Course Descriptions

Special Education


MSE 5001
Professional Portfolio
0 credits

Students in the MSE program who started taking MSE classes in Fall 2011 or later: After the completion of BOTH MSE 7401 (Curriculum in Special Education) and MSE 7990 (Practicum) or MSE 7991 (Practicum One), you are required to schedule a conference with your program chair/advisor. During this conference, subjects to be discussed include; Discussion of the student’s autobiography (bring a written copy to meeting); A current copy of your resume (bring a copy to meeting); Interview questions (in written form); A written copy of the student’s philosophy of education (bring to meeting to be discussed); Student’s experiences from practicum, the various workplace options in the field of education along with the challenges of these various options; Your tentative schedule of courses prepared during your initial planning conference; Elements as indicated on the rubric can be found on TaskStream. This course is non-credit and is graded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory

Prerequisite(s): MSE 7401, MSE 7990, and MSE 7991


MSE 7400
The Gifted and Talented Child
3 credits

In this course, students examine the various theories of intelligence in relation to talented students in K-8 classrooms. Emphasis is on the following: service delivery models, student selection/special populations, curriculum development, program implementation, meeting the social and emotional needs of talented students, program evaluation, and creativity and talent development.


MSE 7401
Curriculum in Elementary Special Education
3 credits

A framework for understanding evidence-based instructional strategies to individualize instruction for teaching students with exceptional learning needs is provided. The course has particular emphasis on portfolio assessment and learning styles. Students examine curriculum models and teaching techniques. The modifying of the learning environment for students with exceptionalities is a major focus of this course (CEC Standard Four – Instructional Strategies).


MSE 7402
Applied Behavior Analysis
3 credits

Understanding, interpretation, and use of behavioral programming in classroom management for special education are the focus of this course. An awareness of the role of behavior modification and reinforcement principles, cognitive and humanistic theories, in concert with the affective domain and self-esteem strategies are stressed. Emphasis is on the teacher’s need to achieve maximum effectiveness in predicting and controlling behavior, while creating a learning environment that fosters active engagement for students with exceptional learning needs. This learning environment will encourage independence, self-motivation, self-direction, personal empowerment, and self-advocacy through the use of direct motivational and instructional strategies. The skills necessary to effectively manage the behavior of the children entrusted to their care, while providing guidance and direction to other individuals will also be addressed (CEC Standard Five – Learning Environment and Social Interaction).


MSE 7403
Diagnosis/Assessment/IEP Development for Exceptionalities
3 credits

Informal and formal assessments used in identifying exceptionalities are analyzed in detail. An emphasis is placed on the selection, administration, and interpretation of test results along with understanding the legal policies and ethical principles of measurement and assessment. Measurement theory and practices for addressing issues of validity, reliability, norms, and bias are also discussed. Concepts related to the use and limitations of various types of assessments are examined. The implementation of correction techniques for assessed weaknesses is explored. The formally evaluated strengths and weaknesses are developed into an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Standardized and informal test results are evaluated and analyzed in relation to student achievement, curriculum development, and instructional improvement, plus gain an understanding the legal policies and ethical principles of measurement and assessment (CEC Standard Eight – Assessment).


MSE 7404
Assistive Technology (MH, SED, LD)
3 credits

This course is designed to help professionals in schools understand assistive technology for students with disabilities. The main focus of the course is on students with mild mental handicaps, learning disabilities, or emotional disturbances. The meaning of assistive technology and methods of assessing students to match them with appropriate assistive technology are emphasized. Specific instruction in assistive devices will train the student in this relatively new area of special education.


MSE 7409
Methods of Instruction in Academic Standards and Functional Skills
3 credits

This course provides candidates with knowledge and skills related to a variety of evidence-based instructional practices that can enhance the academic learning and everyday functioning of students with severe intellectual disabilities or ASD. The course will cover techniques that are useful for group as well as individualized instruction, and will include practices appropriate for special as well as inclusive environments. The course will also address such topics as: how to select and use developmentally-appropriate technology; team planning; assessment; finding and managing resources; and collaboration with all stakeholders (including families, regular education teachers, school leaders/supervisors, paraprofessionals, and specialists).


MSE 7501
Introduction to Autism & Severe Disabilities
3 credits

This course provides an introduction to issues related to the identification and assessment of students with autism spectrum disorder or severe disabilities. The concepts of inclusion and non-categorical educational identification and teaching are emphasized. It also presents identification instruments, assessment systems and their relation to theoretical models about these disabilities, reviews the relationship between assessment and educational planning. A clinical component of observation and analysis of severe disabilities is included.


