Special Education

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Admissions | Program Requirements | Graduate Courses

Dickinson Hall, Rooms 300F, 304, (501) 569-3124, (501) 569- 8710, (501) 569-8922, Website
Master of Education in Special Education
The Master of Education in Special Education (SPED) prepares candidates as teachers of students with disabilities. Special Education teachers address the professional challenge of designing instruction that meets the needs of children and youth with disabilities. Special Education emphases are offered in:
Early Childhood Special Education (birth – 4th grade)
The early childhood special education emphasis prepares teachers and early interventionists to provide developmental and educational services to children (birth through fourth grade) with disabilities and to their families. Graduates should be eligible for Arkansas Teacher Certification in Special Education-Early Childhood. For more information about this program, visit the website.
Instructional Specialist 4-12
The special education emphasis in teaching students in grades 4-12 allows candidates to focus on the area of study for the appropriate age group. It is a non-categorical preparation program. Graduates of the Instructional Specialist 4-12 are prepared to work with students as well as collaborate with professionals in the school environment. Emphasis is placed on assessment and intervention as well as designing appropriate learning environments for students with various disabilities. For more information about this program, visit the website.
Admissions Requirements
Regular and Alternative Admission
All applicants must have:
A valid standard teacher license (Arkansas or other state); contact advisor for exceptions.
Favorable recommendations from faculty in the program.
Regular Admission (additional requirements)
Baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.75. (4.0 scale)
or
Grade point average of at least 3.0 for the last 60 hours of undergraduate courses.
or
Master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0.
Alternative Admission
Baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution; a cumulative undergraduate GPA of no lower than 2.75; and a Graduate Record Exam (GRE) score of at least 144 on the Verbal Scale, 141 on the Quantitative Scale, and 4.5 on the Analytical Writing Scale
or
Alternatively, a candidate may complete at least 12 semester hours of graduate course work in another UALR graduate program or graduate program from another regionally accredited college or university with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 and no grade lower than a B.
Program Requirements for All Emphases
All candidates must satisfy the specific common core competencies for special education along with performance standards established for specialty areas. Each emphasis requires a portfolio of scholarship as a culminating experience. Candidates in the MEd in Special Education program are required to pass state required Praxis II assessments. Specific requirements for each emphasis are listed below. Special education courses are listed at the end of the section.
Graduation Requirements for All Emphases
Cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on an approved program of study as outlined in the emphasis section.
Prepare and present a proficient or above exit portfolio of scholarship.
All candidates must pass Praxis II exam 20354, Special Education: Core Knowledge and Applications .
Individual emphasis areas may have additional graduation requirements.
Early Childhood Special Education
Program Requirements
Individuals seeking admission to this emphasis area must contact the program advisor prior to admission or enrollment. The following outline is not intended as a tool for students to self-advise. The special education degree with an emphasis in early childhood requires 33 credit hours, including 24 education core area hours, 9 specialization hours, and 6 supervised practicum hours. Candidates must present a portfolio of scholarship and maintain a 3.0 GPA.
Education Core Area Courses
SPED 7301 Foundations of Special Ed.
SPED 7302 Technology in Special Ed.
SPED 7305 Managing the Learning Environment
SPED 7343 Disability Law
SPED 7351 Assessment in Special Education
SPED 7390 Assessment in SPED Practicum
SPED 7309 Seminar in Special Education
Specialization Courses
SPED 5312 Medical Problems
SPED 7342 ECSE Assessment / Intervention
SPED 7350 Introduction to Educational Research

Instructional Specialist in Special Education 4-12
Program Requirements
The special education emphasis, instructional specialist 4-12, consists of 36 graduate hours and a portfolio presentation. In order to be admitted to the program, a candidate must hold at least an initial teaching license in either elementary, middle childhood, or secondary education. The instructional specialist license is an endorsement and can only be attained after a person acquires a standard education teaching license.
