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EDUC-200 Introduction to Special Education

This course is designed to provide an understanding of the needs of all types of exceptional children. Students will be able to identify symptoms and causes of most disabilities including behavioral, health, learning and physical disabilities and ways in which teachers can individualize instruction for exceptional students. Students will review and understand both federal and state regulations governing special education services. This course meets the Maryland State Department of Education Inclusion of Special Needs Student Populations requirement for an initial certificate in Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education and Secondary Education. This course also meets the MSDE Historical, Philosophical, and Legal Foundations of Special Education requirement for an initial certificate in Generic Special Education Infant/Primary, Generic Special Education Elementary/Middle, and Generic Special Education Secondary/Adult. A 15-hour Field Experience outside of class time is required. Students are placed in a Howard County Public School or may use a K-12 school where they are employed. Prerequisite: Eligible to enroll in ENGL-121. (3 hours weekly)

PrerequisitesEligible to enroll in ENGL-101 (3 hours weekly.)
InstructorErin Waltman

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Relate the history of special education to current practice.
  2. Describe the litigation and legislation that have influenced the education of children with disabilities.
  3. Discuss current trends in special education.
  4. Identify the roles of various professionals in the provision of special education.
  5. Describe the process for determining student eligibility for special education services.
  6. Define terminology related to major disabilities.
  7. Distinguish among major disabilities using criteria of diagnostic characteristics, causes and incidence.
  8. Describe selected educational interventions used in special education.
  9. Discuss cultural issues in the provision of special education services to students from cultural minorities.
  10. Analyze attitudes toward individuals with disabilities in school and community settings.
  11. Examine issues of socialization and family adjustment as they relate to young children with disabilities.

Major Course Topics

I.     Understanding exceptionality
II.    Education for all
III.   Inclusion and collaboration in the early childhood and elementary school years
IV.    Transition and adult life
V.     Multicultural and diversity issues
VI.    Exceptionality and the family
VII.   Learning disabilities
VIII.  Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder
IX.     Emotional/behavioral disorders
X.      Intellectual disabilities
XI.     Communication Disorders
XII.    Severe and Multiple Disabilities
XIII.   Autism Spectrum Disorders
XIV.   Traumatic and acquired brain injury
XV.     Hearing Loss
XVI.    Vision Loss
XVII.   Physical disabilities
XVIII.  Health disorders
XIX.    Gifted, creative and talented

Course Requirements

Grading/Exams: Grading procedures will be determined by the individual faculty member but may include the following:

  • Tests
  • Special project
  • Observation journal
  • Weekly Discussions

Other Course Information

Meets Maryland State Department of Education requirements for recertification coursework.
This course is required for the Early Childhood Development AAS Degree.
This course is an Arts and Sciences Elective.

Materials Required:

Textbook information:  To visit our bookstore's online sales site, please visit and follow the instructions for selecting textbooks.

Technical Requirements and Plug-Ins:

Review the Technical Requirements link above. The following plug-ins are required for this course:

  • Acrobat Viewer
  • Netscape
  • PowerPoint Viewer, if you don’t have the full version of Microsoft PowerPoint
  • QuickTime
  • Word Viewer, if you don’t have the full version of Microsoft Word


For purposes of verification and assessing learning outcomes, this course has a proctored mid term and final exams at the HCC Testing Center for students in the local region or at a regional institution for remote students. The exam will have a flexible window of time during which it needs to be taken rather than a single date and time.

If you have any questions or comments about this course, please send a message to Distance Learning,

Student Profile - Maribel