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Master’s in High Incidence Disabilities

Course Descriptions

The online Master of Science in Education (M.S.E) in Special Education with an emphasis on High Incidence Disabilities at KU focuses on high incidence disabilities. It prepares graduates to work in classrooms designated as cross-categorical, multi-categorical, mild/moderate and/or adaptive. Our faculty is comprised of leaders in the field. Read more here to learn about the courses and topics you will learn about when getting your online degree in special education from the University of Kansas School of Education. All courses listed are worth 3 credits.

Please note: Course list and sequence are subject to change.

SPED 730 - Characteristics, Methods, and Assessment: Introduction to Struggling Learners & Students with High-Incidence Disabilities

This course introduces the characteristics, assessment and identification process which is at the core of understanding students with high-incidence disabilities and begins the Master’s in High Incidence Disabilities. Explore the role of the educator in identifying, understanding and implementing evidence-based practices. Students in this course will receive initial instructional and behavioral interventions necessary for meeting the needs of students with high incidence disabilities. This course also presents the needs for specialized services to meet specific learning and/or behavioral needs and provides the basic frameworks for instruction and conceptualizing best practices, including the principles of Universal Design for Learning and Multi-Tier Systems of Support (MTSS). Curriculum resources and intervention strategies for students with high incidence disabilities will be introduced with emphasis on tiered planning and implementation.

SPED 741 - Methods and Assessment: Literacy Interventions for Struggling Learners & Students with High-Incidence Disabilities

This course provides in-depth learning experiences targeting literacy (both reading and writing). Students will learn about assessment tools and assessment systems used in tiered support frameworks to determine the required intensity of literacy support and instruction needed by children/adolescents with high-incidence special education needs. The course also provides evidence-based instructional approaches and effective curriculum that has been developed for students with disabilities and struggling students in general.

SPED 743 - Methods: Functional Behavioral Assessment, Positive Behavior Support, and Classroom Management

This course provides a problem-solving approach and the framework for teaching and behavioral assessment strategies for students with disabilities and their typical peers. You will explore strategies for developing pro-social behavior in classrooms and whole school contexts. Learn to implement data collection as well as direct observation to assess problem behavior, discover the functions of problem behavior, and explore pro-social alternatives for home, school and community settings.

SPED 775 - Practicum with Exceptional Children & Youth – Adaptive

Using content and understanding gained from the previous 700-level courses, this course provides the opportunity for intense diverse and direct teaching experiences with children and youth with disabilities in educational settings. You will apply what you have learned in a real classroom setting and explore real-world strategies through direct experience. View requirements for practicum.

SPED 841 - Advanced Methods & Assessment: Learning Strategy & Content Mastery for Struggling Learners & Students with High-Incidence Disabilities

This course looks at various ways of assessing student knowledge, identifying and implementing evidence-based practices to increase the success of students with high-incidence disabilities in mathematics, social studies, science and language arts primarily in grades 4-12. Learn best practices for understanding and evaluating curricular demands, monitoring student progress in content-area courses, providing tiered supports and accommodations in teaching, using assessment and grading alternatives, and incorporating the principles of explicit and strategic instruction to design instruction that will promote and enhance content-area learning.

SPED 843 - Advanced Methods and Assessment: Strategies for Students, Significant Behavior, Social & Emotional Needs

This course introduces educators and related service professionals to practical, evidence-based prevention and intervention strategies related to a broad range of antisocial, aggressive and behavioral problems. Approaches focus on understanding and addressing the precipitating factors related to inappropriate behavior, crisis management in immediate situations, and problem-solving strategies for longer-term change. Course content will include descriptions of problematic antisocial, aggressive, disruptive and internalizing behaviors; 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.

SPED 854 - Family and Interprofessional Collaboration in Special Education

This course moves beyond the classroom, providing the knowledge and skills to form useful, collaborative relationships with families, paraeducators, as well as other educators and service providers to best serve the needs of the student. Learn 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. Explore 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 include collaboration in schools, community systems and families, historical perspectives of family life and school involvement, effective relationships between home, school and community, communication among professionals and with families, school-based programs, home-based programs, and multicultural considerations.

SPED 856 - Transition Education and Services from Childhood through Adulthood

This course provides 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 the 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 current issues and trends in transition education and services.

SPED 875 - Advanced Practicum with Exceptional Children & Youth

Drawing upon knowledge and understanding from previous courses, you will integrate and implement strategies and solutions in real-world contexts. This class provides the opportunity for intensive field work and direct teaching experiences with children and youth with disabilities in clinical, residential and educational settings. View requirements for practicum.

EPSY 715 - Understanding Research in Education

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.

SPED 898 - Master’s Project

The purpose of this independent study course is to provide students in the High Incidence Disabilities Master's program an opportunity to demonstrate their professional growth in an online portfolio. Students will include artifacts (including course assignments) and reflections. The course will end with recorded presentations and final reviews of the submitted projects by the Instructors and committees of two other faculty members. Usually the Faculty Advisor for the cohort participates in these committees.

Important Dates

Application Deadline

April 26
Summer 2019 Term

Next Start

May 13
Summer 2019 Term

Application Deadline

August 9
Fall 2019 Term


Financing Your Online Education

April 4 Register Now