Director: Dr. Michele Marable
Degree: Master of Science
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:
- Special Education (Childhood)
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.
- Special Education (Adolescence)
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.
Childhood Education (Grades 1-6) and Special Education (Grades 1-6)
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.
- Adolescence Education (Grades 7-12) and Special Education (Grades 7-12)
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.
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 592 Student Teaching 4.5 Credits
Student teaching with a placement in classrooms serving students with disabilities (in grades 1-6). Placement is appropriate with the level of certification and include high-needs schools or schools serving socio-economically disadvantaged students.
SPE 593 Student Teaching 9 Credits
Includes one placement in classrooms serving students with disabilities (in grades 1-6) and one placement in classrooms in childhood general education (grades 1-6). Placements are appropriate with the level of certification and include high-needs schools or schools serving socio-economically disadvantaged students.
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 Intellectual Disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorders: Etiology & Educational Needs 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 692 Student Teaching 4.5 Credits
Student teaching with a placement in classrooms serving students with disabilities (in grades 7-12). Placement is appropriate with the level of certification and include high-needs schools or schools serving socio-economically disadvantaged students.
SPE 693 Student Teaching 9 Credits
Includes one placement in classrooms serving students with disabilities (in grades 7-12) and one placement in classrooms in childhood general education (grades 7-12). Placements are appropriate with the level of certification and include high-needs schools or schools serving socio-economically disadvantaged students.
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.