Academics

Special Education
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The primary goal of the Special Education Teacher-training program at Siena Heights University is to develop educators who are grounded in the breath and depth in the field of learning disabilities/cognitive impairment and who are self-confident, inquisitive and thoughtful in their practice.

  • The teacher-training program: develop perspective teachers committed to and capable of developing exemplar educational programs and educational environments for children with learning disabilities
  • Candidate preparation: to assume professional roles in schools, the teacher training program emphasizes understanding educational issues related to learning disabilities from a global perspective
  • Interactive learning: is set in the university classroom and in the public and private schools. In the teacher-training program, emphasis is placed on incorporating practical application with theoretical discussion and legal aspects of facilitating learning of children with learning disabilities.
  • Outcome based: reflecting "Best Practices" in the field of special education.
  • About the Program
  • Meet the Faculty
  • Field Practice
  • Career Opportunities
  • Accreditation

Learn more about the Special Education Program

Learning Disabilities

The philosophy of the endorsement program of learning disabilities is based on beliefs that influence the nature and content of instructional offerings. Beliefs related to this program are:

  • All exceptional children and adults can benefit from educational programs.
  • All facets of learning must be addressed: academic subjects as well as social skills and study skills.
  • Education for persons with a learning disability should begin as early as possible and continue as long as needed. Attention should be paid to the periods of transition.
  • Exceptional individuals have the right to be placed in the educational setting that is least restrictive. Consulting teachers, resource programs, and inclusive settings can be alternatives for most children with learning disabilities.
  • Special educators are a resource to the educational community. Through their knowledge and skills, special educators provide both direct service to exceptional children and supportive services to other persons, both professional and lay, who are responsible for teaching exceptional children.

Cognitive Impairment

Siena Heights University’s philosophy of preparing special education students to teach individuals with cognitive impairment is built on 10 major points:
 
1.  Education is for all individuals.
2.  Individuals with cognitive impairment are better served when programs are determined by individual learning needs and not categorical labels.  
3.  Accurate data is the driving force of educational programs and are the foundation for goals and objectives of an educational program.
4.  The full continuum of placements and all educational and community resources must be available to the individuals with cognitive impairment. The determination of the least restrictive placement must be based on assessment data. 
5.  The education of individuals with cognitive impairment should begin as early as possible and continue as long as needed. In all facets of life, transitions from one period to the next are critical. 
6.  The program for preparing teacher education students to teach individuals with cognitive impairment should cover all areas of learning including academic, social, daily living, and prevocational/vocational. The program must be based on research data and best practice.
7.  The standard curriculum is the base for building an individual educational program for individuals with cognitive impairment.
8.  The schools, as well as the teachers and other school professionals, are an integral part of the community. The special education teacher should provide both direct and indirect services and support to the community. 
9.  A role of a teacher education program is to meet the educational needs of Michigan individuals. 
10. The Michigan Department of Education’s curriculum standards and current best practices should be the platform on which the teacher education program builds.  A goal of the program is to provide leadership in the development of improved instructional program.   

For more information on the Special Education program, click here.

Meet the faculty members of the Special Education program

Mitchell, Carrie

Mitchell, Carrie

Director, Education Program;Assistant Professor of Education;Program Coordinator, Special Education517-264-7899
Ross, Julie

Ross, Julie

Assistant Professor of Education517-264-7887

Learn about field experiences in Special Education

Field experience

The special education program is heavily based in field experiences illustrating the balance of theory into practice. Field hours for special education are in addition to the required hours for the general education courses.  Some courses have field activities, but the following core special courses have field experiences and hours to fulfill:


SED 312 Introduction to Special Education
Semester hours: 3
Field Experience: 30 clock hours in a classroom with students with learning disabilities. This can be in a resource room, self-contained classroom, or inclusion classroom. Students tutor individual children/youth. Students spend a minimum of 15 hours in a special education classroom and 5 hours in an inclusion setting. 

SED 342 Parent-School Partnership: Special Education
Semester hours: 2
Field experience: 10 clock hours working with a family. Observing the interaction of the family, interviewing the family, and developing a family plan related to the IEP are some of the field activities. This can be MAPS or another family planning model. 

SED 343 Assessment And Evaluation Of Students With Disabilities 
Semester hours: 3
Field Experience: 10 clock hours in face-to-face assessment time in a K-12 school. Six of the hours must be spent in individual assessment and four hours in group assessment. At least one assessment must be from the elementary level and at least one assessment from the secondary level.

SED 349 Special Education in an Urban Setting
Semester hours: 1  
Field Experience: 20 clock hours completing field activities in a special education classroom in an urban setting teaching both small and large group lessons.  This course is taken during the junior year and placements are made directly into classrooms concurrently with EDU 349.

SED 351 Behavior Management
Semester hours:  2
Field Experience: 10 clock hours working closely with the classroom teacher in developing behavior plans for managing individual, small group, or large group behavior in a special education classroom. This course is taken during the junior year concurrently with EDU 351.

EDU 334 Strategies For Teaching Reading In The Elementary School 
Semester hours: 3
Field Experience: 20 clock hours where students will use and apply course materials with K-8 students. Students instruct children in reading using a variety of method and techniques. Students will demonstrate their understanding of strategies for creating interactive, child-centered classrooms that facilitate the construction of meaning from a literacy perspective. 
 
