specific math difficulties. Prerequisites: MATH 4310 and SPED 5860.

SPED 5020 Assistive Technology for Students with Special Needs (2-3)

This course focuses on hardware and software designed for persons with disabilities. Students will carry out a hands-on project designed to provide educators with the tools needed to evaluate hardware and software in relation to a student’s specific disability.

SPED 5030 Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities (3)

This courses focuses on the identification and characteristics of students with mild/moderate disabilities, including learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities,, emotional and behavioral disorders, physical disorders, and other health impairments.

SPED 5040 Analysis and Correction of Reading Disabilities (3)

This course focuses on the identification and characteristics of students with significant reading disabilities requiring special education services. The focus on the course in on informal and formal assessment procedures, diagnosis and intervention. Prerequisites: COMM 5820 or COMM 5830 and SPED 5240.

SPED 5050 Language Development (3)

This course examines language development in children and youth with and without disabilities. Evaluation of language delays, differences and disabilities are reviewed. Language intervention activities for English Language Learners and students with disabilities as well as English language arts education instructional strategies are covered. Prerequisite: SPED 5240.

SPED 5090 Special Education Practicum (1-3)

All practicum assignments are to be made with prior approval from the instructor. Students should request a practicum application from their advisor at the time of registration. Location, field experience, and identity of the practicum supervisor will be decided upon in each practicum situation. Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor; completion of coursework in the specific area of the practicum, including a minimum of 3 credit hours from the Webster University School of Education. May be repeated for credit if content differs.

  • Practicum: Learning Disabled (1-3 hours)
  • Practicum: Behavior Disorders (1-3 hours)
  • Practicum: Mentally Handicapped (1-3 hours)
  • Practicum: Severe Developmental Disabilities (1-3 hours)
  • Practicum: Cross-Cat (1-3 hours)

SPED 5091 Apprentice Teaching (8-10)

This supervised field experience is required for candidates pursuing initial teacher certification in Mild/Moderate Disabilities: Cross-Categorical (K-12). During apprentice teaching, the preservice teacher is given an opportunity to analyze pedagogical competencies and to build his/her own personal strategies for teaching and learning. Reflective thought, observation, discussion, and actual teaching will be used to expand his/her skills. The student teacher is expected to conduct informal assessment, design and teach instructional programs and thematic units, write lesson plans on a daily basis, observe practicing teachers in other settings, and identify and develop goals for a professional development plan. This field experience requirement can be satisfied by a semester experience through a university sponsored placement in an approved educational setting. Paraprofessionals or provisionally certified teachers working in approved special education settings may satisfy this requirement through credit by examination, with prior approval of the advisor and SPED program coordinator. Prerequisites: B or better in SPED 5090; permission of advisor and SPED program coordinator.

SPED 5200 Independent Study (1-3)

Students with special interests or needs not met by existing curricula may request that a faculty member supervise an independent study. Together the student and faculty member decide the content of the study and the criteria for evaluation. In no case can an independent study be set up when an existing course already treats the subject. Prerequisite: Permission of the coordinator. May be repeated for credit if content differs.

SPED 5210 In-Service Education (1-4)

Webster offers various graduate in-service courses that are not part of the existing  curricula but provide experiences important to the academic and professional development of educators. Consult the semester course listings for specific topics. Prerequisite: Prior approval of the advisor. May be repeated for credit if content differs.

SPED 5220 Topics in Special Education (1-3)

Students in this course explore, in depth, specific topics in the education of children with special needs. Topics are selected that promote the integration of these children into the mainstream of education. Topics vary. May be repeated for credit if content differs.

SPED 5230 Program Models in Special Education (3)

This course focuses on programs developed for the population of students receiving special education services. The content explores philosophy, theoretical framework, curriculum, methodology, learning environment, teacher and student roles, and parent involvement. Students replicate portions of specific models and develop teaching strategies that would be characteristic of particular models. Special attention is given to mainstreaming approaches.

SPED 5240 Psychoeducational Assessment (3)

This course examines assessment of students with learning difficulties. A review of the statistical properties of standardized instruments and the social and legal issues in testing is presented to provide a framework from which students examine instruments of intelligence, language, perception, motor skills, academics, and behavior. The information derived from these instruments is used to determine specific strengths and weaknesses in individual students using a case-study approach.

