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Major in Special Education

With demand growing at an unprecedented rate, graduates with a degree in special education have a unique and important opportunity to use their education to educate children, adolescents and adults with developmental, learning or emotional disabilities.

Designed for creative, passionate and patient teacher candidates who have a desire to work in challenging settings, a career in special education will often provide rewards unseen in any other professional fields.

Elmhurst graduates in this field have an impressive job placement rate; 100% of our special education teacher candidates who graduated in May 2016 were employed before the start of the 2016-2017 school year.

The major leads to licensure as a Learning Behavior Specialist I and prepares candidates to teach students in kindergarten through high school with the following disabilities:

  • Autism
  • Cognitive disability
  • Emotional disability
  • Multiple disabilities
  • Orthopedic impairment
  • Other health impairment, and specific learning disabilities

Special education teacher candidates are also prepared to teach with technology and use assistive technology in their field placements and student teaching with K-12 students. Upon entry into the program, the candidates receive their own iPad with required program-identified apps and tools loaded for use in course activities, assignments and field experiences.

All special education candidates will earn the English as a Second Language (ESL) approval for Special Education or Bilingual Special Education Approval.

If candidates are interested in teaching young children with disabilities, they may earn the Early Childhood Special Education Approval. Candidates can also add the Reading Teacher Endorsement.

Suggested Course Sequence

Fall Term

  • ENG 105 Composition I
  • Integrated Curriculum Requirements

Spring Term

  • EDU 104 Cultural Foundations of Education in the United States
  • ENG 106 Composition II
  • Integrated Curriculum Requirements

Fall Term

  • EDU/SPE 223 Education of PK-12 Learners with Exceptionalities
  • MTH 325 Mathematical Concepts for Elementary Teachers
  • TEL 212 Theoretical Foundations of Teaching English Language Learners
  • Integrated Curriculum Requirements

January Term

  • TEL 212 Theoretical Foundations of Teaching English Language Learners (if not taken in fall)

Spring Term

  • EDU/SPE 311 Educational Psychology (prerequisites: ENG 106, EDU 104)
  • CSD 245 Survey of Communication Sciences and Disorders: Educational Settings
  • Integrated Curriculum Requirements

Fall Term (Block I)

  • SPE 300 Introduction to Curriculum, Planning, and Instruction (.75 credit)
  • SPE 301 Special Education Practicum I (.25 credit)
  • SPE 316 K-12 Literacy Instructional Strategies and Interventions (.75 credit)
  • SPE 338 Characteristics of Learners with Exceptionalities (.75 credit)
  • SPE 434 Curriculum, Assessment, Instructional Strategies for Learners with High Incidence Disabilities (.75 credit)
  • Integrated Curriculum Requirements

Spring Term (Block II)

  • SPE 350 Curriculum, Instruction and Assistive Technology Trends in Public Schools (.75 credit)
  • SPE 352 Special Education Practicum II (.25 credit)
  • SPE 438 Curriculum, Assessment, Instructional Strategies for Learners with Low Incidence Disabilities (.75 credit)
  • SPE 439 Characteristics and Specific Needs of Students with Physical, Health, and Sensory Impairments (.50 credit)
  • TEL 317 Methods and Materials for Teaching English Language Learners (.75 credit)

Fall Term (Block III)

  • SPE 435 The Learning Environment/Positive Behavior Support (.75 credit)
  • SPE 440 Diagnosis and Remediation of Reading Difficulties (.75 credit)
  • SPE 442 Remediation and Difficulties in Understanding and Applying Mathematics (.50 credit)
  • SPE 450 Special Education Practicum III: Collaboration and Professional Practice (1 credit)
  • TEL 439 Assessment of English Language Learners (.75 credit)

January Term

  • SPE 320 Establishing Professional Relationships: Communication and Collaboration (.75 credit)

Spring Term (Block IV)

  • SPE 458 A & B Student Teaching in Special Education (1.5 credit each)

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