A critical analysis of current issues related to identification and programming for children with special needs. The emphasis is on using well-founded research to inform instructional practices and decision-making. This course is designed to promote reflective thinking about key topics in Special Education that educators must conceptualize from both theoretical and practical perspectives. It is intended to provide students with knowledge, skills, and attitudes that will enable evidence-based understanding of what is involved in working with exceptional learners across a variety of settings, but primarily in an inclusive classroom situation. Focus is placed on curriculum being flexible in responding to diversity, so that teachers are guided to make appropriate accommodations and modified expectations for the various categories of exceptionality. Since characteristics of special needs and second language learners are often inter-related, ESL support will also be addressed. This course includes a service-learning experiential component to enable students to make connections between theory, research, and practice and to offer them an opportunity to connect with a community or organization where they may support students with learning needs and reflect on their experience.
Applied Psychology and Human Development