Special Education Core Courses
SPED 7301 Foundations in Special Education
SPED 7302 Technology and Special Education
SPED 7305 Managing the Learning Environment
SPED 7343 Disability Law
SPED 7351 Assessment in Special Education
SPED 7390 Assessment in SPED Practicum
EDFN 7303 Introduction to Research
SPED 7309 Seminar in Special Education
Instructional Specialist 4-12 Core Courses
SPED 7351 Assessment and Instructional Design I
SPED 7352 Assessment and Instructional Design II
SPED 7353 Transition and Life Adjustment
Courses in Special Education
SPED 5202, 5302 Workshop
Offered on demand.
SPED 5214 Early Childhood Special Education Assessment Field Experience
This is the first experience in a series of two supervised field experiences. During the 120 clock-hour experience, student field experiences emphasize assessment and early intervention assessment activities related to child find/screening, translating assessment activities in the intervention environment and assessments surrounding health and safety issues, children with health and/or sensory impairments, social development, and challenging behavior.
SPED 5216 ECSE: Inclusion Field Experience
This is the final experience in a series of supervised field experience designed for students in the Early Childhood Special Education emphasis. The field experiences included in this 120 clock-hour experience examine assessment to intervention activities related to all areas of development, technology adaptations in intervention, the link between individualized intervention plans and instructional planning, and continuous documentation of child performance.
SPED 5266 Language in Deaf Children II
Language development in normal-hearing, hearing-impaired children; relationships between the two populations; relationship of learning theory, cognitive and psychosocio-linguistic principles, other perspectives to language learning, hearing-impaired children; language instruction for teaching language to hearing-impaired children; normal language development, language acquisition theories, and language and cognitive research; includes directed observation.
SPED 5311 Managing the Learning Environment B
Prerequisites: graduate candidates entering with the graduate endorsement only option and must be admitted to the Graduate School. Theory, research, and application for classroom management. Current issues and research in applied behavior analysis and other forms of classroom management; cognitive, behavioral, and emerging management procedures; emphasis will be placed on the application of research. Positive approaches to classroom and behavior management.
SPED 5312 Medical Problems in Child Development
The primary concern of the course is to review medical conditions and events arising during prenatal, postnatal and early childhood which contribute to the nature and cause of major educational disabilities. Special attention is given to syndromes associated with mental retardation, disorders of the central nervous system, infections disease, and a wide range of conditions placing children at risk for developmental delays. Emphasis is directed toward early medical identification, prevention of secondary disabilities, and strategies for responding to chronic health conditions in educational settings. Guest lectures by physicians and other health related professionals are an integral part of the course.
SPED 5313 Early Childhood Special Education Assessment
This is the first course in a two-course sequence addressing assessment and early intervention screening and assessment strategies for young children with disabilities, ages birth through eight. A specific focus will be given to the fundamental principles of and strategies for assessment, the role of well-baby and early intervention providers in screening and assessment process for disabilities. Candidates will learn to identify the needs of children related to health and/or sensory impairments, the identification of abilities in the developmental domains. Various aspects of the early environments are examined and procedures for gathering performance data are explored.
SPED 5315 Early Childhood Special Education: Methods of Inclusion
This is the second course in a two-course sequence addressing intervention strategies for young children with disabilities, ages birth through age eight. Specific attention is given to application of assessment principles into programming, the role of child find in providing services, the needs of young children with health and/or sensory impairments, strategies for identifying behavioral support needs and techniques for fostering social-emotional development. Attention will also be given to methods of including children with disabilities in the general education setting.
SPED 5317 Introduction to Inclusion in Early Childhood Special Education
Prerequisites: PSYC 1300, an introductory human development course, or consent of the instructor. Psychological, sociological, philosophical, legal, educational implications of educating exceptional learners; necessary adaptations for exceptional learners in the mainstream setting; role of teachers, professionals, parents as team members providing education for exceptional learners.
SPED 5360 Psychological Aspects of Deafness
Theory, research in the psychological development, adjustment of hearing-impaired children, adults; includes intellectual, cognitive, perceptual, social, personality development; adaptation to hearing loss; educational, mental health, rehabilitation implications of research findings with single disability, multi-disabled, hearing impaired persons.
