MS in Special Education: Mild to Moderate Disabilities with Secondary/Adult Certification

The Master of Science in Special Education with a concentration in Mild/Moderate Disabilities (Secondary/Adult focus) is a 39-credit program that will prepare you to work with students who have disabilities in grades 6-12 and into adulthood, including students identified with: learning disabilities, emotional disabilities, and mild intellectual disabilities. Over half of the students identified with disabilities are served currently in inclusive classrooms. Thus, you will learn how to provide instruction within co-taught general education classrooms and in small individualized settings across all content areas. You will also learn to transition your students with disabilities into the world after high school.

In addition to your coursework, you will complete two supervised field experiences with guidance from university supervisors, mentor teachers and faculty advisors (i.e., 150 – 300 hours of hands-on experience within urban elementary/middle classroom settings).

As a graduate student in our program, you’ll combine coursework with applied experiences/projects to develop your competencies in:

  • Understanding the legal issues and federal requirements involved in educating students with disabilities
  • Assessing and evaluating student performances using formal and informal assessments
  • Collecting and analyzing data to make evidence-based decisions across academic and behavioral domains
  • Developing effective and innovative individualized instructional programs across various content areas including math, literacy, and written language
  • Managing and charting challenging student and classroom behaviors
  • Collaborating effectively with fellow educators, parents, itinerant teachers and other specialists, administrators, and students
  • Reflecting on your own ethical practices while becoming a lifelong member of the special education professional community

In addition to passing all required courses, graduate students are required to:

  • Pass Praxis Exam II
  • Complete two supervised internships
  • Conduct a graduate student project and present the findings
  • Complete a comprehensive examination

We’re thrilled that you’re interested in our program and invite you to take the time to further explore the details below. If you have any questions please contact us or, if you’re ready, apply today.

Contact Us

Faculty Contact
Dr. Laurie deBettencourt

Academic Coordinator
Camilla Mika-Simms
410-516-9760

ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS
  •   Completion of online application
  •   Submission of application fee
  •   Submission of official transcripts from all postsecondary institutions attended (Cumulative GPA must be 3.0 or better)
  •   An essay describing your goals and how the program will assist you in meeting those goals uploaded
  •   A current resume or CV uploaded
  •   Two letters of recommendation from individuals who can speak to your work with children with disabilities submitted to admissions office
  •   Submission of passing scores on Praxis I Core, SAT, ACT, or GRE (For information on passing score requirements, please refer to the Maryland State Department of Education website)
  •   Applicants invited for an interview will be asked to provide a written response to a prompt and will be asked to “audition” by responding to classroom scenarios provided by faculty interviewers

For more information on the application process, please view the SOE admissions page.

PRE- OR CO-REQUISITE COURSES

12 Credits

871.501 Introduction to Children and Youth with Exceptionalities

Students investigate the major areas of exceptionality addressing the characteristics and educational needs of students with a broad range of special instructional needs. Students review incidence and etiology, diagnostic and instructional services, educational continuum of programs, and findings of recent research. (3 credits)

882.511 Human Growth and Development: A Lifespan Perspective

Students consider an overview of the physical, social, and emotional aspects of human development throughout a person’s lifespan. The course considers developmental theory and reviews current areas of research. (3 credits)

884.500 Introductory Processes and Acquisition of Reading

This course is intended for students seeking initial teacher certification at early-childhood and elementary and special education levels. Participants examine the processes of language and reading development, including the impact of phonemic awareness and how the brain responds to reading acquisition. This course provides an introductory foundation for further study of specific strategies, materials, and assessment techniques in reading instruction. (3 credits)

884.502 Diagnosis/Assessment for Reading Instruction

Students in this course learn approaches for assessing and addressing the reading abilities and needs of children. Course activities include the examination of learner characteristics and implications for appropriate reading instruction. Students study and analyze a broad selection of formal and informal assessment techniques and instruments, their application to reading instruction and classroom practice, and strategies for effectively communicating relevant information to parents, educators, and other professionals about children’s reading performances. (3 credits)

REQUIRED COURSES 39 CREDITS

871.510 Legal Aspects, Service Systems, and Current Issues in Special Education

This online 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)

871.511 Instructional Planning and Management in Special Education

Students focus on the instructional and organizational skills necessary for teaching students who receive special education services. Topics of primary emphasis include developing effective individualized education plans, preparing and delivering exemplary lesson plans, and identifying instructional best-practice strategies that promote effective classroom organization and instruction. Students create lesson plans using best-practice strategies. (3 credits)

871.512 Collaborative Programming in Special Education

This course focuses on collaboration themes common to various educational settings: interpersonal communication, problem solving, cultural diversity, teamwork, and family systems theory. Students examine techniques that promote effective communication between teachers, school administrators and related professionals, and families of students with special needs. Co-teaching models that work effectively are also discussed. (3 credits)

