Special Education

Course Descriptions

The following are courses typically found in the Special Education programs. For a complete list of courses visit the School of Education and Human Development Course Listing page at: https://usm.maine.edu/school-of-education-human-development

ADS 300 Ethics and Youth with Exceptionalities
There are two major outliers when discussing youth: youth with disabilities and youth who are gifted and talented. In addition, there is a fascinating subset of these two groups, which is youth who are dually exceptional, having both a disability and gifts and talents. Through the use of case studies and court decision analysis, panel discussions, and reflections this course will focus on these three groups of youth and how they are marginalized in general society, and in educational settings. This course will explore why and how these youth are marginalized and how the marginalization of them is continued in mainstream society and by others, many times unconsciously. This course requires a four-hour field placement working with youth with exceptionalities. Cr 3.

ADS 400 Disabilities Studies Seminar   
This course will explore, in depth, an area of disability studies and each student will conduct their own capstone project. The capstone projects will be conducted with peer support throughout the process. Prerequisite: ADS 300 or instructor permission. Cr 3.

SED 335 Students with Exceptionalities in General Education
The primary goal of this course is to construct an understanding and knowledge of the range of exceptionalities, including students with disabilities and/or those identified as gifted and talented. The course is based on the following premises: a) students with disabilities are guaranteed an appropriate education that includes engagement with typically developing peers and is based on the general education curriculum to the greatest extent possible; and b) students who are gifted and talented should be educated appropriately based on their academic and artistic abilities. Topics include characteristics of areas of exceptionality; planning and strategies for differentiating instruction and universal design; assistive technology; state and federal laws regarding students who are exceptional; working with families; Response to Intervention (RtI); and collaboration between all school personnel. This course includes a 6-8 hour field placement. Prerequisite: 54 credits or program permission. Cr 3.

SED 420 Multi-Tiered Systems Support (MTSS) in Education
This course introduces participants to the concepts of multi-tiered systems of academic and behavior support, from the school-wide to the classroom perspective, including students with suspected or identified disabilities. Participants will develop an understanding of the defining characteristics of MTSS at Tiers 1 and 2: prevention-based, focus on student performance, data-based decision making and problem solving, continuous progress monitoring, and using a continuum of evidence-based interventions.  Students will develop classroom strategies for establishing a productive learning environment including establishing and teaching expectations, structuring the classroom, creating a system to acknowledge behavior and to address minor problem behavior.  The course includes an applied project as part of a 24-hour school-based field experience. Prerequisite: SED 335 and be in teacher education program, or by program permission. Cr 3.

EDU 600 Research Methods and Techniques
This course studies the concepts, principles, and techniques of educational research with an emphasis on scientific inquiry and problem solving, designed for both the producer and consumer of educational research. Individual critiques and research reviews are completed. Prerequisite: open to matriculated students only. Cr 3.

SED 518  Targeted and Individualized Instructional Strategies for Students with Disabilities
The primary purpose of this course is to learn and analyze principles and skills of teaching and learning  which are effective with students who need more intensive and individualized teaching. The students would either currently have IEP's or are currently being served on Tier Two or Three of the continuum of multi-tiered systems of student support. Students who are English Language learners with suspected disabilities are included. The course will address applying and analyzing evidence-based instructional and assessment strategies for progress toward learning goals. Prerequisite: SED 335, SED 540, or by program permission, Cr 3.

SED 520 Multi-Tiered Systems of Classroom Support
This course introduces participants to the concepts of multi-tiered systems of academic and behavior support, from the school-wide to the classroom perspective, including students with suspected or identified disabilities. Participants will learn about the characteristics of MTSS at Tiers 1 and 2: prevention-based, focus on student performance, data-based decision making and problem solving, continuous progress monitoring, and using a continuum of evidence­ based interventions.  Students are expected to establish a productive learning environment that includes classroom expectations, structuring the classroom, systems to positively acknowledge behavior, and to address minor problem behavior. The course includes an applied project as part of a 24-hour school-based field experience unless the course is part of an initial graduate certification program such as ETEP. Prerequisite SED 335 or SED 540 or Instructor permission. Cr 3.

SED 540 Learners Who Are Exceptional in General Education
The primary goal of this survey course is to construct an understanding and knowledge of the range of exceptionalities, including students with disabilities and those identified as gifted and talented. The course is based on the following premises: a) students with disabilities are guaranteed an appropriate education that includes engagement with typically developing peers and is based on the general education curriculum to the greatest extent possible; and b) students who are gifted and talented should be educated appropriately based on their academic and artistic abilities. Topics include characteristics of areas of exceptionality; planning and strategies for differentiating instruction and universal design; assistive technology; state and federal laws regarding students who are exceptional; working with families; Response to Intervention (RtI); and collaboration between all school personnel. Cr 3.