SPED 5367 Communication Methods with Hearing-impaired Children in the Educational Setting
Prerequisite: Interpreting 4320/5320 or consent of instructor. Corequisite: Special Education 4264, 4266. Practical application of the multiplicity of methods; research, underlying theories of language acquisition by hearing-impaired children; emphasis on application to teaching English, other academic subjects. Offered in fall.
SPED 7103 Teaching Adolescents with Exceptionalities
The legal, foundational, and ethical aspects of serving adolescents with disabilities are provided. Specialized knowledge related to the development of special education at the secondary level as well as current legal and statutory issues. Psychological, sociological, philosophical, and educational implications of educating adolescent exceptional learners are introduced.
SPED 7123 Technology for Students with Visual Impairments
History of technology for individuals with visual impairments; types of technology for individuals with visual impairments; role of technology in education of students with visual impairments; hands-on experience with selected technology tools for students with visual impairment and their teachers.
SPED 7141 ECSE Clinical I
Co-requisite: SPED 7341. This is the second experience in a series of three supervised practica. During the 120 clock hour experience, student field experiences emphasize assessment and intervention activities related to child find/screening, the intervention environment, health and safety issues, children with health and/or sensory impairments, social development, and challenging behavior.
SPED 7142 ECSE Clinical II
Co-requisite: SPED 7342. This is the third and final experience in a series of three supervised practica designed for students in the Early Childhood Instructional Specialist emphasis. The 120 clock hour field experiences included in this experience examine assessment and intervention activities related to all areas of development, technology adaptations in assessment and intervention, the link between individualized intervention plans and instructional planning, and continuous documentation of child performance.
SPED 7144 Collaboration in the Field
Co-requisite: SPED 7344. This is the first experience in a series of three supervised practica for students in the Early Childhood Instructional Specialist emphasis. This course emphasizes practical use of specialized knowledge and application of program performance standards. During the 120 clock-hour practicum, field experiences emphasize teams and the team process, communication skills, collaboration strategies, consultation and professionalism. Activities will be conducted with family members and a variety of related service disciplines.
SPED 7154 Physical and Health Management
This course will focus on health management practices for students with disabilities. Students will become familiar with emergency first aid and universal health care precautions, health management plans, guidelines for the administration of medications and the side effects of medication, procedures for managing seizures, treatments for allergies and asthma, and use of gastrostomy tubes. Students will also be given information on proper body mechanics and on positioning and physical management of students with motor disabilities. Taken with SPED 7206 Strategies for Family Involvement.
SPED 7190, 7290, 7390 Supervised Practice
Prerequisite: consent of instructor. Practical use of skills, competencies from courses; working under faculty supervision with individuals with disabilities being served in education and/or rehabilitation settings. Offered on demand.
SPED 7191, 7291, 7391 Independent Study
Prerequisite: consent of instructor. Offered on demand.
SPED 7193, 7293, 7393. Special Topics
In-depth study of selected interest in a special education emphasis area.
SPED 7203 Adolescents with Exceptionalities
Enhances knowledge regarding the characteristics, identification, and assessment of adolescents with disabilities. Necessary adaptations for adolescent exceptional learners in the inclusion setting; role of teachers, professionals, parents as team members in identification, assessment and program and instructional design components are presented. Candidates acquire skills needed to support the implementation of behavior intervention and transition plans.
SPED 7206 Strategies for Family Involvement
This course will prepare candidates to work with families of students with disabilities. The candidates will identify the impact of disabilities on families and family functioning. Strategies for communicating with families and for involving families in the process of program development and assessment will be included.
SPED 7292 Field Experience I
Prerequisite: SPED 7305. The general goal of this course is to build upon the knowledge and skill candidates have gained regarding the characteristics of and service to and evaluation of a variety of learners with disabilities. Procedures for identification and placement of students for special education will be identified and evaluated. Candidates will develop profiles of students who are classified as at risk for developing learning problems and students with varying disabilities and identify instructional support suitable for implementing with non at risk students. Candidates are encouraged to take this course concurrently with SPED 7351.
