Skip to Main Content

Special Education (SPE)


SPE 6810 - Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder - 3 credits

This course presents an overview of the historical and theoretical foundations of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) including research regarding the causes, current diagnostic criteria, prevalence, and impact on learning and behavior. Participants will be provided with specific knowledge of the characteristics of individuals identified on the Autism Spectrum including those identified with Autism, Asperger Syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDDNOS) under previous diagnostic criteria (i.e. DSM-IV-TR).


SPE 6820 - Effective Educational & Behavioral Strategies Designed to Instruct Students with Challenging Behaviors - 3 credits

This course is designed to train teachers of students with special educational needs who exhibit severe and challenging behaviors with an emphasis on prevention, assessment, and intervention. Using differentiated instructional strategies, assistive technology, and assessment candidates will develop units of study using strategies designed to engage and instruct students with challenging behaviors. Participants will be provided with an overview of strategies to increase students’ communication and academic abilities in school and at home. Evidence-based interventions and best practice for instructional programming for students with autism spectrum disorders will be emphasized.


SPE 6830 - Autism Spectrum Disorder: Diagnosis and Assessment - 3 credits

This course is designed to provide participants with the skills necessary to plan and conduct assessments for students on the Autism Spectrum in the classroom or in the home. Emphasis is placed on assessing a student’s level of involvement, determining baseline data, and monitoring progress. Interpretation and evaluation of data from on-going psychometric assessments, progress monitoring, and behavior modification methods and strategies will be discussed. Participants will be provided opportunity to develop a functional behavioral assessment and implement a behavior plan. Course content will be integrated into the required 150 hour full-semester field based experience practicum.


SPE 6840 - Meeting the Needs of Students with Autism: A Collaborative Approach - 3 credits

This course explores the roles of educational and medical professionals and related service providers involved in the diagnosis, education, and treatment of students on the autism spectrum. The legal and ethical issues facing the professionals in the human service fields will be discussed. Staff building and collaboration with IEP Team members, parents/caregivers, and medical professionals will also be addressed. Candidates will increase their knowledge and experience required to collaborate with families with ASD members and their communities. Course content will be integrated into the required 150 hour full-semester field based professionals in the human service fields will be discussed. Staff building and collaboration with IEP Team members, parents/caregivers, and medical professionals will also be addressed. Candidates will increase their knowledge and experience required to collaborate with families with ASD members and their communities. Course content will be integrated into the required 150 hour full-semester field based experience practicum.


SPE 6845 - Practicum & Seminar in Autism Spectrum Disorders - 3 credits

This course requires a 150 hour practicum of supervised observation and participation with a minimum of 75 hours in an inclusive setting with students with autism and 75 hours of additional experience in any type of school setting working with students with autism. Teachers who can demonstrate at least one year of teaching experience working with students with autism shall complete 75 hours of field-based experience working with students with autism in any type of school setting, including at least 50 of which shall take place in an inclusive setting in lieu of meeting the field requirements of 150 hours. Monthly seminar meetings will allow candidates to discuss issues, concerns, and trends in the field of ASD. Seminar sessions will be supplemented by regular meetings with program supervisors and supervising practitioners who will observe, mentor, and collaborate with candidates in field based settings. Candidates will be provided with opportunities to interact and collaborate with professionals working with students with ASD through a variety of course assignments. The field experience will provide candidates with exposure to students with ASD in both inclusive settings and specialized programs and give them the opportunity to observe, assess, and deliver specialized instruction to students with ASD. This course is designed to be a cumulating experience for students to apply their knowledge and skills into real world, research-infused practice.


SPE 6910 - Foundations and Implementation of Transition Education and Services - 3 credits

This course will explore the historical foundations of the transition movement including State and Federal transition related legislation and policies for providing transition services at the local level. This course will also explore evidence-based transition practices including college and career readiness practices. Additionally, the course provides an introduction to various topics related to transition planning including identifying the skills necessary for postsecondary success and the various models for the role of Transition Specialists.


SPE 6920 - Effective Collaboration with all Stakeholders - 3 credits

This course focuses on models and strategies for collaboration among students and families in IEP development, transition education and services, and support networks. The Transition Specialist’s roles and responsibilities as a collaborative consultant will be explored. Participants will have the opportunity to develop partnerships with employers, institutes of higher education, public agencies, and community service agencies.


SPE 6930 - Individual Transition Assessment and System Evaluation - 3 credits

This course introduces participants to a variety of approaches to assess student interest, strengths, preferences, and needs in order to provide appropriate, individualized, and meaningful transition services. Participants will be provided with the foundational background and opportunities to practice developing individualized transition assessments that will lead to appropriate and measurable postsecondary goals that address educational, employment, independent living needs, and social, communication and functional skills.


SPE 6940 - Developing Transition Systems and Supports - 3 credits

This course provides students with an overview of the components of the transition systems and supports involved in providing services to students in order to prepare them for life after high school. Included are those systems and supports that address the unique needs, strengths, interests, and preferences of a range of students with disabilities. The overarching goal of this course is to provide participants with a broad understanding of methods to develop evidence-based transition-specific materials and curricula that promote self-determination and self-advocacy.


SPE 6945 - Practicum & Seminar in Transition Specialist - 3 credits

This course requires a supervised 150-hour field-based experience that includes providing transition services for transition-aged students with disabilities who have IEP’s, in collaboration with their families, community members, and other relevant professionals. A minimum of 100 hours of field-based experience shall be completed within a Massachusetts public school, approved private special education school, or educational collaborative. The remaining 50 hours must be completed in a community-based setting working with transition age youth in order to gain experience assisting youth transition from school to adult life. Monthly seminar meetings will allow candidates to discuss issues, concerns, and trends in the field of transition services and supports for students with special needs. Regular meetings with program supervisors will supplement seminar sessions and supervising practitioners, who will observe, mentor, assess, and collaborate with candidates in field-based settings.