CELC Home / Academics / Early Childhood Special Education
The Early Childhood Special Education program prepares educators to provide instruction for children with disabilities.
Special Education Licensure:
Early Childhood Special Education


Educators specializing in Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) learn to assess and provide instruction for children ages birth through six with motor, sensory, health, communication, social-emotional or cognitive disabilities. We emphasize working as collaborative team members with families and other professionals so that children with disabilities can thrive in their natural environments.

As you complete your program in Special Education and Gifted Education at the University of St. Thomas you will:

  • Gain the knowledge and skills to have a positive impact on students in the K-12 classroom
  • Become part of a supportive network of fellow students, alumni and faculty that will inspire and sustain you throughout your career
  • Learn from expert faculty currently active in K-12 classrooms who are here to help you shape your path


What you can earn

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  • License
  • Master of Arts (M.A.)
  • Undergraduate Exceptionalities Minor

 

Where you'll learn

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  • On-campus (St. Thomas)
  • Off-site (locations below) 

 

When you can start

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  • Spring semester begins: February 2, 2015


Questions about this program

Ea Porter is an Administrative Assistant for the Teacher Education program in the College of Education, Leadership and Counseling at the University of St. Thomas.

Ea Porter

Enrollment Advisor

651-962-4657

celc@stthomas.edu


Program Details

For the License

Provides an overview of special education and the specific categories of exceptionality. Examines the history, theories, legal mandates, definitions and terminology related to special education. Identifies roles and responsibilities of general and special education professionals. Characteristics of individuals with exceptionalities are explored. These include but are not limited to: gifted and talented, learning disabilities, emotional and behavioral disorders, developmental disabilities, sensory disabilities, early childhood special education, autism spectrum disorders and speech and language disorders or differences.

Explores the idea of positive behavior support for promoting acceptable behavior in school and other settings where individuals learn. This course, grounded in research based interventions, is designed to assist all who work with students in special and regular education in developing skills to teach and support acceptable behavior that is demonstrated in home, school and community settings.

Provides an overview of special education and the specific categories of exceptionality. Examines the history, theories, legal mandates, definitions and terminology related to special education. Identifies roles and responsibilities of general and special education professionals. Characteristics of individuals with exceptionalities are explored. These include but are not limited to: gifted and talented, learning disabilities, emotional and behavioral disorders, developmental disabilities, sensory disabilities, early childhood special education, autism spectrum disorders and speech and language disorders or differences.

Provides a foundation for working with preschoolers and their families in early childhood and early childhood special education programs. Emphasis is placed on typical and atypical early-childhood development, developmentally appropriate practice, and developing curriculum that is functional, appropriate, adaptable and fun. Curriculum units will be created that enhance child development and are adapted for children with a variety of disabilities.

Provides a foundation for working with infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families in natural environments in early intervention programs (birth - 3). Emphasis is placed on early childhood atypical and typical development, family-centered services, activity-based intervention in natural environments, curriculum for birth-3 programs, planning and conducting family-centered home visits, community services, and service coordination, and developing Individualized Family Service Plans.

Examines and provides practice in the use of formal and informal assessment and evaluation procedures for young children with disabilities. Emphasis is placed on norm-referenced and criterion-referenced measures, observation formats, parent interviews and family assessment, ongoing evaluation, report writing, and developing IEPs and IFSPs. Students develop a comprehensive assessment portfolio of a young child.

Facilitates the development of effective teaching skills for professionals in Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE), birth-6. An emphasis is placed on using evaluation and assessment information to plan developmentally appropriate individualized programs in the least restrictive environment for children with a variety of disabling conditions. Emphasis is placed on activity and play-based intervention and special methods for use with children with motor, sensory, health, communication, social-emotional and/or cognitive disabilities.

