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Our special education programs are ranked #1 among public universities 1
The University of Kansas has been educating autism professionals for over 30 years
Behavior, Leadership and Secondary/Transition tracks are available
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which affects nearly one in 68 children in the U.S., impacts learning and development in unique ways. Special educators and related professionals who serve learners with ASD are trained to identify and apply evidence-based practices in accordance with students’ strengths, interests, preferences and needs.
The online autism education program is designed for current educators and related service professionals who need the skills and expertise to develop and implement programming for students with ASD. This program prepares students to:
Students will advance their understanding of the characteristics of ASD and how it affects development, formal and informal assessment methods, instructional strategies, and effective teaching practices for both students who require intensive and highly individualized education and those who need less intensive supports and services.
*This program is an online Master of Science in Education (M.S.E.) degree in special education with an emphasis in autism spectrum disorder. It does not lead to initial nor advanced licensure in special education in the state of Kansas.
Note: In order to enroll in this program, a bachelor's degree is required. No program can guarantee licensure. It is each student’s responsibility to determine the licensure requirements in his or her state and to apply for the licenses or endorsements necessary to his or her career goals. Our department staff and licensure officer can provide individual support during the application process to help you understand your state’s requirements.
All courses listed are worth 3 credits.
Please note: Course list and sequence are subject to change.
An introductory graduate-level course on autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It addresses characteristics of children and youth with ASD, trends and issues associated with autism spectrum disorder, and effective practices and strategies for structuring, managing, and promoting social skill development and social interactions among learners with ASD.
An analysis of information derived from assessment instruments and procedures appropriate to measuring the social and cognitive development of exceptional children and youth. Provides experiences in determining assessment data required in the development of Individualized Educational Programs (IEPs). Attention is also given to the design of informal assessment procedures, specific to the needs of exceptional children and youth. Experience is provided in the preparation and presentation of assessment data for use in instructional planning conferences. Prerequisite: An undergraduate or graduate course in educational measurement, and SPED 760.
This is a methods course, with special emphasis on learners with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder. Particular attention is given effective practices and strategies for teaching, managing and promoting social skill and social communication development and proactive social interactions.
Emphasis is given to milestones in normal language acquisition and variations from norms demonstrated by handicapped learners. Attention is also given to theoretical approaches to language training, formal and informal language assessment techniques, and instructional methods. Students design individualized instructional plans for incorporating language into the daily curriculum for handicapped learners. Prerequisite: SPED 425 or SPED 725.
This course is designed to prepare students to implement specialized alternative strategies for individualized group instruction. Methods for developing and implementing overall treatment/educational programs, planning or selecting curriculum/service models for programs, and developing instructional materials are emphasized. Procedures for managing classroom staff and service resources, coordinating educational programs with families, other service personnel and program support staff, and monitoring overall program effectiveness are addressed. Prerequisite: SPED 760.
This course is designed to provide knowledge and skills to implement federal and state mandates for special education and related services programs as they relate to building and maintaining relationships with families of students with disabilities, and developing effective school programs. It covers procedures for developing, implementing and evaluating (a) instructional accountability for special education students' participation in district and state assessment; (b) relationships between general and special education personnel and programs; (c) roles and responsibilities; (d) interdisciplinary team planning including families; (e) coordinating, educating and supervising paraeducators; and (f) general management responsibilities associated with instruction of children and youth with disabilities. Course topics will include collaboration in schools, community systems and families, historical perspectives of family life and school involvement, effective relationships between home, school, community, communication among professionals and with families, school-based programs, home-based programs, and multicultural considerations. Prerequisite: any of the following courses: SPED 631, SPED 731, SPED 632, SPED 732, or SPED 735.
This course introduces the concepts and skills involved in understanding and analyzing research in education and related areas. The course provides an overview of basic, general knowledge of various research methodologies. Students should expect to study much of this material in greater depth through additional course work before being fully prepared to conduct independent research. However, this course should enhance their ability to locate, read, comprehend and critically analyze research articles and reports. Topics in the course include quantitative and qualitative methods and designs, historical and descriptive research and program evaluation. (This course fulfills the requirement of a research methods course in the first 12 hours of graduate study.)
