Learning Disabilities Certification

The Learning Disabilities certification will provide you with advanced training in assessment, instruction, and effective interventions for engaging with students with learning disabilities. Our program is aligned with NH State Standards for the education of students with learning disabilities and the national Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) standards. Taught by faculty who are specialists and leaders in the field, the program aims to meet the critical need for qualified personnel throughout the state and region.

Designed with maximum flexibility to meet the needs of busy working professionals, courses are offered online, evenings, and in weekend intensive formats in both Plymouth and Concord. Internships can be designed around your current experiences in your teaching position.

Teachers who are already certified in general special education may want to add the learning disabilities certification only or in conjunction with the MEd in Special Education. Candidates are required to hold or be in the process of completing a General Special Education Certification as well as coursework in special education law.

Requirements for certification may change, subject to changes made by the New Hampshire Department of Education (NHDOE). Teacher candidates can find the latest NHDOE standards at education.nh.gov/index.htm.

Certification-only Option: Students would complete 24 credits as listed below, excluding the Master’s Core Component.

Curriculum Requirements

  • Master’s Core Component – 9 credits
  • 3
    Recognizing that social behavior occurs within an intercultural context, that include ethical components, students will develop the basic knowledge and foundations necessary to understand and influence social behavior in a diverse society. Texts, readings, and learning modules have been chosen and/or designed to facilitate the student?s ability to understand the nature of social behavior cross culturally.
  • 3
    Focuses on the ethics of special education laws, regulations and policies. Students will use case studies that pose ethical dilemmas in order to understand the complex issues underlying such issues as inclusion, labeling, IDEA, least restrictive environment (LSE) compliance, due process, parent involvement, awareness of ethical responsibilities, ethical decision making, confidentiality, record keeping, and informed consent. The spirit versus the letter and the morality of special education will also be explored. A special focus will be on transacting an ethic of care in school best practices that promote democratic decision making, advocacy, and the empowerment of parents.
  • 3
    Knowledge and understanding of the commonly accepted research designs. Study of research instruments and statistics used in educational research. Wide reading in various types of research design. Critical analysis of research design.
  • – OR –
  • 3
    A course for special education teaching practitioners in which a school-based problem is examined from the standpoint of how it can be best addressed given what is known about evidence-based practices in the field of special education. A blueprint for solving the problem is prepared including a statement and purpose for the action research (including essential definitions), what is known about the issue in the special education literature, the scope, assumptions and limitations of the project, and research questions and hypotheses. Course culmination will include collection of data, analysis of that data, conclusions and recommendations based on the impact on students with disabilities and student outcomes.
  • Learning Theory Component – 9 credits
  • 3
    This introductory course will cover the following areas: definition of LD, reading problems, language deficits both oral and written, mathematics underachievement, social skills deficits, attention and behavioral problems, academic achievement, and comorbidity with other disabilities, prevalence, environmental factors, standardized, criterion referenced, informal reading, curriculum-based measurement, and testing. Educational approaches such as explicit instruction, content enhancement, and placement alternatives will be explored. Current issues and future trends in the field of LD will be discussed.
  • 3
    An overview of current theories concerning the brain, development, and learning. Analysis of developmental concepts from birth through adolescence and adulthood. Discussion of language acquisition, thinking and learning styles, multiple intelligence, and creativity. Topics include teaching, learning, and assessment issues related to cultural diversity, technology, and learning differences.
  • – OR –
  • 3
    This course offers the most recent research findings related to the brain and learning and how they provide the basis for the neurodevelopmental approach to teaching. Participants will be introduced to a framework which includes eight broad neurdevelopmental categories, or constructs (e.g., attention, memory, language) that educators can use to observe, examine and describe student learning. These eight constructs (and their receptive sub-categories) also provide teachers, parents and students with a shared lens and language to better understand and discuss learning. In addition, through examination of a case study, observation of students with whom they work and self-examination of their own unique learning profile, participants will practice the skill of using the neurodevelopmental lens to observe for evidence of learning strengths and weaknesses and how to link them to academic performance. Since a major component of this course requires observation, participants must have access to a student/students on a regular basis. This course is appropriate for anyone who works with students (child-adult). The only pre-requisite is that you must be currently teaching or have permission of the instructor.