Discusses normal gross motor, fine motor, oral motor and sensory development, followed by examination of the implications of the development of abnormal movement and sensory dysfunction. Current positioning and handling theories and techniques and feeding interventions are addressed. An overview of sensory defensiveness and optimal arousal states focuses on issues critical to successful learner performance. Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) content includes an examination of the principles and procedures involved in assessment as well as practical guidance on designing and implementing intervention strategies that meet AAC needs and improve the lives of individuals who have severe communication disorders.

A practicum in an educational or community-based setting with pre-schoolers, including children with disabilities. This experience requires planning and implementing curriculum for an early-childhood class with adaptations for children with disabilities; selecting appropriate individual objectives and embedding them in routines and curricular activities; and developing skills in assessment and evaluation. Includes documentation of practical experiences gleaned from the student’s licensure program.

A practicum in a family, hospital, educational and/or community-based setting with infants and toddlers who have disabilities and their families. This experience requires planning, assessing and providing early intervention services and developing skills in assessment and evaluation. Students are expected to demonstrate competence in partnering with families in home and/or educational settings. Includes documentation of practical experiences gleaned from the student’s licensure program.

Required coursework for working toward a first teaching license in Minnesota. These courses meet the Standards of Effective Practice and can be completed during your time at St. Thomas.

TEGR 510 Education's Place in Society and Field Experience I 3 Credits
TEGR 512 Human Relations and Multicultural Education               3 Credits
TEGR 530 Psychology of Teaching and Learning                          3 Credits
TEGR 532 Field Experience II: Learning and Teaching                   1 Credit
TEGR 550 Language Development and Literacy I                         3 Credits
     

TOTAL 32(57) Credits

For the Master of Arts (M.A.)

Provides an overview of special education and specific categories of exceptionality. Examines the theories, legal mandates, definitions and terminology related to special education. Characteristics of individuals with exceptionalities are explored. Emphasis is placed on understanding learning characteristics, abilities, and underlying needs within a particular disability, common characteristics across various disabilities, and effective interventions in both general education and special education that respond to diverse learners.

This course explores the idea of positive behavior support for promoting acceptable behavior in school and other settings where individuals learn. This course, grounded in research based interventions, is designed to assess all who work with students in special and regular education in developing skills to teach and support acceptable behavior that is demonstrated in home, school and community settings.

Developing an ethic of collaboration and the knowledge and skills needed to effectively collaborate with faculty, administrators, students, para-educators, families and community members. Students explore the fundamentals of collaboration; applications of collaboration related to consultation, team membership, co-teaching, partnership with families, developing interagency agreements and supervision of paraprofessionals; and pragmatic aspects of collaboration. Consideration of current practices in collaboration used in program planning and implementation for students receiving special education services is a focus.

Provides a foundation for working with preschoolers and their families in early childhood and early childhood special education programs. Emphasis is placed on typical and atypical early-childhood development, developmentally appropriate practice, and developing curriculum that is functional, appropriate, adaptable and fun. Curriculum units will be created that enhance child development and are adapted for children with a variety of disabilities.

Provides a foundation for working with infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families in natural environments in early intervention programs (birth - 3). Emphasis is placed on early childhood atypical and typical development, family-centered services, activity-based intervention in natural environments, curriculum for birth-3 programs, planning and conducting family-centered home visits, community services, and service coordination, and developing Individualized Family Service Plans.

Examines and provides practice in the use of formal and informal assessment and evaluation procedures for young children with disabilities. Emphasis is placed on norm-referenced and criterion-referenced measures, observation formats, parent interviews and family assessment, ongoing evaluation, report writing, and developing IEPs and IFSPs. Students develop a comprehensive assessment portfolio of a young child.

Facilitates the development of effective teaching skills for professionals in Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE), birth-6. An emphasis is placed on using evaluation and assessment information to plan developmentally appropriate individualized programs in the least restrictive environment for children with a variety of disabling conditions. Emphasis is placed on activity and play-based intervention and special methods for use with children with motor, sensory, health, communication, social-emotional and/or cognitive disabilities.

