Special Education

Director: Dr. Michele Marable

Degree: Master of Science

Program Details

The Special Education Master of Science Degree Program at Canisius is designed for those dedicated to meet the needs of students with disabilities, placing a strong emphasis on theory, research and practicum experience.  The curriculum enables candidates to develop an understanding of etiology, related psychological and social factors and techniques proven effective for teaching students with diverse learning needs.  

The graduate programs in Special Education include pathways to achieve course requirements and to earn a New York State Certification Master of Science Degree in Special Education. The program leads to initial and/or professional teacher certification. The program leads to initial teacher certification. Practica and research opportunities are available throughout the program.

Canisius offers several options for graduate students interested in working with children and youth with disabilities. Click the links below to learn more about each program:

  • Childhood Special Education


    This program is appropriate for candidates who have completed the requirements for Initial Childhood Certification but who plan to secure Special Education Certification at the graduate level.


  • Adolescence Special Education


    This program is appropriate for candidates who have completed the requirements for Initial Adolescence Certification but who plan to secure Special Education Certification at the graduate level.
  • 

Initial Childhood Plus Special Education


    This program is appropriate for candidates with no prior certification who are seeking both Initial Childhood Certification and Special Education Certification at the graduate level.


  • Initial Adolescence Plus Special Education


    This program is appropriate for candidates with no prior certification who are seeking both Initial Adolescence Certification and Special Education Certification at the graduate level.

Course Requirements

Initial Program in Childhood/Special Education (no prior certifications)

The following courses are required of all candidates:

EDCH 502Foundation of Literacy Instruction3
EDCH 540Childhood Learning and Development3
EDCH 543Elementary Mathematics Instruction3
EDCH 545Elementary Science Instruction3
EDCH 546Elementary Social Studies Instruction3
SPE 541Inclusive Strategies3
SPE 570Standards Based Assessment3
SPE 580Classroom Management3
SPE 631Reading and Writing Process for Students with Learning and Behavioral Disorders (25 hours field experience)3
SPE 640Learning and Behavioral Disabilities (LBD); Etiology and Research Based Interventions3
SPE 644Collaborative Practices on a Transdisciplinary Team3
SPE 650Developmental Disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorders: Analysis of Causes and Research-Based Inte3
SPE 652Functional Curriculum for Students with Severe Disabilities and ASD (25 hours field experience)3
SPE 698Seminar in Teaching and Assessment (50 hours field experience)3
EDU 595Child Abuse Workshop0
EDU 596Prevention of School Violence Workshop 0
EDU 597Dignity for All Students Workshop0
Total Credits42

 Initial Certification-Adolescence/Special Education 54 credit hours

This program prepares candidates to gain Certification in both Adolescence Education (Grades 7-12) and Special Education (7-12). Candidates should possess a bachelor’s degree with a major, or its equivalent of a minimum of 36 credit hours in one of the following academic disciplines: English, mathematics, social studies, business, chemistry, biology, physics, French, Spanish or German.

All candidates will also need as prerequisite, six semester hours in English, science, social studies and math and three semester hours of study of a language other than English at the college or university level or its equivalent.

Course Requirements SPE7

Initial Program in Adolescence/Special Education (no prior certifications)

The following courses are required of all candidates:

EDAD 502Foundations of Adolescent Literacy3
EDAD 534Assessment of Student Learning3
EDAD 535Learning and Human Development: Adolescence3
EDAD 572Pedagogical Strategies and Methods3
SPE 536Differentiating Instruction for Diverse Adolescent Learners3
SPE 570Standards Based Assessment3
SPE 580Classroom Management3
SPE 631Reading and Writing Process for Students with Learning and Behavioral Disorders (25 hours field experience)3
SPE 640Learning and Behavioral Disabilities (LBD); Etiology and Research Based Interventions3
SPE 644Collaborative Practices on a Transdisciplinary Team3
SPE 649Transition Issues for Adolescents with Disabilities3
SPE 650Developmental Disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorders: Analysis of Causes and Research-Based Inte3
SPE 652Functional Curriculum for Students with Severe Disabilities and ASD (25 hours field experience)3
SPE 698Seminar in Teaching and Assessment (50 hours field experience)3
EDU 595Child Abuse Workshop0
EDU 596Prevention of School Violence Workshop 0
EDU 597Dignity for All Students Workshop0
Total Credits42

