Special Education 672

EDSP 672: Characteristics of Learners with Disabilities who Access the General Education Curriculum, K-12

Prerequisites: EDSP 361 or EDSP 651

Credit Hours: (3)

This course provides educators an understanding of 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, including students with specific learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities, emotional and behavioral disabilities, other health impairments, traumatic brain injury, developmental delay, autism, multiple disabilities and orthopedic impairments.  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 fulfilled contributing members of their communities.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

The course allows educators to understand how exceptional conditions can interact with the domains of human development and 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, and critical thinking and the impact of cognitive characteristics of learning; language development and related skills; social development; emotional and behavioral regulation; and medical aspects, with an emphasis on how students may differ in these domains, which are impacted by the nature and severity of the disability as well as by factors related to students' age/developmental level, as well as to students' cultural/ethnic and socioeconomic background.

  • Physical, social, psychological, behavioral, academic, and medical characteristics impact student learning.
  • Continuum of placement options and services including model programs for students with disabilities.
  • Characteristics and effects of the cultural and environmental milieu of the child with disabilities.
  • The impact of disabilities on reading, auditory skills, academic skills, critical thinking, and social skills.
  • Participation in the activities of professional organizations relevant to individuals with disabilities.


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

Lecture, discussion, reports, analysis of case studies, analysis of videos, student group presentations, simulations/role playing in class, writing assignments, written examinations, and applied technology assignments.


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 various disabilities (CC2K2)(VC2)
  2. 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)(VC2b)
  3. Discuss variation in beliefs, traditions, and values across and within cultures and how these cultural perspectives influence the relationships among families, schools, and communities as related to instruction for students with disabilities. (CC2K3)(CC3K4)(VCb1)
  4. Describe the differing ways of learning of individuals with disabilities including these from culturally diverse backgrounds and strategies addressing these differences.  (CC2K5)(VCb1)
  5. 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)
  6.  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)(VCb1)
  7. Discuss the impact of disabilities on auditory and information processing skills. (GC3K1)(VCb1)(VCb2)
  8. Describe the psychological and social-emotional characteristics of individuals with disabilities (GC2K4)(VCb1)
  9. Share information regarding the etiology and diagnosis related to various theoretical approaches (GC2K1)(VCb1)
  10. Describe the impact of learners' academic and social abilities, attitudes, interests, and values on instruction and career development. (CC3K2)(VCb3)
  11.  Explain the impact of disabilities on reading, auditory skills, academic skills, critical thinking, and social skills. (VCb2)
  12. Relate levels of support to the needs of the individuals (GC3S1)(VCb2)
  13. Use appropriate adaptations and technology for all individuals with disabilities (GC4S7)  


Assessment Measures

  1. Written exams
  2. Written papers
  3. Case study analysis
  4. Reflection


Other Course Information



Review and Approval

11/6/2002    New Course        Alice Anderson

10/1/2008    Revised            Kenna M. Colley, Brenda-Jean Tyler, Debora Bays