SPED 5245 Counseling for Life's Transitions (3)

This course focuses on counseling and communication techniques appropriate to the needs of the exceptional individual and their families. The content and skills needed for special educators to facilitate effective transitions at multiple transition periods from birth through age twenty-one are a major focus of the course. Curriculum and instruction for the transitions period from school to adult life specifically addresses post-secondary education, vocational training, integrated employments (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living and community participation. Prerequisite: SPED 5860.

SPED 5250 Behavior Management for Children with Special Needs (2-3)

Students are introduced t the principles and techniques of behavior management appropriate to the needs of individual students with disabilities. Students will utilize the framework of Positive Interventions and Support to support students with challenging behavior at the school, classroom, and individual level. Content includes understanding student behavior, partnering with students and families, identifying problem behaviors, functional behavior assessment, direct and indirect observational techniques, preventative and pre-correction techniques, methods to strengthen, replace or weaken behavior, measurement techniques, and program evaluation.

SPED 5260 Career Preparation for Students with Special Needs (3)

This course presents teachers with career development concepts and techniques for preparing students with special needs to make the successful transition from school to working and living in the community. Career education models and programming strategies are presented for elementary through secondary educational levels, with emphasis on adolescents. Prerequisite: SPED 5860.

SPED 5270 Advocating for Persons with Disabilities (3)

Students examine the role of teachers, parents, and professionals in advocating for appropriate services for persons with disabilities. Special emphasis is on the parent-professional relationship, civil rights, due process, participation in educational planning, and advocating for fuller inclusion.

SPED 5280 Attention Deficit Disorder (2-3)

Students examine in depth the characteristics of attention deficit disorder and review educational strategies and interventions that can be implemented within educational settings.

SPED 5290 Collaborative Practices for the 21st Century Classroom (3)

This course focuses on professional collaboration, including teachers working together as well as students working together. Participants will learn to use a variety of collaborative structures, effective collaboration and cooperative teaching techniques, problem solving methods, effective communication and negotiation techniques, and devices for enhancing content and learning. The course is designed for general and special education teachers, as well as other education professionals, who co-teach, serve on problem-solving teams and consults in schools.

SPED 5300 Communicating with Families and Disabled Persons (3)

The course focuses on counseling and communication techniques appropriate to the needs of the exceptional individuals and their families.

SPED 5310 Education for Adolescents with Special Needs (3)

Participants explore the needs of adolescents with special needs. Emphasis is on academic planning, social and emotional needs, career and vocational planning, and program models.

SPED 5311 Assessment of Functional Skills for Students with Severe Developmental Disabilities and Autism (3)

This course examines the use of standardized and ecologically based assessments in all areas of skill development. Coursework includes the opportunity to examine and use a number of different assessments designed for students with severe developmental disabilities and autism.

SPED 5312 Curriculum and Methods of Teaching Students with Severe Developmental Disabilities and Autism (3)

This course examines the development and implementation of chronologically age-appropriate functional curriculum for students with severe developmental disabilities or autism in integrated settings. Curriculum and instructional strategies in the areas of domestic skills, vocational skills, leisure skills, and community access skills are covered as well as skills in the embedded areas of communication, social, motor, and functional academics.

SPED 5313 Augmentative and Alternative Communication for Students with SDD and Autism (3)

This course introduces strategies for enhancing the functional communication skills of students with severe developmental disabilities or autism. The use of aided and non-aided augmentative strategies are addressed as well as alternative communication systems with an emphasis on using a multi-modality approach.

SPED 5314 Children and Youth with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders (3)

This course examines current knowledge and theory of the educational, sociocultural, psychological, and biological factors that influence children and youth with, or at risk for, emotional and behavioral disorders. The course content focuses on current issues and practices regarding characteristics, identification, and assessment procedures specific to this population of students with disabilities.

SPED 5315 Assessment, Evaluation, and Diagnosis of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders (3)

Students explore a variety of behavioral and psychoeducational assessment techniques that are relevant to the evaluation of children and youth with suspected emotional and behavioral disorders. Functional behavior assessment and analysis, behavior checklists and rating scales, questionnaires, and interviews will be examined in depth.

