Saint Joseph's University

SPE 607 Theory and Instructional Practices: Students with Low-Incidence Disabilities

Help students with special needs reach their learning potential.

The content presented on this page is representative information for example purposes and is subject to change without notice as course and student needs change over time. For current course descriptions, please see the Online Academic Catalog.

Format: Online

Duration: 16 weeks

Credits: 3 credits

Teachers, meet your students. In this course, you are introduced to a collection of children and/or adolescents with special needs, each with a different low-incidence disability. Through case studies and simulations you will broaden your knowledge of disability definitions, characteristics, assessments, and specific teaching techniques. You will gain valuable insights into perspectives and practices that help you better understand these students and how you can assist in their learning by participating in discussions with your professor and fellow classmates, as well as a field assignments.

In this course, you learn definitions, characteristics, assessments, and specific techniques for students needing adaptive and functional curricula. You learn why and how specialized instruction can meet the learning and developmental needs of these individuals, specifically in the areas of instruction, assistive learning, and language communication. This includes research-validated instructional strategies, adaptive and assistive technologies, including augmentative communication systems, and communication and social interaction alternatives for non-speaking individuals.

In addition, you will learn behaviorally based educational models for students with autism and other moderate and severe disabilities, and methods aimed at enhancing functional skill development in major life domains with an emphasis on community-based training and self-determination. You’ll come away from the course with an understanding of the importance of regarding students with disabilities from a positive or capacity-building perspective rather than a deficit perspective.

You will have the opportunity to apply your knowledge to students in a real classroom environment through a field experience. This consists of two observations and two interviews that will clearly be defined when you receive your class syllabus.

Sample Course Topics  

Throughout this course, weekly topics may include:

  • Introduction to Students with Severe Disabilities
  • Classification of Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Collaboration with Parents and Other Professionals
  • Planning and Assessment Procedures
  • Instructional Procedures for Acquisition, Generalization, and Maintenance
  • Evaluating Student Progress and Creating an Inclusive Environment
  • Teaching Communication Skills and Providing Behavioral Supports
  • Support for Students with Disabilities
  • Teaching Academic, Community, and Life Skills
  • Technology and Age Considerations

Examples of What You’ll Learn

When you complete SPE 607, you will be able to:

  • Discuss the definitions, characteristics, and potential for success of students with severe disabilities as well as best practices for educating them.
  • Define the classification systems associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), as well as the prevalence of the disorders.
  • Collaborate with other professionals, paraeducators, and students’ families and communities.
  • Discuss different approaches to screening, diagnosing, assessing educational needs, and determining skills for instruction.
  • Enumerate different techniques for planning for students with severe disabilities, including developing Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), Individual Family Service Plans (IFSPs), and person-centered plans.
  • Identify general instructional strategies for skill acquisition, generalization, and maintenance.
  • Evaluate student progress through alternate, portfolio, and continuous direct assessments.
  • Discuss the importance of creating inclusive educational environments.
  • Explain motor system, positioning and handling, and sensory impairments, as well as support students with health care needs.
  • Assess students’ learning potential in the general curriculum.
  • Use technology to enhance instruction for students with severe disabilities.

To learn more about the online Master of Science in Education - Special Education curriculum from Saint Joseph’s University, including Theory and Instructional Practices: Students with Low-Incidence Disabilities, call (866) 758-7670 to speak with a Program Manager or request more information.

The content presented on this page is representative information for example purposes and is subject to change without notice as course and student needs change over time. For current course descriptions, please see the Online Academic Catalog.

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