SED 550 Teaching Students who are Gifted in the Regular Classroom
This course is designed for classroom teachers whose responsibilities include serving gifted students within the regular classroom.  The course is also for teachers of the gifted who serve students in a pull out program because that is considered their regular classroom.  This course is also designed for consulting teachers of the gifted and talented who are responsible for helping classroom teachers differentiate instruction for gifted students in the regular classroom.  Participants will examine popular and personal attitudes toward and beliefs about gifted students.  They will identify gifted students through relevant and observable classroom behaviors.  Participants will adapt required curriculum to meet the special needs of gifted students and work collaboratively with other teachers.  Participants will also consider current issues in gifted child education that have implications specific to the regular classroom environment. Cr 3.

SED 586/EDU 586 Integrated Internship
The mentored internship is an extensive field experience for candidates in the double certification general education and special education pathway. Candidates demonstrate commitment and skill in educating students with diverse abilities and backgrounds. The 900 hour total internship is evaluated according to the Maine Teaching Standards and fulfills the student teaching requirement for general education and 282 Teacher of Students with Disabilities certification. Prerequisite:  matriculation in the integrated certification pathway of the Master of Science in Special Education and program permission. Cr 9 (1-3 credits per semester up to total of nine credits).

SED 612 Youth with Moderate-to-Severe Disabilities
This course is designed to assist and instruct educators about working with and supporting students who have moderate-to-severe disabilities. Person-first language and thinking are the basis of this course as different disabilities that fall into the moderate-to severe range are examined with attention to the definition, identification, causalities, needed environmental accommodations and adaptations, and general characteristics. In addition, a focus will be on issues and concerns related to youth with moderate-to-severe disabilities, including person-centered planning, transitioning out of school and into the community, assistive technology, sensory integration, life skills, mobility, assessment, and different therapies will also be investigated and discussed. Different educational approaches that may be used with students with moderate-to-severe disabilities will be examined. In accordance with person-first thinking, this course will use memoirs and autobiographies as the main texts. Cr 3.

SED 615 Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)
This course examines the foundations (data, systems and practices) and essential features of Positive Behavioral Support at all three tiers: classwide, targeted and individual. Students will gain an understanding of basic principles and measurement of behavior and conduct applied projects that include creating, implementing, and evaluating data-driven intervention plans. Cr 3.

SED 616 Reading Development and Instruction for Students with Moderate to Severe Disabilities
In this online course students will focus on selecting and designing effective reading instruction for K-12 students with moderate to severe disabilities in a range of educational settings. Topics include: the power of students' owning their growth as readers, hooking readers through their interests, reviewing reading programs and designing interventions and curriculum-based probes to assess progress. Prerequisites: EDU 620 and SED 540, or instructor permission. Cr 3.

SED 621 Teaching Functional Life Skills
An education that includes the acquisition of functional life skills is critical for children and young adults with autism, intellectual disabilities, and other developmental disabilities. This course addresses: selection of and teaching methodologies for an array of functional life skills, including assessment of pre- and post- intervention skill levels, data collection and the selection of evidence-based methodologies to enhance student learning. Cr 3.

SED 653 Assessment of Academic Achievement
This course is designed to prepare special educators and other professionals who work in schools to select, administer, score, and interpret measures of academic achievement. Numerous measures of academic achievement, including published norm-referenced tests, criterion-referenced tests, curriculum-based assessment and measurement, and performance-based assessments will be studied. Students will develop an understanding of how to use measures of academic achievement as part of a comprehensive problem-solving process that fits with responsive interventions in schools. Prerequisites: Open to matriculated special education, and ETEP students, or program permission.

SED 659 Education of students who are Gifted and Talented
This course is for individuals responsible for initiating, mainstreaming, and/or extending services for gifted/talented students. Topics for study include: a) identification procedures, b) curriculum development and implementation, c) administration and classroom management, d) staff development and community involvement, and e) evaluation of student growth and program effectiveness. Cr 3.

SED 660 Curriculum and Methods for Teaching Students who are Gifted
This course is for individuals responsible for a) developing or modifying learning experiences for gifted/talented students at the elementary or secondary school level, b) implementing differentiated learning experiences within the regular classroom or through a special grouping arrangement, and/or c) creating/selecting instructional materials to support the implementation of differentiated learning experiences. Cr 3.

