Special Education 439

EDSP 439: Medical and Neurodevelopmental Aspects of Teaching Young Children with Disabilities

Prerequisites: Minimum 2.5 GPA
Corequisites: EDSP 361
Pre- or Corequisites: EDSP 360 or EDSP 361

Credit Hours: (3)

Examines the medical and health care needs of infants, toddlers, and young children with and without disabilities. Includes the role of health care professionals, child abuse and neglect, health and safety, emergency care, management of chronic health impairments, and management of neurodevelopmental and motor disabilities.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

EDSP 439 is a required course in the special education concentration for students in the ECE/ECSE teaching licensure option. The course is designed to provide students with knowledge and skills to meet the needs of infants, toddlers, and young children with cognitive and sensory/motor disabilities. The course will include intervention strategies, promoting engagement, atypical motor development, physical management and handling procedures, assistive technology, and special health care procedures. Developmentally-appropriate practice; culturally-competent, family-centered service delivery; collaboration; and the use of technology will be integrated throughout the course.

    -    Medical and neurodevelopmental disabling and at-risk conditions of infants, toddlers, and young children

    -    Characteristics of infants, toddlers, and young children with medical and neurodevelopmental conditions

    -    Eligibility categories and services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

    -    Instructional Planning and Implementation for infants, toddlers, and young children with medical and neurodevelopmental conditions

    -    Management of neurodevelopmental and motor disabilities: atypical motor development, sensory integration dysfunction, positioning and handling, feeding, toileting, and dressing

    -    Use of Assistive Technology with infants, toddlers, and young children with medical and neurodevelopmental conditions

    -    Health care procedures for infants, toddlers, and young children with medical and neurodevelopmental conditions including first aid, emergency care, infection control, seizure care, administration of medications, common health care procedures and the role of health care professionals

    -    Low-incidence health care procedures including: non-oral feeding procedures, atypical elimination procedures (ostomy, clean intermittent catheterization), respiratory management (tracheotomy care, suctioning, oxygen, ventilation), developing special health care plans, role of school and early intervention professionals, and ethical and policy issues.


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

Instructional strategies will include: lecture, demonstration, discussion, audiovisual and web-based technologies, formal and informal writing, case studies, cooperative learning groups, observations and field studies, guest speakers, and student presentations.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

Goals, objectives, and assignments in the class address NCATE Standards 1b: Pedagogical content knowledge and skills for teacher candidates and 1g: Professional dispositions for all candidates. 

Objectives below also include the following standards:           

  • Council for Exceptional Children (CEC/DEC) Common Core Standards in Standard 2: Development and Characteristics of Learners (CC/EC2); Standard 3: Individual Learning Differences (CC/EC3);  Standard 7: Instructional Planning (CC/EC7) and Standard 9: Professional and Ethical Practice (CC/EC9)
  • National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Standards in Standard 1: Promoting Child Development and Learning, Standard  4: Teaching and Learning, and Standard  5: Becoming a Professional
  • Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) Licensure standards        
    • Special Education: Early Childhood (birth through age 5): Competency 7: Medical aspects of young children


Interdisciplinary Early Childhood (IDEC) competencies identified in the course objectives were developed to organize standards from six national and state specialty professional areas for which a crosswalk is provided. 

Upon successful completion of EDSP 439, students will . . . 

1. Demonstrate understanding of terminology used by therapeutic and medical professionals in education/intervention settings. (IDEC 1.2)
2. Identify roles of therapeutic and health care professionals in the lives of children with disabilities and their families. (IDEC 1.2)
3. Identify characteristics and IDEA classifications of infants, toddlers, preschoolers and primary-age students with disabilities. (IDEC 1.1)
4. Describe common neurodevelopmental, motor, and special health care conditions; their prevalence, etiology, and implications for development and learning across the lifespan. (IDEC 1.2) 
5. Demonstrate knowledge of the impact of neurodevelopmental and motor disorders on movement and posture. (IDEC 1.2)
6. Demonstrate appropriate techniques for positioning, lifting/transferring, carrying, feeding, and dressing children with physical disabilities. (IDEC 1.2)
7. Describe sensory integration dysfunction and related intervention techniques. (IDEC 1.2)
8. Demonstrate appropriate use of technology suitable for young children including incorporating adaptive and assistive technology in instruction. (IDEC 4.8)
9. Possess awareness of low incidence health care procedures, the role of educators with regard to performing these procedures, and strategies for obtaining child-specific training. (IDEC 1.2)
10. Demonstrate understanding of health and safety practices in home, early intervention, child care, and school settings. (IDEC 4.5)
11. Identify elements of and strategies for development of special health care plans. (IDEC 1.2)
12. Identify ethical and policy issues related to educational, social, and medical services. (IDEC 1.2, IDEC 6.5)
13. Read and critically apply research and recommended practices to services for young children with disabilities and their families. (IDEC 6.7)

14. Demonstrate sensitivity to the primary culture and individual differences of children, families, and

professionals during all contacts. (IDEC 2.2)

15. Use verbal, nonverbal, and written language effectively. (IDEC 6.9)

16. Demonstrate ethical professional behaviors in interactions in class and with children and families, and professionals within the community. (IDEC 6.5)


Assessment Measures

·         3-4 Exams

·         Individual and group projects and class presentations focusing on disabling conditions

·         Class participation in discussion and small group activities

·         Interviews and observations of therapists who work with young children with disabilities

·         Reaction papers to guest speakers and experiences

·         Certification in CPR and First Aid


Other Course Information



Review and Approval

Revised 2012

Revised April, 2009