Special Education 440

EDSP 440: Practicum in Early Intervention

Prerequisites: IDEC major, successful completion of EDSP 360 or EDSP 361, EDSP 436, EDSP 439, and EDEC 321; minimum 2.5 GPA.

Credit Hours: (3)

Pedagogical experience with infants and toddlers with disabilities, developmental delays, at risk conditions, or typical development. Students spend two to three days per week working with very young children in early intervention services, at-risk programs, family homes, and/or child care settings under the direct supervision of a cooperating professional. EDSP 440 is a structured and supervised field experience in the Interdisciplinary Studies Early Childhood (IDEC) program. Weekly seminars provide discussion of current educational practices and issues of concern to educators of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers with special needs and their families.

Note(s): Pass/Fail.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

Clinical experience that provides pedagogical experience and background for teaching young children, and young children with disabilities, and their families.  The placements provide pedagogical experience under appropriately trained/ licensed early intervention or child care providers for approximately 20 hours per week for 7 to 8 weeks. Students are expected to abide by their Cooperating Professional’s required schedule.  Students begin the experience in their placement by engaging in conferences, observations, and helping roles, and gradually work toward assuming teaching responsibilities and assessment of individual child development and learning. Candidates demonstrate knowledge, skill, and commitment in the areas of content, learners, best practice, and professionalism. 

  • Theoretical basis for the profession
  • Development and learning of young children with disabilities
  • Medical and health care conditions of young children
  • Positive family and community collaboration and relationships
  • Experience with diversity of culture, language, and ability
  • Assessment of development and learning of young children
  • Positive learning environments
  • Social interactions and self-regulation of young children
  • Appropriate curriculum and instructional practice for young children and their families
  • Use of technology to enhance learning
  • Integration of IFSP/IEP objectives, therapies, etc. in natural environments
  • Professional practice


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

Students work closely with their cooperating professionals each week to gain experience and skills needed to be effective instructors of young children with disabilities and their families. Students begin the experience engaging in conferences, observations, data collection, and limited responsibility, and gradually work toward assuming total teaching responsibility for a minimum of one full week. 

Students are required to participate in the full range of duties of early interventionists or child care providers for the duration of the placement and are expected to demonstrate commitment to the professions’ code of ethical conduct. Weekly seminars are designed to facilitate the development of knowledgeable, skilled, thoughtful and committed professionals.  Seminars focus on: 1) experiences in the field, 2) effective teaching practices, and 3) current issues and concerns of educators of young children.  Seminars are usually discussions.  Content focuses on Current Issues in Early Childhood Special Education including Professionalism.  Students will be expected to analyze the issues and develop applications for child care settings and programs for young children with special needs and their families.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

Goals, objectives, and assignments in the class address NCATE Standards 1c: Professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills for teacher candidates, 1d: Student learning 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 #1: Foundations (CC/EC1) #2: Development and Characteristics of Learners (CC/EC2); Standard #3: Individual Learning Differences (CC/EC3);  Standard #4: Instructional Strategies (CC/EC4); Standard #5: Learning Environments and Social Interactions (CC/EC5); Standard #6: Language (CC/EC6); Standard #7: Instructional Planning (CC/EC7); Standard #8: Assessment (CC/EC8); Standard #9: Professional and Ethical Practice (CC/EC9); and Standard #10: Collaboration (CC/EC10)
  • National Association for the Education of Young Children Standards (NAEYC)  in Standard #1: Promoting Child Development and Learning, Standard # 2: Building Family and Community Relationships, Standard #3:  Observing, Documenting, and Assessing to Support Young Children and Families, 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 12: Completion of supervised experiences
  • Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) Licensure standards
    • Professional Studies requirements Competency 6: Supervised classroom experience


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. 

The following objectives address IDEC competencies 5: Clinical Experiences and 6: Professionalism in addition to the specific competencies listed for each objective.


Upon successful completion of EDSP 440, students will …


1. Use understanding of child development models and theories to guide learning experiences for young children and their families (IDEC 1; IDEC 2.4)

2. Understand and manages medical and health care conditions of young children (IDEC 1.2)

3. Create and maintain positive family and community relationships (IDEC 2.1)

4. Enhance learning and development of young children through appropriate assessment (IDEC 3)

5. Establish positive learning environments for young children and their families (IDEC 4.1)

6. Guide young children’s social interactions and foster self-regulation (IDEC 4.4)

7. Apply research based practices and differentiated instruction to enhance children’s learning (IDEC 4.6)

8. Use technology to enhance learning (IDEC 6.8)

9. Demonstrate appropriate practice for young children and their families from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds (IDEC 2.2)

10. Integrate IFSP/IEP objectives, therapies, etc. into natural learning opportunities (IDEC 4.6)

11. Assist families to identify priorities and goals for IFSP/IEP development and family resources, and assist in providing appropriate community referrals for services (IDEC 2.3, IDEC 2.4)

12. Practice professionalism though advocacy for children and families, program evaluation, ethical behavior, and deliver services within due process safeguards (IDEC 6.2, IDEC 6.3, IDEC 6.5, IDEC 6.6)

13. Engage in collaborative processes with families and other professionals to enhance learning for young children (IDEC 6.4)

14. Participate in supervised experiences working in a variety of settings providing educational services to young children and their families, and analyze these experiences (IDEC 5.1)


Assessment Measures

· Feedback, observations and evaluations from cooperating professionals and university supervisors
· Student self analysis
· Log of student teaching placement activities
· Written assignments applying best practices to instruction with children and families
· Attendance in placement and weekly seminar
· Key NCATE Performance Assessment: “IDEC Teaching Intern Evaluation”
· Key NCATE Performance Assessment: “Professional Characteristics and Dispositions”
· Key NCATE Performance Assessment: “Language Sample Assessment”

Other Course Information

The IDEC Internships Handbook provides detailed information on policies, procedures, responsibilities, and expectations for performance.  This course is graded A-F.

Review and Approval

Revised May, 2009