SPM 1

Prerequisites: SPM1–Special Education -Childhood 33 credit hours

This program prepares candidates already holding a Childhood Certificate (Grades 1-6) to gain Certification in Special Education (SWD 1-6).

Course Requirements SPM1

Special Education Certification for those holding Childhood Certification

The following courses are required of all candidates:

SPE 570Standards Based Assessment3
SPE 580Classroom Management3
SPE 631Reading and Writing Process for Students with Learning and Behavioral Disorders (25 hours field experience)3
SPE 640Learning and Behavioral Disabilities (LBD); Etiology and Research Based Interventions3
SPE 644Collaborative Practices on a Transdisciplinary Team3
SPE 650Developmental Disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorders: Analysis of Causes and Research-Based Inte3
SPE 652Functional Curriculum for Students with Severe Disabilities and ASD (25 hours field experience)3
SPE 696Transition Point Check0
EDY 509Developmentally Appropriate Curriculum in Early Childhood Classrooms (or elective)3
Elective3
Total Credits27

SPM 7

Prerequisites: SPM7– Special Education - Adolescence 33 credit hours

This program prepares candidates already holding an Adolescence Certificate (Grades 7-12) to gain Certification in Special Education (SWD 7-12).

All candidates will need as prerequisites, six semester hours in English, science, social studies and math at the college or university level.

Course Requirements SPM1

Special Education Certification for those holding Adolescence Certification

The following courses are required of all candidates:

SPE 536Differentiating Instruction for Diverse Adolescent Learners (or elective)3
SPE 570Standards Based Assessment3
SPE 580Classroom Management3
SPE 631Reading and Writing Process for Students with Learning and Behavioral Disorders (25 hours field experience)3
SPE 640Learning and Behavioral Disabilities (LBD); Etiology and Research Based Interventions3
SPE 644Collaborative Practices on a Transdisciplinary Team3
SPE 649Transition Issues for Adolescents with Disabilities3
SPE 650Developmental Disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorders: Analysis of Causes and Research-Based Inte3
SPE 652Functional Curriculum for Students with Severe Disabilities and ASD (25 hours field experience)3
SPE 696Transition Point Check0
Total Credits27

SPE A

Prerequisites: SPMA– The Advanced Special Education Program 30 credit hours

This program is available for those who already certified in both Childhood and Special Education and provides in-depth study in research based techniques for students with disabilities.

Course Requirements

SPE A: Advanced Program in Childhood Special Education for those already holding Childhood and Special Education Certification

The following courses are required of all candidates:

SPE 570Standards Based Assessment3
SPE 639Therapeutic Approaches for Disruptive Behavior3
SPE 644Collaborative Practices on a Transdisciplinary Team3
SPE 649Transition Issues for Adolescents with Disabilities3
SPE 650Developmental Disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorders: Analysis of Causes and Research-Based Inte3
SPE 653Behavior Management and Principles of Applied Behavior Analysis3
SPE 696Transition Point Check0
Electives9
Total Credits27

SPECIAL EDUCATION LEARNING GOALS & OBJECTIVES

Learning Goal 1 (KNOWLEDGE – Observed in Writing)

Candidates in the Teacher Education programs will demonstrate content knowledge, pedagogical, and professional knowledge necessary for successful performance in their field.

Teacher candidates will: 
  • Acquire knowledge of each student, and demonstrate knowledge of student development and learning to promote achievement for all students. 
  • Know the content they are responsible for teaching, and the pedagogical content knowledge to plan instruction that ensures growth and achievement for all students. 