  • 3
    Practicum-based course introduces students to the value and practical application of incorporating the arts into educational, cultural, recreational, and human service settings. In addition to classroom lecture and discussion, a series of workshops with professional artists and teachers will allow students to observe a variety of teaching methods and philosophies. Basic skills and materials will be developed and discussed in creative drama, puppetry, music, theatre, poetry, art, and movement.
  • Learning Disabilities Component – 12 credits
  • 3
    This course provides an in-depth look of the use of technology with diverse learners. An overview of two federal laws (IDEA and NCLB) and the examination of the research of learning technologies will be presented. Students will be engaged in hands-on experience with desktop software, online resources and specialized software designed to support diverse learners. Opportunities will be provided for students to develop classroom activities and curriculum planning guidelines for integrating technology tools into the content areas to accommodate a range of student learning differences.
  • 3
    This course is designed to provide teachers with increased understanding of the needs of children who display maladaptive behaviors associated with conduct disorders in school settings. Students will investigate specific causes, diagnosis, assessment methods, interventions, etiology, co-morbidity, subtypes, pharmacotherapy, the role of the classroom teacher, and possible resources.
  • – OR –
  • 3
    This course addresses targeted methods designed to enhance the emotional well being and reduce the problem behavior of students who are at risk for school failure but who do not necessarily qualify for special education services. Using the positive behavioral interventions and support approach to systems change, students will learn how to create and nurture a problem solving team of professionals who are responsible for developing evidence based strategies for improving the behavior and academics of students for whom universal, school wide approaches have been insufficient. Topics include completing functional behavioral assessments of targeted students, creating behavior intervention plans based on functional behavioral assessment, designing and implementing targeted group interventions aimed at reducing problem behavior and increasing prosocial behavior and academic achievement of targeted students, and evaluating the targeted system data-based decision making for improving practice.
  • 3
    This course is designed to provide the student with advanced assessment skills related to special education identification for students with learning disabilities in reading, writing, and math. Students will develop proficiency in the administration, scoring, and interpretive analysis of various assessment instruments, as well as reporting findings using effective written and oral communication skills. Participants are expected to have some prior knowledge of standardized assessment practices, learner differences, teaching methods and curriculum in general and special education, and basic statistical understanding. Characteristics of learning disabilities will be presented with corresponding assessment methods including norm-referenced, standardized assessments, responsive to intervention approach to identification (RTI), curriculum-based measurements (CBMs), and remedial intervention programs.Prerequisites: students must have certification in general special education, and a previous course in special education law.
  • 3
    This course will involve teacher candidates in an in-depth study of effective core content-related materials and instructional practices for students with learning disabilities. Teachers will examine student outcome data and student response to intervention to intensify effective instruction. Teacher candidates will also collaborate with general education colleagues in inclusive environments to provide research-based instruction, evaluate student outcomes, and make informed instructional decisions for students with language-related disabilities. Prerequisites: students must be certified in general special education and have a course in special education law.
  • Capstone Experience – 3 credits
  • 3
    A supervised field experience in one of several cooperating institutions and/or agencies. The purpose is to gain meaningful work experience through applying knowledge learned in previous coursework to the on-the-job situation. Commitment includes a negotiated number of hours per week, 150 hours for 3 credits, these hours to be divided in conjunction with supervisor and student. Supervision is done by the institution or agency concerned and by PSU faculty. Prerequisites: students must be certified in general special education, have a special education law course, and have completed all other requirements in the learning disabilities program.
  • Total for MEd in Special Education, Learning Disabilities K-12 Certification – 33 credits

Note: Candidates are required to hold or be in the process of completing a General Special Education certification as well as coursework in special education law.


 

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