Disability Studies: Special Education

The minor in disability studies: special education is ideal for students looking to broaden their skill set and to develop an ability to work with and help children with disabilities. Early childhood education and middle level education majors will find this minor especially helpful, as teachers with a dual certification that includes special education will be desirable to school districts looking to offer inclusive education without the need to have both a regular education teacher and a special educator in the classroom. 
 
But students in other majors, including psychology, criminology, theology, occupational therapy, physical therapy and sociology, can also benefit from the minor. The gained knowledge of the world of disabilities greatly increases their flexibility as they look to begin careers in social service agencies and rehabilitation agencies.

Certification for Education Majorsdisability-education-majors
For Education Majors

As graduating education majors attempt to secure teaching positions, having dual certification in education and special education will be desirable to school districts. In the present climate of inclusive education, where it is often necessary to have both a regular education teacher and a special educator in the same classroom, and given the budgetary pressure to contain personnel costs, candidates who are dual certified are particularly attractive to school districts. Having course work in special education will provide teacher candidates with additional skills to address the diversity of needs within their classrooms.

In addition to taking the classes required for this certification, education majors will gain practical experience by student teaching in both areas of certification. Oftentimes, these two student-teaching placements are within the same district, one in their general education area of concentration and one in their special education area of concentration. These two placements will occur within the same semester, with the student teaching seven weeks in each assignment. In short, the certification provides valuable teaching experience without extending the typical four-year timeline.

In order to be certified in special education, the education majors will take the Special Education Pennsylvania Educator Certification Tests (PECT) for K – 8 or 7 – 12, depending on their area of general education certification. Once the test is completed, students will be certified to teach special education in Pennsylvania.

Minor for Non-Education Majorsdisability-noneducation-majors
For Non-Education Majors

The minor in disability studies: special education can be an ideal supplement for graduates in psychology, criminology, theology, occupational therapy, physical therapy or sociology looking to work in non-school settings with individuals who have disabilities, or to investigate issues concerning disabilities.

The world of special education includes people with emotional disabilities, autism, intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities, speech disorders, vision and hearing disabilities and learning disabilities. Having an understanding of the various disabilities and how best to serve individuals with disabilities will prove beneficial to graduates in disciplines other than education. 

Non-education majors will not earn a certificate to teach special education. They will have the minor listed on their transcripts.

Curriculumdisability-education-curriculum
Requirements for a Minor in Disability Studies: Special Education (18 credits)

Prerequisite Courses for Education Majors (already present):
PY 115 Educational Psychology - 3 credits
ED 100 Foundations of Education - 3 credits
Required Courses for Education Majors (already present):
PY 290 Psychology and Education of Exceptional Students - 3 credits
ED 205 Strategies and Techniques of Instruction - 2 credits
ED 206 Field Experience II: Strategies and Techniques of Instruction - 1 credit

Required Courses for Non-Education Majors:
PY 290 Psychology and Education of Exceptional Students - 3 credits
Any one of the following Psychology Courses:
PY 100 Introduction to Psychological Science - 3 credits
PY 115 Educational Psychology - 3 credits
PY 212 Child Development - 3 credits
PY 214 Adolescent Development - 3 credits
PY 216 Psychology of Adult Development - 3 credits
PY 219 Introduction to Counseling - 3 credits
PY 243 Abnormal Psychology - 3 credits
PY 244 Theories of Personality - 3 credits
PY 251 Family Systems - 3 credits
PY 252 Rehabilatative Treatment Systems - 3 credits
PY 260 Social Psychology - 3 credits
PY 308 Cognitive Psychology - 3 credits
PY 309 Learning - 3 credits
PY 322 Health Psychology - 3 credits
PY 331 Biological Psychology - 3 credits
Required Courses:
ED 355 Instructional Interventions for Students with High Incidence Disabilities - 3 credits
ED 360 Strategies and Assessment for Students with Significant and Multiple Disabilities - 3 credits
ED 362 Classroom Approaches for Students with Behavioral and Autism Spectrum Disorders - 3 credits
ED 412 Special Education Consultation, Transition and Law - 3 credits

Sample Course Selection for Non-Education Majors
Fall/Spring Freshman - One of the aforementioned psychology courses
Fall/Spring Sophomore – PY 290 Psychology and Education of Exceptional Students - 3 credits
Fall Junior – ED 355 Instructional Interventions for Students with High Incidence Disabilities - 3 credits
Spring Junior – ED 360 Strategies and Assessment for Students with Significant and Multiple Disabilities - 3 credits
Fall Senior – ED 362 Classroom Approaches for Students with Behavioral and Autism Spectrum Disorders - 3 credits
Spring Senior – ED 412 Special Education Consultation, Transition and Law - 3 credits

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