Discusses normal gross motor, fine motor, oral motor and sensory development, followed by examination of the implications of the development of abnormal movement and sensory dysfunction. Current positioning and handling theories and techniques and feeding interventions are addressed. An overview of sensory defensiveness and optimal arousal states focuses on issues critical to successful learner performance. Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) content includes an examination of the principles and procedures involved in assessment as well as practical guidance on designing and implementing intervention strategies that meet AAC needs and improve the lives of individuals who have severe communication disorders.

A practicum in an educational or community-based setting with pre-schoolers, including children with disabilities. This experience requires planning and implementing curriculum for an early-childhood class with adaptations for children with disabilities; selecting appropriate individual objectives and embedding them in routines and curricular activities; and developing skills in assessment and evaluation. Includes documentation of practical experiences gleaned from the student’s licensure program.

A practicum in a family, hospital, educational and/or community-based setting with infants and toddlers who have disabilities and their families. This experience requires planning, assessing and providing early intervention services and developing skills in assessment and evaluation. Students are expected to demonstrate competence in partnering with families in home and/or educational settings. Includes documentation of practical experiences gleaned from the student’s licensure program.

Methods of descriptive and experimental research, basic statistical theory and application, orientation to library resources, development of significant research methodology.

Gives candidates for the master of arts degree the opportunity to integrate what has been learned in their program and demonstrate competency in independent research through a literature-review on the topic of their choice. The final project culminates in a formal review of the paper and an oral examination.

Required coursework for working toward a first teaching license in Minnesota. These courses meet the Standards of Effective Practice and can be completed during your time at St. Thomas.

TEGR 510 Education's Place in Society and Field Experience I 3 Credits
TEGR 512 Human Relations and Multicultural Education  3 Credits
TEGR 530 Psychology of Teaching and Learning 3 Credits
TEGR 532 Field Experience II: Learning and Teaching 1 Credit
TEGR 550 Language Development and Literacy I 3 Credits
     

TOTAL 30-36 (44-50) Credits

Minneapolis, MN (on-campus)

Degree: Certificate, License, and Master of Arts degree options
Time: Evening Courses
Start Date: Varies by term
Location: Opus Hall | Downtown UST Campus (map)

Students who are interested in taking all of their courses at our on-campus location in Downtown Minneapolis are welcome to start in the Fall, Spring or Summer terms.

St. Paul, MN: Spring 2015

Degree: License or Masters (ABS, ASD, DD, EBD, ECSE & LD)
Time: Thursdays 5:15 - 9:15 p.m.; two Saturdays per course: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Start Date: March 5, 2015
Location: University of St. Thomas St. Paul Campus (map)

Starting Spring 2015! Application Deadline: February 13, 2015

Roseville, MN: Spring 2015

Degree: License or Master of Arts degree (ABS, ASD, DD, EBD, ECSE & LD)
Time: Thursdays 5:15 - 9:15 p.m.; two Saturdays per course: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Start Date: March 5, 2014
Location: Fairview Community Center (map)

Starting Spring 2015! Application Deadline: February 13, 2015

Terri Vandercook, Ph.D., is the Department Chair of the Special Education and Gifted Education programs at the University of St. Thomas.

Terri Vandercook, Ph.D.

Associate Professor | Department Chair Special Education and Gifted Education (651) 962-4389
MOH 441 | Opus Hall

Todd Busch, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Special Education and Gifted Education programs at the University of St. Thomas.

Todd Busch, Ph.D.

Associate Professor Special Education and Gifted Education (651) 962-4461
MOH 416 | Opus Hall

Shelley Neilsen Gatti, Ph.D. is an assistant professor in the Special Education and Gifted Education programs at the University of St. Thomas.

Shelley Neilsen Gatti, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor Special Education and Gifted Education (651) 962-4396
MOH 437 | Opus Hall

L. Lynn Stansberry Brusnahan, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Special Education and Gifted Education programs at the University of St. Thomas.