MSE 7502
Educating Preschoolers with Special Needs
3 credits

The field of early childhood education is growing and changing. For children who are exceptional, this is a significant time for learning. This class will provide the student with information about preschoolers who have a variety of disabilities with strategies to plan for these children as they are included in the regular classroom. The class will investigate methods of instruction utilizing a theme approach to learning and developmentally appropriate practice. This class will also provide information about the law, inclusion, assessment, theories, individual planning, partnering with parents, and specific learning disabilities.


MSE 7506
Functional Comm Indv with Autisim&Sever Disability
3 credits

In this course students will learn identification methods and teaching strategies for students with Autism and severe disabilities. The concepts of behavioral principles, curriculum development, teaching alternative skills, and use of functional communication are addressed. A clinical component of observation and analysis of Autism and severe disabilities is included. Also, students are expected to develop an instructional lesson to promote a functional skill and to expand student learning and use of functional skills across environments.


MSE 7507
Competency-based Practicum in Behaviorally-Based Teaching Techniques
3 credits

This course will provide the knowledge and skills necessary for teachers to implement developmentally and situationally appropriate, evidence-based interventions to children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders in a variety of educational settings. Students in the course will be expected to demonstrate satisfactory levels of proficiency in selecting, adapting, applying, and assessing the effectiveness of interventions such as (but not necessarily limited to): antecedent package, behavioral package, comprehensive behavioral treatment for young children, joint attention intervention, modeling, naturalistic teaching strategies, peer training package, pivotal response treatment, schedules, self-management, and story-based intervention. In addition to regularly scheduled class/seminar time, this course requires fifty (50) hours of supervised fieldwork in an approved setting

Prerequisite(s): MSE 7402, MSE 7501, MSE 7409, and MSE 7506.


MSE 7990
Practicum in Special Education
1 credits

MSE 7990 is a one-credit, supervised, structured, field-based, exploratory program that requires at least thirty-five (35) hours in an approved educational learning environment for individuals with exceptional learning needs (ELN). Fieldwork is supported by twenty-one (21) hours of Practicum seminar sessions. Seminars are held weekly or monthly by faculty of the College of Education. MSE 7990 Practicum, covers planning based on student’s classroom observations, assessment information, actual delivery of instruction, and reflective practices (including using learner data or performance to improve instruction). Practicum is usually a candidate’s initial experience observing, working with, and teaching a lesson to students with exceptional learning needs. The “capstone” experience for Practicum is teaching a lesson in a learning environment for individuals with exceptional learning needs. During the lesson delivery, emphasis is placed on the use of appropriate and specialized assistive technology to support instructional planning and individualization of instruction. A written synopsis of the observation hours will focus on development and characteristics of learners, individual learning differences, and learning environments and social interactions. Practicum is intended to help teacher preparation candidates in the MSE program analyze and reflect on learning, teaching, and the school environment in relation to both the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) Professional Standards and the Delaware Professional Teaching Standards (DPTS). Practicum’s activities begin the process of helping teacher preparation candidates understand and achieve College of Education Program Competencies. Practicum activities and expectations reflect the College of Education Conceptual Framework and are standards-driven. This standards-based teacher preparation curriculum is linked directly to Delaware’s Professional Teaching Standards (DPTS), the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) Professional Standards, and the four Domains of Professional Practice. During MSE 7990 – Practicum, candidates are required to complete one (01) required collaboration activity and one (01) suggested collaboration activities (CEC Standard Four – Instructional Strategies and CEC Standard Five – Learning Environment and Social Interaction).

Prerequisite(s): MSE 7401, valid TB clearance


MSE 7991
Practicum I in Special Education
1 credits

MSE 7991 Practicum I in Special Education is a one-credit, supervised field-based, exploratory program that requires thirty-five (35) clock hours in an approved educational learning environment for individuals with high-incidence (learning disabilities, communication disorders, emotional disturbance, etc.,) special education needs. Field work is supported by twenty-one (21) clock hours of Practicum seminar sessions. For MSE 7991, candidates will provide a written synopsis of the observation hours focusing on the development and characteristics of learners, individual learning differences, and dispositions expected of professionals within the education field, and learning environments and social interaction. Prerequisites: MSE 7401, PRAXIS I, CPR, valid TB clearance.


MSE 7992
Practicum II in Special Education
1 credits

MSE 7992 Practicum II in Special Education is a one-credit, supervised field-based, exploratory program that requires thirty-five (35) clock hours in an approved educational learning environment for individuals with low-incidence (ASD, etc.,) special education needs. Field work is supported by twenty-one (21) clock hours of Practicum seminar sessions. For MSE 7992, candidates will learn to explore decision-making processes through the application of knowledge and skills gained in the prerequisite courses. Candidates are provided opportunities to reflect on their performance in teaching lessons to K-12 students with exceptional learning needs. Teaching two (02) lessons to students with exceptional learning needs will be the “capstone” experience in Practicum II. Prerequisites: MSE 7401, MSE 7403, MSE 7991, valid TB clearance.