SED 662 Creative Intelligence and the Learners who are Gifted
This course is for individuals responsible for a) identifying creative potential within students, b) planning and implementing learning experiences for nurturing creative thinking, c) selecting or developing instructional materials for enhancing creativity, d) establishing learning environments conducive to creativity, and/or e) evaluating program effectiveness and student growth in creativity. Cr 3.

SED 666 Models of Education for Students who are Gifted and Talented
This course is for individuals responsible for choosing, adapting, or designing a model to serve gifted and talented students.  Selected models both conceptual and organizational prominent in the field are reviewed and critiqued.  Individuals consider the implications of each model and its applicability to gifted programming and current educational initiatives. Cr 3.

SED 667: Social/Emotional Needs of Students who are Gifted/Talented
This course is for classroom teachers, program coordinators, and teachers of the gifted and talented, parents, and other individuals who interact with gifted and talented students.  Participants will investigate factors affecting social and emotional development, causes and effects of achievement and underachievement and curriculum particular to the affective domain.  The course includes resources and strategies for responding to the needs of gifted and talented students. Cr 3.

SED 682 Special Education Regulations, Procedures, and IEP Team
This course is for educators working directly with students with suspected and identified disabilities. The course focuses on the role of special education in both a multi-tiered system of student support (MTSS) and the process for developing and implementing Individualized Education Programs (IEP). Participants examine current federal and state statutes and accompanying regulations governing special education services. Emphasis is placed on the functioning of the IEP team, including collaborating with families, from a teacher's or service provider's perspective. Prerequisite: SED 335 or SED 540, or program permission. Cr 3.

SED 684 Introduction to Special Education Administration
This course is designed to offer experience in administering special education programs. The course emphasizes the organization and administration of special education programs. A goal of the course is to give participants clear understandings of the decisions faced by regular and special educational leaders and of the skills and knowledge base necessary to perform effectively as leaders. Prerequisite: SED 540 or permission of instructor. Cr 3.

SED 687 Technology for Learning and Communicating
This course introduces students to the use of technology, including assistive technology, with all students, including those individuals with special learning and communication needs. A range of technologies will be examined from "low tech" devices such as simple switches to computers, adaptive devices, and software appropriate for individuals with disabilities. A variety of equipment, materials, software, and hardware will be available for student use. Cr 3.

SED 688 Internship in Teaching Students with Mild to Moderate Disabilities
Interns complete a 15 week semester-long or part-time equivalent mentored internship in special education services for students with mild or moderate disabilities in accordance with the Maine Teacher Certification Standards. A successful review of all the teaching standards is required for a passing grade for internship. Pre-requisites: Open to matriculated candidates in the Teaching Students with Mild to Severe Disabilities program or by permission of the Department of Educational Psychology and Exceptionality. Cr. 3, taken fall and spring for a total of 6 credits

SED 693 Transitions Among Agency, School, and Community
This course introduces participants to the concepts of transition in four phases of special education services: (a) birth to five child development services to school programs, (b) special purpose schools and related services to school programs, (c) between schools in a school district, and (d) from school programs to post-secondary education and community life. Students develop knowledge of services and resources provided by agencies and special purpose schools birth to adult and skills in multi-disciplinary team planning. Prerequisite: one special education course or permission of instructor. Cr 3.

SED 695 Internship in Teaching Students with Severe Disabilities
Interns complete a 15 week semester-long or part-time equivalent mentored internship in special education services for students with severe disabilities in accordance with the Maine Teacher Certification Standards. A successful review of all the teaching standards is required for a passing grade for internship. Pre-requisites: Open to matriculated candidates in the Teaching Students with Mild to Severe Disabilities program or by permission of the Department of Educational Psychology and Exceptionality. Cr 3.

SED 697 Universal Design Implementation
This is a capstone course for different programs in special education. Through the use of Universal Design, this course brings together all of the different ways students have learned to work with and support students in learning. Students will use Universal Design to create lessons and curriculums, and then will implement them in a classroom. Students will also analyze the effectiveness of their lessons and curriculums in terms of meeting the goals of these curriculums and lessons, and in supporting all students in the classroom as well as others that may have other differences in learning. Prerequisites: EDU 600, SED 601, SED 614, SED 615, SED 679 or 687, SED 550, SED 659, SED 662, EDU 559, EDU 561, EDU 562, EDU 563, or by permission of program coordinator. Cr 3.

SED 699 Special Education Research Capstone
This course is an opportunity to gain, apply, and integrate knowledge and skill in exceptionality by planning and conducting a project. The project must be intellectually sound, have direct applicability to the student, and produce a high quality product. Specific content and methods of evaluation are determined in conjunction with instructor. Prerequisites: EDU 600, matriculated students only, and program permission. Cr 3.