SPED 7295 Field Experience II
Prerequisites: Successful completion of SPED 7351 Assessment and Instructional Design I and SPED 7292 Field Experience I. It is suggested that this course be taken in conjunction with SPED 7352. Assessment and Instructional Design II. Candidates will engage in specific implementation of strategies for students with various learning problems in field sites. Candidates will design and use various informal assessments and analyze them for their application in the pre-referral, referral, evaluation, and IEP development process.
SPED 7296 Field Experience III
Prerequisites: Successful completion of SPED 7352 Assessment and Instructional Design II and SPED 7295 Field Experience II with a co- requisite of SPED 7353 Transition and Life Adjustment. This course will expand the application skills developed in the methods classes and SPED 7353. Candidates will use interventions and evaluation skills to assess students, design an intervention plan, implement intervention programs, and evaluate interventions for students with a variety of disabilities. Emphasis will be placed on students in grades 4-12, students with more significant involvement, and post school functioning.
SPED 7301 Foundations of Special Education
This course surveys the foundations of educational programs for students with disabilities, emphasizing the historical, philosophical, and legal aspects of special education. Course work includes surveys of the characteristics and needs of students with various disabilities.
SPED 7302 Technology in Special Education
This course will prepare candidates to be better able to respond to individuals’ functional needs in order to enhance their access to the general or special education curricula. Candidates will identify and use technology for instruction, assist students with school related tasks and help students communicate and help students function better in their environment.
SPED 7305 Managing the Learning Environment
Theory, research, and application for behavioral management. Current issues and research in applied behavioral analysis and other forms of classroom management; cognitive behavioral and emerging management procedures, emphasis on application of research.
SPED 7309 Seminar in Special Education
Prerequisite: Completion of core emphasis coursework, graduate standing. This course explores issues of contemporary importance to the profession, affords students the opportunity to engage in scholarly activities and high-level discussions with professors and is the final event in the candidate’s program of study where earlier knowledge becomes integrated and expanded. This course is to be taken in the final six hours of study.
SPED 7333 Characteristics and Educational Needs of Children with Severe Disabilities
Intellectual, behavioral, physical characteristics of individuals with severe disabling conditions; includes models of social management, history of treatment of persons with severe disabilities, major considerations of educational services delivery to such persons.
SPED 7335 Instructional Methods for Persons with Severe Disabilities
Fundamentals of systematic data-based instructional skills needed to teach persons with severe disabilities in classroom, community environments.
SPED 7336 Advanced Instructional Methods for Teaching Persons with Severe Disabilities
Prerequisite: Special Education 7335 or consent of instructor. Identification of intervention strategies; design of effective programs for teaching age-appropriate, functional living skills to individuals with severe disabilities.
SPED 7339 Vocational Instruction for Persons with Handicaps
Vocational programming methods; emphasis on current “best practices” in instruction, program delivery; includes use of supported work model for systematic instruction in integrated community job sites.
SPED 7340 Trends and Issues in Early Childhood Special Education
Prerequisite: exceptionality course. Includes state, federal laws governing, regulating early intervention programs; program models used in the field; emphasis on models emphasizing integrating children with disabilities and their peers without disabilities.
SPED 7341 ECSE Assessment and Intervention I
Prerequisites: SPED 7301, SPED 7302, SPED 7305. Curriculum, materials, instructional adaptations for developing individual education programs for handicapped preschool children; techniques for infant intervention, training activities; psychomotor, cognitive, affective domain; particular attention to activities to facilitate language development.
SPED 7342 ECSE Assessment and Intervention II
Prerequisites: SPED 7301, SPED 7302, SPED 7305. Co-requisite: SPED 7350. This is the second course in a two-course sequence addressing assessment and intervention strategies for young children with disabilities. The course provides the student with focused experiences in the areas of adaptive, motor, cognitive and communication development. Additionally, the course examines strategies for linking individualized intervention plans (IFSP/IEP) to lesson plans, the role of technology in accessing the curriculum, and the importance of continuous and systematic data collection to guide the intervention process.