SPED 5316 Instructional Methods for Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders (3)

Focuses on educational programming of students with emotional and behavioral disorders including IEP development, instructional techniques, curricular modifications, scheduling, classroom management tactics, individual behavior management plans, and psychoeducational strategies. Prerequisite: SPED 5240.

SPED 5317 Therapeutic Interventions for Disturbed Students (3)

This course examines a variety of psychoeducational and cognitive-behavioral interventions applicable to students with emotional and behavioral disorders. Intervention strategies include life space intervention, group meetings, bibliotherapy and mutual storytelling, self-management, rational emotive therapy and education, stress inoculation, anger control, and self-instructional training. Students are expected to design and implement a selected intervention.

SPED 5318 Global Issues in Special Education (2-3)

This required course will introduce students to current issues in special education on a global level. Students select and explore a current issue in special education, based on a focused review of published literature. Examples of issues may include: inclusion, discipline, identification and classification, national assessments, curriculum standards. International perspectives to the selected issue are researched using published literature and reports, electronic contacts and the Internet. Students are expected to culminate their coursework by developing a reflective plan for further specialization in their graduate studies.

SPED 5319 Disability and Ethics (3)

This course explores the topic of ethics and  professional conduct in situations involving persons with disability. Modern moral philosophical theories will be reviewed and applied to specific cases. Both margin of life issues and quality of life issues are discussed. Codes of ethics promulgated by American Psychological Association, Council for Exceptional Children, and the Behavior Analyst Certification Board are studied, through comparative analysis of case studies.

SPED 5320 Learning Strategies: A Cognitive Approach to Exceptional Learners (3)

This course focuses on the theoretical basis and the application of metacognitive approaches to the education of exceptional students.

SPED 5330 Legal Issues in Special Education (3)

Students review the laws governing special education at the federal and state levels. The course covers the interpretive framework encompassing recent judicial decisions that emphasize inclusion.

SPED 5331 Working with Difficult Students (3)

This course focuses on students who are difficult to teach, “inflexible and explosive” (Greene, 2005). Students examine the characteristics and features of students with disruptive behavior disorders, such as oppositional disorders, conduct disorders, and attentional disorders. Students read professional literature, review case studies, interview professionals and family members who are familiar with these youngsters, survey intervention approaches, and summarize findings into class presentations.

SPED 5340 Planning Transition (3)

Class members explore techniques and policies that enable children with special needs to make a successful transition into less restrictive educational or vocational environments.

SPED 5350 Enhancing Social Competency in Children with Special Needs (3)

Students examine a variety of strategies and curricula designed to promote social competency and self-regulation in children and youth. Examples of curricula that focus on social skills, problem solving, cooperation, friendship, and self-awareness are studied critically. Students are expected to select and instruct a specific curriculum with students with special needs.

SPED 5370 Educating Students with Physical and Health Impairments (3)

This course explores the academic, psychosocial, and physical needs of individuals with a variety of physical and health impairments, including chronic illnesses. Emphasis is on adaptations for the general education classroom.

SPED 5380 Methods for Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities I (3)

This course is designed to prepare the teachers of students with mild/moderate learning disabilities, behavior disorders, mental retardation, and physical and other health impairments to develop instructional strategies and curricula to provide an effective program in a range of placement settings, with an emphasis on inclusive placements. It emphasizes a metacognitive approach to instruction based on the functional analysis of the learning behaviors. It focuses on team model of planning and delivery, including the parents, regular education teachers and administrators, and support specialists. Prerequisite: SPED 5240.

SPED 5381 Methods for Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities II (3)

This course introduces pre-service special education teachers to the curriculum, organizational strategies, and instructional techniques appropriate to the needs of students with mild/moderate disabilities, with a focus in the content areas of physical education, health, art, music, science, child and adolescent literature and social studies (government, geography, and economics). It emphasizes the use of technology in adapting the general education curriculum based on a functional assessment of the curriculum and learner behavior. The course emphasizes team planning and delivery, including parents, regular education teachers, administrators, and support specialists. Prerequisite: SPED 5240.

SPED 5410 In-Service Topics (1-3)

In-service courses are designed to provide degree-seeking students with practical applications of contemporary research and methodology to improve classroom effectiveness. These courses have been approved for the program with prior approval of the student's advisor. May be repeated for credit if content differs.

