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Special Education 472

EDSP 472: Characteristics of Students with Disabilities who Access the General Education Curriculum

Prerequisites: EDSP 360 or EDSP 361 or PSYC 401, 2.5 GPA

Credit Hours: (3)

Provides future educators an understanding of definitions, characteristics, and the learning and behavioral support needs of students with disabilities who are accessing the general education curriculum at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Characteristics and educational needs of students with learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities, emotional and behavioral disabilities, other health impairments, traumatic brain injury, developmental delays, autism, multiple disabilities, and orthopedic impairments will be addressed. Students will understand how the experiences of individuals with disabilities can impact families, as well as the individual’s ability to learn, interact socially, and live as a fulfilled, contributing member of their communities.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

The course allows future educators to understand how exceptional conditions can interact with the domains of human development and to learn how educators can use this knowledge to respond to the varying abilities and behaviors of individuals with disabilities. This course examines key topics such as cognitive functioning, including attention, memory, perception, and critical thinking. Additional characteristics including language development, social development, emotional and behavioral regulation, and medical aspects will be examined. Students will understand how the nature and severity of disabling conditions as well as factors relating to age/developmental level, cultural/ethnic and socioeconomic background affect participation in the general education curriculum.

Specific topics will include:

  • Current and past definitions of disability categories
  • Physical, social, psychological, behavioral, academic, and medical characteristics of students with disabilities and how these characteristics impact varying aspects of student learning
  • Characteristics and effects of the cultural and environmental milieu of the student with disabilities
  • Etiology and diagnosis related to various theoretical approaches
  • Sources of supports and services for individuals with varying disabilities, their families, and professionals serving them


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

Lecture, class discussion, audio and visual presentations, simulations/role-playing, independent and assigned readings, small group problem solving, case studies, applied technology assignments, and class presentations. 


Goals and Objectives of the Course

Goals, objectives, and assignments in this class address NCATE Standard 1c Professional and Pedagogical Knowledge and Skills. The codes included below refer to the CEC Knowledge and Skill Standards and the Virginia  Department of Education teacher licensure competencies. Code for CEC Standards: CC = Common Core; GC = General Curriculum. Code for VADOE Standards: VGC = Virginia’s General Curriculum; and VPS = Virginia’s Professional Studies.

Having successfully completed this course, the student will be able to:

1. Provide educational implications of characteristics of various disabilities (CC2K2)(VGCB1)

2. Outline the major historical foundations in the development of knowledge about and the provision of services for persons with varying disabling conditions. (GC1K3)

3. Provide characteristics and effects of cultural and environmental milieu of the individual with exceptional learning needs and their family. Discuss issues in definition and identification procedures for students from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds, family systems and the role of families in supporting development. (CC2K3)(CC2K4)(VGCB1) (VPS1)

4. Discuss variations in beliefs, traditions, and values across and within cultures and their effects on relationships among individuals with disabilities’ learning needs, family and schooling (CC2K3) (CC3K4)(VGCB1)

5. Describe the differing ways of learning of individuals with disabilities including those from culturally diverse backgrounds and strategies addressing these differences. (CC2K5)(VGCB1)

6. Describe the effects of various medications on individuals with disabilities and the etiologies and medical aspects of conditions affecting individuals with disabilities including the types and transmission routes of infectious diseases (CC2K7) (GC2K3) (GC2K6) (VGCB1)

7. Describe the impact of sensory impairments, physical and health disabilities on individuals, families, and society  and explain the common etiologies and the impact of sensory disabilities on learning and experience (GC2K2) (GC2K5)(VGCB1) (VPS1)

8. Discuss the impact of disabilities on auditory and information processing skills. (GC3K1)(VGCB1)

9. Describe the psychological and social-emotional characteristics of individuals with disabilities (GC2K4)(VGCB1)(VPS1)

10. Share information regarding the etiology and diagnosis related to various theoretical approaches (GC2K1)(VGCB1)

11. Describe the impact of learners’ academic and social abilities, attitudes, interests, and values on instruction and career development.(CC3K2)(VGCB1)

12. Explain the impact of disabilities on reading, auditory skills, academic skills, critical thinking, and social skills.(VGCB1)

13. Relate levels of support to the needs of the individuals (GC3S1)(VGCB1)

14. Identify appropriate adaptations and technology for all individuals with disabilities (GC4S7)


Assessment Measures

Written exams, class presentations and projects on the characteristics of students with disabilities, class participation, and written critique of articles from professional journals. 


Other Course Information



Review and Approval

Revised April, 2009