Learning Goal 2 (KNOWLEDGE – Observed Skills and Dispositions)

Candidates in the Teacher Education programs will demonstrate professional skills and dispositions necessary for successful performance in their field. 

Teacher candidates will: 
  • Demonstrate professional dispositions and implement instruction that engages and challenges all students to meet or exceed the learning standards.

Learning Goal 3 (SERVICE)

Candidates in the Teacher Education programs will demonstrate willingness to use their skills to benefit and serve society. Within the contexts of their work, candidates promote authentic learning, social and emotional development, and a commitment to social justice in environments that foster respect for diversity and the dignity of all.

Teacher candidates will:
  • Work with all students to create a dynamic learning environment that supports achievement and growth.
  • Use multiple measures to assess and document student growth, evaluate instructional effectiveness, and modify instruction for diverse learners.

Learning Goal 4 (PROFESSIONALISM)

Candidates will demonstrate self-reflection as a habit of mind, continuously assessing and refining their professional practice as they construct a rich repertoire of research-based knowledge, skills, and attitudes for effective performance ensuring that all students and/or clients have optimal opportunities to learn and grow.

Teacher candidates will:
  • Set informed goals and strive for continuous professional growth.

Learning Goal 5 (LEADERSHIP)

Candidates will become adept at applying their acquired knowledge in the process of evaluating their own professional performance and decision-making with respect to its impact on students and/or clients, organizations, and the wider community. 

Teacher candidates will: 
  • Demonstrate professional responsibility and engage relevant stakeholders to maximize impact on student growth, development, and learning.

SPE 536 Differentiating Instruction for Diverse Adolescent Learners 3 Credits

This course focuses on educating adolescents regardless of their social and cultural backgrounds, language proficiencies, differences in ability and special needs. Social and emotional issues pertaining to an inclusive classroom and school will be discussed in addition to addressing the knowledge, skills and strategies for planning, managing, coordinating and evaluating inclusive teaching and learning environments. Attention will be given to collaboration with parents, specialists, agencies and community organizations as well as laws and policies that serve diverse learners.

SPE 541 Inclusive Strategies 3 Credits

Provides an overview of special education, including seminal legislation and current trends. Addresses successful strategies to support students with disabilities in the general education classroom. Examines the empirical basis of methods utilized to meet the New York State Learning Standards and emphasizes collaboration to meet the diverse needs of all learners.

SPE 570 Standards Based Assessment 3 Credits

Addresses the empirical basis of test construction and assessment including standardized tests, curriculum based assessment, criterion-referenced assessment and alternative methods of evaluation. Monitoring student performance as it relates to New York State standards including academic, management, social and physical abilities. Test modifications, IEP development and multicultural issues are highlighted.

SPE 580 Classroom Management 3 Credits

Provides an overview of classroom interventions supported by research. Managing group and individual behavior and promoting positive social skills are addressed. The importance of a multidisciplinary team approach to schoolhome collaboration, functional behavioral assessments and behavioral intervention plans is highlighted. Systematic data collection procedures to determine intervention effectiveness are emphasized.

SPE 595 Clinical-Research Seminar in Autism Spectrum Disorder 1-6 Credits

Clinical-Research Seminar in Autism Spectrum Disorder provides graduate students with advanced clinical and research training in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The course consists of two distinct but interrelated components including (1) classroom instruction and applied training in evidence-based treatment for children with ASD and (2) hands-on research experience during studies being conducted. Students will learn about ASD and evidence-based treatments, and participate in various studies involving high-functioning youth with ASD. Students also serve as a member of a professional research team.

SPE 599 Independent Study 3 Credits

Independent studies require an application and approval by the associate dean.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor, department chair, & associate dean.