SPED 5411 Instructional Methods for Students with Mental Retardation (3)

Focuses on educational programming of students with mental retardation, including IEP development, instructional techniques, curricular adaptations and modifications, scheduling, classroom management tactics, and metacognitive strategies. Prerequisite: SPED 5240.

SPED 5412 Instructional Methods for Students with Learning Disabilities (3)

Focuses on educational programming of students with learning disabilities, including IEP development, instructional techniques, curricular adaptations and modifications, scheduling, classroom management tactics, and cognitive and metacognitive strategies. Prerequisite: SPED 5240.

SPED 5413 Assessment of Learning and Learning Problems (3)

Students explore methods to assess and evaluate the academic skills and knowledge of K-12 pupils and the impact of instruction on student learning and behavior. Students will examine the practical and theoretical issues relating to assessment within the classroom. the course will prepare teachers in the development and administration of curriculum-based assessment techniques, behavioral assessment methodologies, and progress-monitoring strategies. Focus is placed on assessment strategies that identify struggling students.

SPED 5414 Children and Youth with Learning and Academic Disorders (3)

This course examines current knowledge and theory of the educational, sociocultural, psychological, and biological factors that influence children and youth with, or at risk for, academic disorders. The course content focuses on current issues and practices regarding characteristics, identification, and placements specific to this population of students with learning disabilities or mental retardation.

SPED 5480 Learning and Behavior Problems in the Classroom (3)

This course updates classroom teachers on effective teaching practices and strategies designed specifically for students with learning and behavior problems. Focus is placed on strategies that enhance the success of all students in the regular education setting, including elementary, middle, and high school.

SPED 5500 Socioemotional Development: Children with Special Needs (3)

This course addresses the implications of theories and research in the areas of social and emotional development of children with special needs. Students explore the relationship between cognitive development and social and emotional development. Emphasis is placed on investigation of environments and interactions that foster trust, self-regulation, self-esteem, social competence, and interdependence.

SPED 5660 Cognitive Development: Children with Special Needs (3)

This course focuses on the implications of current research in the area of cognitive development and learning theory on the education of children with special learning characteristics. Students examine advances in research on metacognition, executive control strategies, and psycholinguistics, and explore applications to individualized education.

SPED 5700 School-based Prevention/Intervention: RTI/PBIS (3)

Education is changing, due to the implementation of response to intervention (RTI) procedures within our schools. Response to Intervention is the practice of providing high quality instruction and interventions matched to student need, monitoring progress frequently to make decisions about changes in instruction or goals and applying child response data to important educational decisions. Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is the largest exemplar of RTI in the nation. The emphasis of this course is the understanding of the RTI/PBIS procedures and the various applications of RTI/PBIS within schools and individual classrooms.

SPED 5701 Universal School-Wide PBIS (3)

This introduction to the concepts and processes of PBIS will focus on school-wide implementation. School-wide implementation includes understanding roles and functions of the PBIS Universal Team, action planning for sustainable practices, data collection systems and tools, and the process for aggregating and analyzing data for decision making and action planning. Additionally, this course will provide an overview of the elements of School, Family, and Community Partnerships in relation to PBIS implementation, with an emphasis on proactive systems change that involves district, school, classroom, and individual student. Prerequisite: SPED 5700.

SPED 5702 Secondary Prevention/Targeted Group Interventions (3)

Secondary Prevention is designed for use in schools where there are students who are at risk of chronic problem behavior, but for whom high intensity interventions are not essential. In this course, students will learn about different secondary prevention interventions, how to determine who needs secondary level interventions, how to implement them and how to measure progress, fidelity, and social validity.

SPED 5703 Functional Behavior Assessment and Intervention (3)

Students will gain broad foundation skills in applied behavioral technology principles for the purpose of solving academic and behavior problems. Principles will include: problem identification and defining, functional behavior assessment, functional analysis, selection of quantitative measurement systems, development of systematic behavioral interventions, and progress evaluation through repeated (ongoing) measurement and use of single subject designs.

SPED 5704 PBIS/Systems Leadership: Staff Development & Coaching (2-3)

The purpose of this class is to give the tools necessary to implement school-wide PBIS or any research-based classroom management practices through presentations and coaching. The role of the coach is to provide collaborative and non-evaluative communication and feedback to teachers by creating a positive climate and common purpose among teachers and students. Prospective coaches will learn the skills of active listening, pausing, paraphrasing, and asking meditative questions. Additionally, students will learn how to plan, implement, and evaluate staff development.

