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Education of Students with Severe Disabilities

This 15-credit graduate certificate program prepares teachers and related services professionals to work with students whose educational priorities include specialized supports and instruction in the areas of independent living and adaptive behavior. Participants gain specialized skills necessary for teaching individuals whose cognitive, sensory, language, and motor needs require intensive supports in order to engage meaningfully in school, home, and community activities.

In addition, students may combined this certificate with a second certificate in special education to pursue the Master of Science in General Special Education Studies.

Prerequisite Course

(May be taken elsewhere; must have been completed within the last two years.)

871.510 Legal Aspects, Service Systems, and Current Issues in Special Education
This survey course reviews litigated and legislated standards for special education and related services for persons with disabilities. Students explore current issues in the provision of services for persons with disabilities, including inclusion, the response to intervention (RTI), and regulations for eligibility. (3 credits)

Program Requirements

877.513 Education of Students with Severe Disabilities: Augmentative Communication Systems
Students examine the design of augmentative communication systems that include use of graphic symbols for individuals with severe disabilities. Participants design and construct communication aids and develop strategies for integrating augmentative communication into the curriculum.
877.514 Community and Independent Living Skills
This course reviews the philosophical movements that have fostered the improvements to the instruction of children, youth, and adults with disabilities. Participants (a) apply the principles of ecological assessment in the development of curriculum sequences for children and youth with severe disabilities; and (b) examine current research based teaching practices designed to promote the adaptive skills that contribute to the social competence and community acceptance of individuals with severe disabilities.
877.515 Education of Students with Severe Disabilities: Hearing and Vision Impairments
Participants review suitable methods of assessing the visual and auditory capabilities of students with severe and multiple disabilities and the instructional adaptations necessary to increase their function in daily activities. Topics include ocular and auditory pathologies and their educational implications, functional vision evaluation, and behavioral audiometry.
877.518 Education of Students with Severe Disabilities: Management of Motor Skills
This course examines atypical variations in the motor development of students with severe disabilities, with an emphasis on the remediation of abnormal patterns in the performance of daily activities. Participants gain information about specific remediation strategies and the appropriate use of assistive equipment to promote functional positioning, movement, and oral motor skills.
877.555 Teaching Communication and Social Skills
This course examines the assessment and instructional strategies that have been shown to be effective in promoting the development of cognitive, language, and social skills by students who have severe disabilities, including those diagnosed with autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, or other pervasive developmental disorders. Participants examine the instructional adaptations needed to promote the development of cognitive, communicative, and social skills in students with severe disabilities, and review the relevant empirical literature.

Gainful Employment Disclosure

In accordance with US Department of Education regulations, the JHU School of Education is required to disclose graduation rate data, median loan debt data, and other select information for all Title IV eligible gainful employment programs. To see the most recent data available for this gainful employment program, please view the attached disclosure.

Note: No students graduated from this program in academic year 2012-13, and therefore there are no on-time completion rate and median loan debt data to report.

Contact Us

Faculty Contact
Dr. Tamara Marder

Academic Coordinator
Lori Scott, (410) 516-7928

Ginger Carlson

"The JHU Administration and Supervision ISTE program challenged and inspired me in ways I could not have imagined! It provided a solid theoretical background in effective leadership, curriculum, and supervision, and was coupled with a tremendous internship opportunity that allowed me to put that theory into practice.  Guided by thoughtful, professional, and caring instructors, as well as a strong partnership with ISTE that allowed many opportunities to explore and go deeper with my own unique interests, I have emerged from this program with strong educational leadership and technology skills, as well as a new position as a school administrator.  I am honored to have been a part of this unique program and to call myself a graduate of the JHU A&S/ISTE certificate program."

Ginger Carlson 
A&S certificate 2013
Assistant Principal
American Community Schools
Athens, Greece



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