871.513 Applied Behavioral Programming

This course will focus on the methodology of applied behavior analysis including how the principles of behavior can be used to make changes and improvements in classroom behavior. Observational methods, single-subject designs, behavior promotion and reduction, and generalization strategies are reviewed in relation to the needs of students with disabilities. Students assess and develop individual behavior projects that demonstrate their ability to design, implement, and evaluate behavioral support programs in an ethically responsive manner. (3 credits)

874.512 Characteristics of Students with Mild to Moderate Disabilities: Learning Disabilities, Behavioral Disorders, and Intellectual Disabilities

Students examine the incidence, etiology, and characteristics of students with learning disabilities, behavioral disorders, and intellectual disabilities, and review major theoretical models and instructional practices associated with each. (3 credits)

874.514 Educational Assessment of Students with Mild to Moderate Disabilities: Secondary/Adult

Students examine assessment instruments and procedures for diagnosing secondary level students who are experiencing learning and behavior problems in school. Students administer and interpret norm-referenced, criterion-referenced, and curriculum-based instruments that assess academic achievement, social-emotional behavior, and vocational functioning. (3 credits)

874.526 Classroom Management: Methods for Students with Mild to Moderate Disabilities

This course reviews the theoretical foundations for developing practical interventions and management strategies to deal with inappropriate classroom behaviors, as well as strategies for individualized education program (IEP) development and implementation. Behavior modification, therapeutic strategies, social skills instruction, and communication principles are applied to the design and implementation of structured classroom management programs used to improve behavior and academic performance of students with mild to moderate disabilities. (3 credits)

874.542 Reading, English, and Language Arts: Methods for Secondary Students with Mild to Moderate Disabilities

Students learn to apply strategies designed to improve the reading and writing performance of secondary students with disabilities. Highlighted are strategies designed to maximize content area reading comprehension and writing within the content areas. During the course, students apply strategies with a secondary student or students experiencing reading difficulties. (3 credits)

874.527 Career Assessment and Programming: Education of Students with Mild to Moderate Disabilities

This course examines the assessment and instructional methods needed to implement and evaluate career transition and vocational programs that promote successful post-school adjustments for students with mild to moderate disabilities. Participants review the practice of vocational and career assessment, vocational instruction, vocational counseling, and the development of recreation and leisure skills and activities. (3 credits)

874.528 Diversifying the General Education Curriculum: Methods for Secondary Students with Mild to Moderate Disabilities

Students discuss the characteristics of adolescents with mild to moderate disabilities. Students review the goals of the secondary school and gain an understanding of the range of curricular demands and graduation requirements, and their impact on students with special needs. The implications of school organization and service delivery models for students with disabilities are explored. Students develop accommodations, modifications, co-teaching plans, and projects across secondary curricular content areas. (3 credits)

874.870 Mild to Moderate Disabilities Internship: Induction – Secondary/Adult

Designed for students seeking Maryland generic special education certification at the elementary/middle level, this internship, scheduled approximately midpoint in a student’s program, and provides supervised experiences in the education of children and youth in grades one through eight who require special education services. The internship sites and activities are assigned according to each student’s interest and training needs. The participant implements foundational knowledge, skills, and dispositions gained in coursework in the areas of assessment, instruction, classroom management, and individual behavior intervention appropriate for the learning characteristics of elementary and middle school students with disabilities. (3 credits)

874.871 Mild to Moderate Disabilities Internship: Culmination – Secondary/Adult

Designed for students seeking Maryland generic special education certification at the elementary/middle level, this internship, scheduled near the completion of a student’s program, provides supervised experiences in the education of children and youth in grades one through eight who require special education services. The internship sites and activities are assigned according to each student’s interest and training needs. The participant continues professional development begun during the induction internship by implementing content-specific knowledge, skills, and dispositions gained in subsequent coursework, with a focus on evaluating, selecting, and using reading materials and instructional methods appropriate for the learning characteristics of elementary and middle school students with disabilities. (3 credits)

892.562 Access to General Education Curriculum with Technology Accommodations

This online class provides instruction on using accommodations based on student characteristics, the collaborative role of educators, and strategies for differentiating instruction for students with learning disabilities within the general education environment. Participants examine universal design for learning strategies and technologies to enhance student participation in educational programs.

EXAMPLE OF TYPICAL COURSE SEQUENCE

Fall I

  •   Characteristics of Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities (874.512)
  •   Instructional Planning (871.511)

Spring I

  •   Legal Issues (online) (871.510)
  •   Applied Behavioral Programming (871.513)

Summer I

  •       Collaborative Programming (871.512)
  •   Access to Technology (online) (892.562)
  •      Classroom Management (874.526)

Fall II

  •   Internship: Induction I (874.870)
  •   Reading, English, and Language Arts: Methods for Secondary Students with Mild to Moderate Disabilities (874.542)

Spring II

  •   Educational Assessment (Secondary/Adult) (874.514)
  •   Career Assessment and Programming: Education of Students with Mild to Moderate Disabilities  (874.526)

Summer II

  •   Diversifying the General Education Curriculum: Methods for Secondary Students with Mild to Moderate Disabilities (874.528)
  •   Internship: Culmination (874.871)