This is an advanced practicum experience for the graduate student teaching children and youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The practicum is designed to provide intense, diverse and direct teaching experiences with children and youth who have learning and behavioral needs in the mild through moderate range and who have been identified with ASD, including those who may have Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), Asperger syndrome, autism and/or high functioning autism. Prerequisite: SPED 760, SPED 785, SPED 743 and SPED 775.
The student, with the guidance of a master's project/thesis committee completes execution of the project or thesis. The project/thesis is done as individual study of selected current problems in the field of special education to be adapted to the special interests and objectives of the students and conducted through extensive reading and research. In addition, the student completes the course with a presentation/defense of the project or thesis to his/her committee.
This course provides a problem-solving approach and the framework for teaching and assessment strategies to develop pro-social behavior in students with disabilities and their typical peers in classrooms and whole school contexts. Students assess problem behavior, discover the functions of problem behavior, and learn pro-social alternatives in home, school and community settings. Prerequisite: SPED 631 or SPED 731, and SPED 632 or SPED 732.
This course is designed to introduce educators and related service professionals to prevention and intervention related to a broad range of antisocial, aggressive and behavioral problems. Approaches focus on understanding and addressing the precipitating factors related to inappropriate behavior, short-term approaches for immediate crises, and problem-solving strategies for longer-term change. Course content will include antisocial, aggressive and violent behavior, options for classroom interventions, school and system-oriented interventions, and ethical and legal issues involved in various prevention and intervention approaches. Class work will focus on literature, research-based intervention approaches and case work illustrating specific approaches and programs. Prerequisite: SPED 631 or SPED 731, SPED 741, and SPED 743.
To be determined in consultation with the Academic Advisor
This is an introductory course in special education law and policy implementation. It is designed to provide school and district administrators, and other special education stakeholders, with a basic understanding of key points in the history of special education law and policy. It focuses primarily on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and its core concepts, with particular attention to Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). This course is designed to provide a working knowledge of IDEA's procedural requirements, the preferred practices associated with implementing the procedures in schools, criticism of these practices and their implementation, and ideas for addressing these criticisms in ways that promote more equitable and inclusive special education practices. Prerequisite: Degree in Special Education, School Psychology or related fields.
This is course is designed to provide school and district administrators, and other special education stakeholders, with a general understanding of the history of the treatment of individuals with disabilities and the development of special education law and policy over time. It foregrounds current issues in the post-Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) organization of the field, highlighting the goals and challenges of democratic leadership and civic professionalism in relation to special education. The course concludes with a final paper and online presentation examining how history, disability, difference and justice inform special education leadership, both in theory and in practice.
This course is designed to give school and district administrators, and other special education stakeholders interested in special education leadership, a deep understanding of two core principles of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). These are: (1) appropriate education, and (2) least restrictive environment. The course continues the same pattern established in the previous courses for this four-course program. It introduces these core IDEA concepts, features a week of criticisms of those concepts, and follows with a week on remedies to address key issues identified. The last two modules of the course focus on the Individualized Educational Plan and inclusive practices. The course concludes with a final project. Prerequisite: Degree in Special Education, School Psychology or related fields.
The purpose of this course is to provide a background in career development and transition education for persons with disabilities from middle school through adulthood. Emphasis is placed on IDEA requirements for transition services, career development and transition processes, transition services assessment, secondary special education curricular implications, career development and transition service needs, collaborative services in schools and communities to promote quality transition services, and issues and trends in transition education and services.
This course is designed to provide a review of psychometric principles and their utility as a foundation for quality assessment in transition assessment and planning for youth with disabilities. Formal and informal assessments across a range of transition planning areas are reviewed and evaluated. Skills in curriculum-based assessment, rating scales, situational assessment and functional assessment are emphasized. Prerequisite: SPED 856 or permission of instructor.
The purpose of this course is to provide graduate students with research evidence of each of the components of universal design for learning within access to the general academic curriculum: multiple means of representation, expression and engagement. Prerequisite: SPED 856.