SPE 631 Reading and Writing Process for Students with Learning and Behavioral Disorders 3 Credits

This course is designed for candidates seeking certification in childhood/adolescent special education and provides a thorough investigation of the reading and writing process; content focuses on research-based interventions, methods, and strategies for students with mild disabilities, at-risk youth, and English Language Learners. Candidates will develop lesson plans in reading and writing across the content areas, use and develop formal and informal assessments, and develop curricular accommodations for students with diverse learning needs. Other topics include: Direct Instruction, fluency, decoding, oral language and vocabulary development, comprehension strategies, Curriculum Based Measures to evaluate writing, rubrics, New York State Assessment expectations in reading and writing, procedural facilitators, strategic writing instruction, developing appropriate goals and objectives for student Individualized Education Plans, adapting expository text, determining readability and making accommodations, and designing and implementing developmentally appropriate reading/writing lesson plans in a 25 hour supervised practicum experience.

SPE 639 Therapeutic Approaches for Disruptive Behavior 3 Credits

Addresses the complex issues surrounding troublesome behavior and provides a variety of techniques grounded in research. Examines models and management strategies integrating the array of methodologies to illustrate best practice standards. A comparison of theoretical models and a detailed analysis of the research promotes best practices and collaboration with families.

SPE 640 Learning and Behavioral Disabilities (LBD); Etiology and Research Based Interventions 3 Credits

Provides an in-depth analysis of the causes of LBD and the assessment procedures and interventions proven effective for students with LBD. Addresses the referral process, IEP development, assistive technology, the continuum of services and collaboration. A comprehensive review of the literature on current trends and controversial issues facing students with LBD is emphasized.

SPE 644 Collaborative Practices on a Transdisciplinary Team 3 Credits

Investigates systems of collaboration supported by empirical evidence. Investigates the referral process, IEP development, behavioral intervention plans, and support in general education. Best practices for general and special educators, counseling, occupational and physical therapy, speech pathology, and hearing and vision services are synthesized to promote the successful team approach. Promoting parent involvement is emphasized.

SPE 649 Transition Issues for Adolescents with Disabilities 3 Credits

Highlights research based interventions that incorporate New York State Part 200 Regulations on transition. Addresses level-one assessment, transition IEP, family and community involvement and outcome-based instruction. Fostering self-advocacy among students with disabilities and person-centered planning are emphasized. Service options available in education, employment, community and adult living are explored.

SPE 650 Developmental Disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorders: Analysis of Causes and Research-Based Inte 3 Credits

Provides an overview of the comprehensive needs of students with Autism Spectrum and Severe Developmental Disabilities. Addresses etiology, myths, assessment, treatment, research-based interventions, program models and legal issues. Focuses on clinical implications for classroom and home environments, including family collaboration and the use of assistive technology.

SPE 652 Functional Curriculum for Students with Severe Disabilities and ASD 3 Credits

Provides an overview of New York State learning standards for students with severe disabilities. Emphasizes differentiated instruction, accommodations and modifications, assistive technology and assessment utilizing alternative performance indicators. Emphasizes researchbased approaches to functional academics, adaptive behavior and life skills, social development, communication, leisure/recreation, employment, community-based instruction and classroom management. Requirements include 25 hours practicum experience.

SPE 653 Behavior Management and Principles of Applied Behavior Analysis 3 Credits

Provides an overview of behaviorism including classical and operant conditioning. Focuses on the principles of ABA and their application in classroom and home environments. Addresses functional behavioral assessments, behavioral intervention, skill acquisition, and data management. Examines existing research on ABA principles and effective interventions for students with behavioral challenges.

SPE 696 Transition Point Check 0 Credits

Candidates complete the transition point portfolio requirements.

SPE 698 Seminar in Teaching and Assessment 3 Credits

Discusses current issues in Special Education and highlights research findings. Emphasizes application of research-based strategies in classrooms serving students with disabilities across the continuum of services. Requirements include 50 hours practicum experience.