EDU 335: Strategies For Teaching Reading Through The Content Areas In The Secondary School
Semester hours: 3
Field Experience: 20 clock hours where students will use and  apply course materials with secondary level students. Using the content areas, the university student will instruct the student in reading skills. A variety of content areas will be used. The student will use materials appropriate for age and reading level.

SED 344 Early Childhood and Special Education
Semester Hours: 3
Field Experience: Twenty hours of field experience in a special needs or inclusion program is required.During the field hours observation and interactions occur in a one-on-one manner. A case study is then developed based on the experience.

Field Experiences Specific to the Learning Disabilities Program:


SED 334: Strategies For Teaching Reading to Students with Learning Disabilities 
Semester hours: 1
Field experience: 10 clock hours teaching reading to students identified with a learning disability. Students teach individual students and small groups in reading skills. This course is taken concurrently with EDU 335 or EDU 334.

SED 361 Introduction to Learning Disabilities
Semester hours: 3
Field Experience: 30 clock hours observing, tutoring and instructing of children with learning disabilities in a classroom setting. The instruction must be for a minimum of five consecutive lessons in each of three skill areas, i.e. math, reading, written expression. Lessons plans are to be approved by the cooperating teacher before lessons begin.

SED 362 Methods And Strategies For Teaching Children With Learning Disabilities
Semester hours: 4
Field Experience: 30 clock hours in a learning disabilities setting. If the field experience in SED 361 Introduction to Learning Disabilities course was in an elementary setting, the field experience in this methods course must be either a middle grades or secondary setting. After being assigned a group of students, the candidate will develop, implement, and evaluate 5 sequential lessons in two skill areas and one social skill or one study skill area. The lessons may be designed for individual, small group or large group. The cooperating teacher must approve the lessons prior to teaching.

Field Experiences Specific to the Cognitive Impairment Program:


SED381 Nature And Need For Individuals Cognitive Impaired
Semester hours: 3
Field Experience: 30 clock hours observing, tutoring and instructing of children with learning disabilities in a classroom setting. The instruction must be for a minimum of five consecutive lessons in each of three skill areas, i.e. math, reading, written expression. Lessons plans are to be approved by the cooperating teacher before lessons begin.
 
SED382 Methods And Strategies For Teaching Individuals With Mild Cognitive
Impairment
Semester hours: 2
Field Experience: 20 clock hours in a setting for students with mild cognitive impairment. If the field experience in SED381 Nature And Need For Individuals Cognitive Impaired course was in an elementary setting, the field experience in this methods course must be either a middle grades or secondary setting. After being assigned a group of students, the candidate will develop, implement and evaluate 5 sequential lessons in two skill areas and one social skill or one daily living skills skill area. The lessons may be designed for individual or small group. The cooperating teacher must approve the lessons prior to teaching. 
 
SED383 Methods And Strategies For Teaching Individuals With Mild Cognitive
Impairment
Semester hours: 2
Field Experience: 20 clock hours in a setting for students with mild cognitive impairment. After being assigned a group of students, the candidate will develop, implement, and evaluate 5 sequential lessons in two skill areas in two different domains. The lessons may be designed for individual or small group. The cooperating teacher must approve the lessons prior to teaching. 

SED385 Strategies For Fundamental Reading and Functional Reading
Semester hours: 2
Field experience: 15 clock hours teaching reading to students identified with a cognitive impairment. Students teach individual students and small groups in reading skills related to functional living and functional living. 

Learn about Career Opportunities in Special Education

Career opportunities


Students who graduate from the Teacher Education Program in Special Education from Siena Heights University will apply for initial certification from the State of Michigan. These students are prepared to teach in both general and special education classrooms. The general education certification is either elementary or secondary, but the special education certification includes kindergarten through twelfth grade in either the area of learning disabilities or cognitive impairments.
The special education settings can include:
• full inclusion
• resource room
• self-contained

Special education careers can also occur outside of the typical school settings, for example:
• post-secondary transition centers
• day-treatment programs
• correction centers
• adult service provider
• early intervention

Students can also pursue a master’s degree at Siena Heights in the area of special education in the areas of learning disabilities and cognitive impairments. Other career opportunities that can occur through continued education are:
• administrators
• special education coordinators
• consultants
• early childhood special educators

Siena Heights University’s Teacher Education Program was granted Accreditation by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) for a period of seven years, from May 3, 2013 to May 3, 2020. This accreditation certifies that the forenamed professional education program has provided evidence that the program adheres to TEAC’s quality principles.

For a Summary of the Case, click here.

Additional Info

Degree:

  • Bachelor of Arts

Division:

  • Division of Visual and Performing Arts and Education

Location(s):

Meet Siena

Students

Charlotte Squires

Charlotte Squires

Special Education, Adrian Campus

Faculty & Staff

Dr. Carrie Mitchell

Dr. Carrie Mitchell

Assistant Professor of Education; Director of the Teacher Education Program
Contact Us at (800) 521-0009

Siena Heights University Main Campus
1247 E. Siena Heights Dr.
Adrian, MI 49221