L. Lynn Stansberry Brusnahan, Ph.D.

Associate Professor Special Education and Gifted Education (651) 962-4397
MOH 439 | Opus Hall

 
 

Ongoing Professional Development

The Department of Special Education and Gifted Education offers a wide variety of professional development opportunities throughout the year. Whether networking with leaders in the field at the annual Education for Everyone Event series or simply catching up on the latest tools and techniques in gifted and talented education at the biennial Gifted Education Conference, the College of Education, Leadership & Counseling provides lifelong learning opportunities. Most events include a CEU component. In addition to annual events, the department offers specialized summer institutes in the area of Supervising Paraprofessionals, Autism Spectrum Disorders and Twice Exceptional Education.

 

Mentored Clinical Practice

The dedicated faculty in the Special Education and Gifted Education programs will work with you to ensure that your clinical practice experience (student teaching) will meet your needs and facilitate your growth, both personally and professionally. Throughout your time student teaching, regularly scheduled seminars with faculty and peers offer the opportunity to form a strong professional network as you prepare to enter the field and have a positive impact on K-12 students.

 

Community Partnerships

The College of Education, Leadership & Counseling takes pride in engaging in innovative partnerships with a variety of organizations. Students in the College of Education, Leadership & Counseling will find many opportunities for professional growth as a result of working with these organizations. Partnership examples include the Northwest Suburban Integration District, Center for Academics and Sports, FAIR School and the Collaborative Urban Educators program. 

 

The Value of a St. Thomas Degree

We offer our students much more than just a degree. We offer the chance to be a part of a personal and professional network like no other, which means your graduate education will enrich your life and career long into the future.

Calculating the cost of your degree can be challenging, as every institution approaches it a bit differently. At St. Thomas, we list our tuition cost as cost per credit:

  • Each course can be 1-3 semester credits, but the standard course is 3 credits.  
  • To view the total number of credits per program you can view the courses tab above.

It may be possible for you to receive some type of financial assistance. To learn more, please visit our Graduate Financial Aid page.




Cost

Education (M.A., Ed.S., Certificate, Licensure)

On-campus Tuition (per credit) $793.50
Off-site Program Tuition (per credit) $415
Books and materials
(estimate per course)
$150-250
One-time application fee $50

1 | Meet the requirements:

  • A bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • A cumulative minimum undergraduate G.P.A. of 3.0 (4.0 scale) or the successful completion of a graduate level program from another institution

If you do not meet the above requirement(s), you may be eligible for special admission, which requires:

  • A cumulative minimum undergraduate G.P.A. of 2.75 (4.0 scale)
  • The completion of a standardized test, such as the Miller Analogies Test (MAT), GRE, GMAT or LSAT
  • A possible interview with an admissions person/committee

2 | Submit the following application materials:

  • Application form and one-time $50 application fee
  • Two positive letters of reference from non-related individuals
  • Official transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate work (unless that work was completed at the University of St. Thomas)
  • Personal statement

3 | Submit the supplementary materials:

  • Initial Licensure:  MTLE Basic Skills required by the end of an initial teacher licensure candidate's first semester of coursework.
  • International Applicants:  (1) Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) required for any candidate whose primary language is not English. (2) Transcript Review: All international transcripts must be reviewed by an accredited evaluation service to determine U.S. equivalency of the degree awarded and the institution awarding the degree. Applications will not be reviewed for admissions until the official review is submitted.

Deadlines

Application Deadlines:

  • For Fall Term: June 1
  • For Spring Term: Rolling
  • For Summer Term: May 1

When you can start

  • Fall semester begins September 3, 2014

Looking for More?

Apply online

© University of St. Thomas · Minnesota
1000 LaSalle Avenue · Minneapolis, Minnesota 55403 · USA
1-651-962-4550 · education@stthomas.edu