NDSU Distance & Continuing Education (DCE)

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Course Descriptions

Understanding Special Learning Populations

EDUC 600

As educators, we all face situations where we accommodate students with special needs in our classrooms. In such situations, how can we modulate our teaching to ensure that we reach each and every child? This integrated course, Understanding Special Learning Populations is designed to help educators encourage and maximize each child’s potential.

Terms like Autism, ADHD, learning disability and gifted learners are being constantly used. What do they mean? What makes these children unique? And most importantly, how as an educator can you enhance these students’ learning ability? These are questions that are answered in this course.

The integrated course has three sections, each one dedicated to a particular special population: SECTION A, Introduction to Autism, SECTION B, Understanding ADHD and SECTION C, Differentiation for Gifted Learners in the Classroom. The course presents various strategies, adaptations and modifications to the environment and the mode of instruction that help educators accommodate and teach students with these conditions. Along with enhancing an educator’s skills, the course is rich and filled with ideas and suggestions that promote confidence in handling children of differing abilities.

Objectives & Outcomes:

As a result of successful participation in SECTION A, students should be able to:

  • Recognize the symptoms of autism.
  • Understand the range of conditions similar to autism.
  • Correlate the deficits in autism with the characteristics of the brain in autism.
  • Gain knowledge about the management of autism.
  • Understand the Theory of Mind and its relation to development of thinking in autism.
  • Identify the stage of thinking a student with autism is in, and communicate with them accordingly.
  • Understand characteristics of language and communication in autism.
  • Communicate effectively with, and teach a student with autism.
  • Facilitate social interaction in the classroom, for a student with autism.
  • Understand the symptoms of autism, and strategies to accommodate students having the various symptoms.
  • Create an autism-friendly physical environment in the classroom.
  • Plan classroom schedules for a class which has a student with autism.
  • Manage behavior issues regarding a student with autism who may present in the classroom.
  • Modify teaching materials and strategies to better reach a student with autism.
  • Work together with parents and the larger team in accommodating a student with autism.

As a result of successful participation in SECTION B, students should be able to:

  • Understand characteristics of gifted learners.
  • Identify gifted learners in the classroom.
  • Recognize needs of gifted learners.
  • Support gifted learners to help them achieve overall development.
  • Differentiate curriculum to suit the needs of gifted learners.
  • Compact curriculum for gifted learners.
  • Understand and identify twice-exceptional students.
  • Support twice-exceptional students.
  • Assess mastery of content.
  • Understand and implement tiered instruction.

As a result of successful participation in SECTION C, students should be able to:

  • Understand and identify symptoms of ADHD.
  • Understand prognosis, treatment and causes of ADHD.
  • Facilitate concentration and focus while teaching students with ADHD.
  • Prevent hyperactivity and impulsivity related issues in the classroom through organization and scheduling.
  • Enable students with ADHD to learn effectively by teaching them organizational strategies.
  • Motivate students with ADHD.
  • Facilitate social interaction in students with ADHD.
  • Create a classroom physical environment that facilitates focus in students with ADHD.
  • Create a classroom schedule for students with ADHD.
  • Modify assessment to accommodate a student with ADHD.