SPED 5800 Applied Research Methods (3)

This is an introductory course in educational research methodology. Basic concepts of measurement, experimental and quasi-experimental research design, strategies of qualitative and quantitative research, data collections and analysis, and basic statistical procedures are introduced. This course enables students to read, interpret, evaluate, and plan educational and psychological research. Students learn to write a research proposal and complete a request for approval from Webster University’s Institutional Review Board (IRB).

SPED 5830 Evaluation (3)

This course is designed for all educators who wish to explore the importance of formal and informal evaluation procedures as related to the instructor in the classroom. Evaluation will review the concepts of assessment and measurement, study curriculum-based evaluation, teaching and decision making, and explore issues such as national standards, functional curriculum and behavior assessments, and social/cultural transformations in education as related to the ethics of evaluations.

SPED 5860 Psychology of the Exceptional Student (3)

This course focuses on students gaining an understanding of the abilities and disabilities of children who are commonly identified as exceptional or handicapped. Attention is given to the psychological and educational needs of these children and the instructional organization employed to meet such needs.

SPED 5880 Integrating Resources: Community, School, and Family (3)

This course is designed to help students identify changing family and community structures, patterns, and relationships. Students determine how these influence children and their educational needs. Methods of assessing family needs and interests, identifying and utilizing community resources, and responding to family needs through education and partnerships are addressed as well as models of consultation and case management in regard to children and families with special needs. They explore and simulate techniques for interacting with parents, and they examine collaboration strategies for interdisciplinary team efforts.

SPED 5900 Concepts and Principles of Behavior Analysis (3)

This graduate course introduces students to the foundational concepts and principles needed to work in the field of behavior analysis. The course focuses on identifying and defining the principles of behavior analysis used to assess behavior, develop and implement research-based interventions for reducing problem behaviors and teach new behaviors to individuals with behavior concerns. Basic laboratory research procedures that illuminate the principles of behavior will be addressed. The coursework covers the foundational knowledge and concepts listed on the BCBA Fourth Edition Task List needed to apply to sit for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst Examination. It is a prerequisite for all other courses in the Behavior Analysis series.

SPED 5901 Applied Behavior Analysis I (3)

Students study the principles and fundamentals required for the application of behavior change skills within the applied behavior analytical model of intervention. Following review of the concepts underlying the identification of problem behaviors, functional behavior assessment and analysis, direct and indirect observational techniques, and preventative and pre-correction techniques, students study methods to strengthen, replace or weaken behavior, specific change procedures, measurement techniques, and program evaluation.

SPED 5902 Applied Behavior Analysis II (3)

This course advances the principles of applied behavior analysis by examining systems of behavior changes, including self-management strategies, reinforcement systems, Direct Instruction, precision teaching, functional communication training, and others. Considerations made when planning and implementing behavior change systems are examined. Issues relating to implementation, management, and supervision of intervention are explored. Applications to individuals with Autism and Significant Disabilities. The coursework covers concepts needed for many of the basic skills listed on the BCBA Fourth Edition Task List needed to sit for the BSBA examination.

SPED 6000 Applied Field Research (1-6)

This course offers students an opportunity to engage in applied research and inquiry in order to evaluate and improve curriculum, instructional strategies and programs/services for students with disabilities. Students are encouraged to examine and reflect on typical evidence-based practices in the classroom or ones' work environment. Students may choose to conduct systematic field observations, action research, program evaluation, a behavior analytic intervention, and educational curriculum, or conduct a meta-analysis of research literature on a special education or ABA-related topic. Depending on the nature of the project, students may be required to submit a proposal the Webster University Institutional Review Board. Students are expected to work independently, with the guidance from the instructor of record and/or mentor. Students may register for a minimum of one credit, up to a maximum of six credits, depending on the extent and scope of the field research. Students considering graduate study at the doctoral level are encouraged to complete 6 credits of field research.

SPED 6250 Thesis (6)

The student completes a thesis project under the supervision of two faculty members. The thesis option is recommended for those considering graduate study at the doctoral level. All theses must follow university guidelines and be deposited in the Webster University library. Prerequisite: SPED 5800.