SPED 7343 Disability Law
Advanced study in state, federal laws, litigation, policies, and administrative practices relevant to education, employment, treatment of individuals with disabilities; includes historical development, current issues.
SPED 7344 Collaborative Partnerships
Prerequisites: SPED 7301, SPED 7305. For candidates in ECSE. Philosophies, roles, services of various professionals providing services for young children with disabilities; emphasis on transdisciplinary approach to team functioning, but includes other team models, strategies, problem solving approaches; methods for identifying resources in communities; includes guest professionals from various disciplines, area service agencies discussing their roles in providing services, the specific services they provide.
SPED 7350 Practicum: Birth – 4
This practicum experience is designed to provide the university student with opportunities to be an active participant in home and center based activities, emphasizing family involvement. These experiences with the birth through two and the 3-5 age group are to include parental involvement, case management monitoring; home and / or center based programming and IEP /IFSP development. The student and university instructor shall plan the practicum experience to incorporate a minimum of three settings working with two different populations. Candidates must co-enroll in SPED 7342.
SPED 7351 Assessment and Instructional Design I
Prerequisites: SPED 7305 and should be taken in conjunction with SPED 7390. The general goal of this course is to build upon the knowledge and skill students have gained regarding the characteristics of a variety of learners with disabilities. Specific emphasis will be placed on developing skills to serve learners with disabilities, identify and evaluate relevant formal and informal assessment strategies that contribute to the identification, placement, and instructional planning for students with learning problems. Co-requisite, SPED 7390
SPED 7352 Assessment and Instructional Design II
Prerequisites: successful completion of SPED 7351 Assessment and Instructional Design I and SPED 7390 , Practicum in SPED It is required that this course be taken concurrently with SPED 7390 Practicum in SPED. The general goals of this course are to expand upon the knowledge and skills developed in course work and field experiences gained in Assessment and Instructional Design I and to enfold the knowledge and skills into specific implementation for students with various learning problems. Candidates will evaluate various formal and informal assessments for use in curriculum development and adaptation. Particular emphasis will be placed on candidate competency in instructional design and analysis. Candidates will modify and adapt curriculum for inclusive settings.
SPED 7353 Transition and Life Adjustment
Prerequisite: SPED 7352 Assessment and Instructional Design II. This course presents information regarding the transition and life adjustment of persons with disabilities. The focus is on the development and implementation of transition plans for adolescents with disabilities and children with more significant disabilities. Candidates will develop mechanisms for self-advocacy development and access to services available to adults with disabilities
SPED 7360 Characteristics and Educational Needs of the Severely Emotionally Disturbed
Serious emotional disturbance and its educational implication; includes significant historical factors; theoretical orientations to definition, etiology of serious emotional disturbance; classification systems; learning characteristics, their educational implications; interdisciplinary appraisal, therapies; federal, state legislation, litigation relating to serious emotional disturbance and education.
SPED 7361 Methods for Teaching the Seriously Emotionally Disturbed
Prerequisite: Special Education 7360 or consent of instructor. Instructional principles, intervention strategies; includes major education models; identification of education needs, development of Individualized Education Program; classroom design for self- contained, resource class at elementary, secondary levels; student progress evaluation.
SPED 7362 Direct Teaching of Social Skills in Children and Youth
(Oriented to educators). Contemporary models; emphasis on classroom-based instruction; includes key social learning aspects; social integration; teaching social skills deficits; instructional materials, procedures; language for building comprehensive social skills programming, outcomes evaluation into Individualized Education Programs.
SPED 7365 Individualized Education Programs
Prerequisite: graduate standing. Identification, evaluation, perspective programming process in education of exceptional children; includes Arkansas special education general program standards; components of comprehensive, interdisciplinary appraisal; categorical eligibility criteria; referral, placement, appeal procedure; development of Individualized Education Programs, IEP process conferences; report writing.
SPED 7366 Exceptionalities in the Classroom
Prerequisite: graduate standing. Recognition of exceptionalities, educational implications; techniques for elementary teacher in identifying exceptionalities in regular classroom. Offered on demand.