Special Education (Low Incidence) | Southwestern College Professional Studies

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Special Education (Low Incidence)

Master of Special Education (Low-Incidence)

Program Description

The Master of Education with a major in Special Education Low-Incidence Disabilities program is designed for those who wish to earn an endorsement in special education as part of their graduate degree. A minimum of 36 hours is required for the graduate degree. Endorsement in low incidence disabilities may be earned with 33 credit hours. A minimum of 9 credit hours is required for a provisional endorsement. EDUC 512 Action Research must be completed within the first 15 credit hours of the program of study. 

Anyone interested in the program who resides in a state other than Kansas must check with that state’s department of education to determine specific licensure requirements for teaching within that state and the acceptability of out-of-state licensure.

Admission Process

  1. Complete graduate application forms
  2. Provide current resume
  3. Submit two professional letters of recommendation (at least one from a current or former employer)
  4. Turn in one-page personal essay
  5. Submit official transcript from a bachelor’s degree-granting institution.
  6. Be a current, licensed teacher and provide a copy of your teaching license
  7. Employer commitment form

Core Major Requirements

EDUC514: Introduction to Special Education: Individual Educational Plan Development

Course will provide training in the procedures for developing high quality individual education plans for students with disabilities, based on state curriculum standards and meeting all of the requirements of state and federal special education laws and regulations. This course can be taken in conjunction withEDUC524.

EDUC524: Introduction to Special Education

Designed to provide an overview of the fields of behavior disorders, learning disabilities, and mental retardation for present and future teachers, school psychologists, administrators, counselors, and other professionals preparing to work with students with mild disabilities. Emphasis on causes, identification, classification, characteristics, and recent trends and issues.

EDUC528: Collaboration with Families and Communities

This course develops an understanding and valuing process relative to the importance and complexity of characteristics of young children’s families and communities through respectful, reciprocal relationships, and involve families and communities in their children’s development and learning.


EDUC534: Transitions in Education

The focus of this course is on the theoretical constructs and practical considerations in programming for students with disabilities from the preschool through the secondary and post‐secondary level.

EDUC714: Characteristics of Children & Youth with Low‐Incidence Disabilities

This introductory course provides an overview of the characteristics of learners with significant needs for support. Learners will be introduced to the various classification systems and the implications of low‐ incidence disabilities, significant cognitive disability, various vision and/or hearing impairments, motor disabilities, and health impairments. The diversity of curriculum needs for students at the functional level will be addressed, including cognitive, physical, social, and emotional needs across the developmental spectrum. The course prepares learners for more advanced study in specific areas, such as assessment, instructional methodology, behavior management and transition.

EDUC718: Methods: Life Skills and Community‐based Instruction

This course will provide an overview of instructional practices contributing to community‐referenced planning, community‐based and life skills instruction. Students design community‐based instructional programs, ecologically valid and age‐appropriate to facilitate mastery of skills essential for community and social inclusions including family and student involvement, transportation, and administrative and policy support.

EDUC722: Methods: Functional Behavioral Assessment, Positive Behavior Support and Classroom Management

This course provides a problem‐solving approach and the framework for teaching and to develop pro‐social behavior in students with functional disabilities in classrooms and school contexts. Students ascertain behaviors, discover the functions of behavior, and learn pro‐social behaviors for home, school, and community settings.

EDUC724: Advanced Methods: Strategies For Students with Significant Sensory, Motor and Health Needs

In this course students learn instructional strategies for teaching children and youth with sensory and/or motor impairments and complex medical needs. Students will learn use of residual and alternative senses: proper positioning and transfer for students with motor impairments, nutrition, hydration, medical monitoring, and seizure activity. Students will develop appropriate goals and objectives in the sensory and motor areas, incorporate related services into inclusive educational settings, embed sensory and motor skills training into the general education curriculum, adapt materials and apply assistive technologies.

EDUC735: Assessment, Diagnosis, and Evaluation

This course will develop the use of observation techniques and the administration and interpretation of test instruments and strategies including screening tests, formal and informal tests, norm and criterion‐ referenced tests, and diagnostic and achievement tests. Individual assessment of developmental skills, academic achievement, adaptive behavior and processes will be included. Tests will be evaluated for their usefulness in diagnosis, placement, and intervention in special education and remedial programs.

EDUC757: Principles of Communication and Literacy for Students with Low‐Incidence Disabilities

This course will provide overall instructional practices in the area of effective communication and literacy for students with significant disabilities. Students will demonstrate the ability to collaborate with related service providers, community personnel, general education teachers, families and paraprofessionals in the pre‐assessment, construction, implementation and reassessment of both high and low tech communication systems. Students will also demonstrate the ability to design literacy objectives that align to the Common Core state standards and create formative and summative assessments to support the objectives.

EDUC758: Initial Practicum in Functional Special Education

This is a field‐based course relating theory to application. Students will be place in settings where they will obtain experiences working with students with functional disabilities.

EDUC759: Capstone Practicum in Functional Special Education

This is a field‐based course relating theory to application. Students will be placed in settings where they will obtain experiences working with students with severe and profound cognitive disability, medically fragile, deaf/blind disabilities.

Research Requirements

EDUC512: Action Research

This course will introduce students to action research, a form of self‐reflective systematic inquiry by practitioners on their own practice. The primary objective of the course is to prepare students to do action research in schools. There are three other goals: 1) the development of professional community; 2) the illumination of power relationships; and 3) students' recognition of their own expertise.

Related Courses of Interest

EDUC725: Foundations of Aututim Spectrum Disorders

This course will provide an introduction to the unique characteristics, etiology and prevalence of autism spectrum disorders. Effective practices for instructing students with autism spectrum disorders will be presented; with special focus on environmental structuring and management, communication, social skill development and sensory processing differences.

Graduation Requirements

  1. Complete the specific program requirements for the master's program
  2. Have an overall grade point average of 3.0, with no grade below a C (2.0)
  3. Complete a minimum of 36 credit hours

All degree requirements are subject to change. Please see Southwestern College Professional Studies Catalog for the most current degree requirements.

*Online courses are six weeks long with the exception of some RN to BSN and Education courses. Please review the course catalogs for more information.