MSE 7993
Practicum III in Special Education
1 credits

MSE 7993 Practicum III in Special Education is a one-credit, supervised field-based, exploratory program that requires (35) clock hours in an approved educational learning environment for individuals with candidate’s choice of low-incidence or high-incidence special education needs. Field work is supported by twenty-one (21) clock hours of Practicum seminar sessions. For MSE 7993, candidates gain experience in planning and teaching lessons utilizing adaptive or assistive technology devices to enhance learning for individuals with exceptional learning needs. Candidates learn to explore instructional decision-making through the application of knowledge and skills gained in the prerequisite courses. Teaching two (02) lessons to students with exceptional learning needs will be the “capstone” experience in Practicum III. Prerequisites: MSE 7401, MSE 7403, MSE 8101, MSE 7991, MSE 7992, valid TB clearance.


MSE 8101
Severe Disabilities
3 credits

Students learn identification methods and teaching strategies for students with severe and multiple disabilities, including: autism, traumatic brain injury, deafness, blindness, orthopedic and other health impairments, and multiple handicaps. In this course, students will examine the similarities and differences in human development and the characteristics of individuals with low-occurrence exceptional learning needs and their impact on human development. The use of this knowledge to respond to the varying abilities and behaviors of individuals with exceptional learning needs is part of the clinical component. The concepts of inclusion and non-categorical educational identification and teaching are emphasized. A clinical component of observation and analysis of severe disabilities is included (CEC Standard Two – Development and Characteristics of Learners).


MSE 8102
Legislation and Implementation of Policy and Procedure
3 credits

Relevant laws and policies at federal and state levels are reviewed. Emphasis is on the implementation of mandates, policies, and procedures. The course discussion will focus on diverse and historical points of view, and human issues that have historically and continue to influence the field of special education and the education and treatment of individuals with exceptional learning needs. Understanding the interpretation of psychological and other special reports, the preparation of the special education teacher for multidisciplinary team meetings (MDT’s) and meeting with parents and other professionals to develop the Individualized Education Program (IEP) will be discussed (CEC Standard One – Foundations).

Prerequisite(s): MSE 7403


MSE 8103
Supervision and Evaluation of Special Education Programs
3 credits

Students study best practices as it relates to program development, administration, supervision, attention to legal matters, ethical considerations, and evaluation. Administration of special education programs and how they interface with state, district, and school administration policies and procedures is a focus. Students are required to develop a written plan for a research-based special education program that includes personnel, methods, materials, staff development, issues related to the diversity of individuals with exceptional learning needs, relationships to other professionals, parent training, public relations, and budget (CEC Standard Nine – Professional and Ethical Practice).

Prerequisite(s): MSE 7401, 7402, 7403, 8101, and 8102


MSE 8802
Student Teaching in Special Education
9 credits

Students participate in a clinical immersion which includes EIGHTY (80) full days of Teacher Internship (Student Teaching) in a special education setting. A supervisor of teacher interns from Wilmington University and a mentor teacher in the school are identified to mentor and monitor each student teacher. Attention is given to placing students in schools/classrooms that reflect a special education setting and reflective of a diverse student population. A minimum of 15 clock hours of clinical sessions is scheduled with the Wilmington University supervisors to address professional issues related to the clinical seminar and to provide support and assistance with the completion of the required portfolio. During MSE 8802 Teacher Internship, candidates are required to complete three (03) required collaboration activities and four (04) suggested collaboration activities. These collaborative activities include; collaboration with families, other educators, related service providers, and personnel from community agencies that are culturally responsive, serving as a resource for colleagues, facilitating successful transitions for individuals with exceptional learning needs and additional collaborative activities (CEC Standard Ten – Collaboration). Prerequisites: MSE 7401, MSE 7402, MSE 7403, MSE 7990, MSE 8101, MSE 8102, MSE 8102, MRD 7801, MRD 7901 and a GPA of 3.0. Students must pass (using Delaware minimum score requirements) all sections of the PRAXIS I: Reading, Writing, and Mathematics (or relevant exemption test) and the appropriate PRAXIS II Content Test (0354); and an approved application from the Office of Clinical Studies, and completion of all courses. Applications must be submitted by October 1st for spring placements or March 1st for fall placements. Students should designate Wilmington University as a score recipient at the time the tests are taken, and also provide a paper copy of the PRAXIS ETS score reports that include all scores and subscores. COMPLETE score reports must be received in the College of Education’s main office (Peoples Building, New Castle). A criminal background check and Child Protection Registry check are required.