Special Education

Special Education serves children and young adults with a variety of exceptionalities including learning disabilities, mild to moderate disabilities, behavioral disabilities, and cognitive disabilities. Students work as special educators in schools and program developers and directors in community-based systems.

A major of its own at BVU

Students who graduate with this major can pursue careers as:

  • Special education teachers
  • Community-based program directors
  • Program developers in school, community, and international systems

Above all, BVU:

  • Is the only university in Iowa providing a major in special education.
  • Has the highest amount of professional engagement and planned mentorship with school and community professionals.
  • Is the leading producer of special educators in Iowa.

We value the work it takes for our teacher candidates to be well-prepared for their field, thus we engage in actual practice, professional learning communities, literature, and even research in order to hone our skills at the state, national, and international level. BVU’s excellent partnerships with community schools allows BVU students gain tremendous experience through their interactions with their mentor teachers. While most of our classes require a 10-hour field experience, many spend much more time on location because of these great relationships.

Talk to Us

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Partner with exercise science students to host Unified Sports Day for special needs students & athletes

Team up with computer science majors to develop virtual reality learning activities

Use the SMARTBoard system to easily practice demonstrating new lessons

High Demand

BVU’s Path to Post-Grad Success

There continues to be a high demand for special educators in the U.S. as mandatory services are emerging worldwide. Meaning, all the more opportunities and settings for BVU to hook our students up with.

BVU students are prepared to serve children with emotional/behavioral, and/or cognitive disabilities within community and hospital-based day and residential programs supporting academic and lifelong skills.

Students driven to serve and make a difference for students and families on a more individualized level are often drawn to this field at BVU. Our students have a strong sense of social justice, policy, and an even stronger desire to have a positive impact on the world.

Internships

  • Daycare intervention and curriculum intern
  • Assessment and progress monitoring specialist and interventionist-
  • Student Teacher

Careers

  • Papillion-LaVista Community Schools, Special Educator and Student Advocate
  • Learning Resource Specialist
  • Autism and Developmental/Cognitive Disabilities Teacher


 

Graduate School

  • Drake University
  • University of Northern Iowa
  • University of Minnesota

Major in Exceptional Student Service and Instruction (ESSI/Special Education) (54 hours, with education core 73 credit hours)

The Education Core (18-19 credit hours)

The education core, which is required of all students seeking a teaching license, is the nucleus of the teacher education program and includes basic courses in education and psychology. Elementary education majors, students seeking secondary licensure, and Post Baccalaureate students are required to take all EDCO courses for a letter grade and to earn a minimum grade of “C-“ in each course.

  • EDCO 240 Human Development: School Age Children or EDCO 241 Human Development: Adolescents
  • EDCO 245 Learning and Motivation: School Age Children or EDCO 246 Learning and Motivation: Adolescents
  • EDCO 255 Professional Seminar I and Field Experience: Learning and Motivation
  • EDCO 280 History of American Education
  • EDCO 290/291 Professional Seminar II and Field Experience: Human Relations
  • EDCO 300 Differentiated Instruction for Exceptional Learners
  • EDCO 301 Introduction to Exceptional Learners
  • EDCO 303 Differentiated Instruction for Diverse Learners
  • EDCO 390 Instructional Technology and Innovative Teaching

Special Education Courses (40 credit hours)

  • ESSI 210 Special Education Law and Professional Practices
  • ESSI 220 Multidisciplinary Assessment and Evaluation
  • ESSI 230 Transitions and Self-Determination
  • ESSI 291 Professional Seminar II: Supervised Participation in Special Education
  • ESSI 303 Curriculum Development and Instruction
  • ESSI 304 Literacy Methods with Field Experience
  • ESSI 305 Mathematics Methods with Field Experience
  • ESSI 306 Methods for Teaching Students with Cognitive Disabilities
  • ESSI 307 Methods for Teaching Students with Behavioral Disabilities
  • ESSI 310 Behavior Interventions and Supports with Field Experience
  • TEAC 494 Professional Seminar III: Student Teaching - Elementary ESSI
  • TEAC 495 Professional Seminar III: Student Teaching - Secondary ESSI

Support Work (14 credit hours)

  • EDUC 317 Foundations of Literacy
  • EDUC 342 Methods of Written Communications
  • EDUC 371 Methods of Data-Driven Literacy Instruction
  • EDUC 393 Elementary Math Methods & Field Experience
  • EXSC 321 Adapted Physical Education

Areas of Specialization

In addition to this, students who complete the ESSI major may elect to complete an area of specialization listed below or complete a minor with teaching licensure in a content area. These are completed in an internship model with assigned academic and field work.

Autism Spectrum Disorders Specialization

  • ESSI 320 Characteristics of Learners with Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • ESSI 321 Assessments of Learners with Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • ESSI 322 Instructional Strategies for Learners with Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • ESSI 323 Transition and Self-Determination for Learners with Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • ESSI 324 Field Experience and Portfolio in Working with Learners with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

  • ESSI 330 Characteristics of Learners with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders
  • ESSI 331 Assessments of Learners with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders
  • ESSI 332 Instructional Strategies for Learners with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders
  • ESSI 333 Transition and Self-Determination for Learners with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders
  • ESSI 334 Field Experience and Portfolio in Working with Learners with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

Intellectual Disabilities

  • ESSI 340 Charasteristics of Learners with Intellectual Disabilities
  • ESSI 341 Assessments of Learners with Intellectual Disabilities
  • ESSI 342 Instructional Strategies for Learners with Intellectual Disabilities
  • ESSI 343 Transition and Self-Determination for Intellectual Disabilities
  • ESSI 344 Field Experience and Portfolio in Working with Learners with Intellectual Disabilities

Learning Disabilities

  • ESSI 350 Characteristics of Learners with Learning Disabilities
  • ESSI 351 Assessments of Learners with Learning Disabilities
  • ESSI 352 Instructional Strategies for Learners with Learning Disabilities
  • ESSI 353 Transition and Self-Determination for Learners with Learning Disabilities
  • ESSI 354 Field Experience and Portfolio in Working with Learners with Learning Disabilities

Multiple Disabilities

  • ESSI 360 Characteristics of Learners with Multiple Disabilities
  • ESSI 361 Characteristics of Learners with Multiple Disabilities
  • ESSI 362 Instructional Strategies for Learners with Multiple Disabilities
  • ESSI 363 Transition and Self-Determination for Learners with Multiple Disabilities
  • ESSI 364 Field Experience and Portfolio in Working with Learners with Multiple Disabilities

Physical Disabilities

  • ESSI 370 Characteristics of Learners with Physical Disabilities
  • ESSI 371 Assessments of Learners with Physical Disabilities
  • ESSI 372 Instructional Strategies for Learners with Physical Disabilities
  • ESSI 373 Transition and Self-Determination for Learners with Physical Disabilities
  • ESSI 374 Transition and Self-Determination for Learners with Physical Disabilities

Faculty

Dr.   Robbie  Ludy

Robbie Ludy

Professor of Special Education

Meet the professor
Dr.   Karin  Strohmyer

Karin Strohmyer

Assistant Professor of Special Education

Meet the professor
Mrs.   Erica  Boettcher

Erica Boettcher

Instructor of Special Education

Meet the professor

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