Foundations of Exceptionality – EDSP 521

CG • Section 8WK • 07/01/2018 to 12/31/2199 • Modified 03/21/2024

Course Description

A comprehensive course addressing the characteristics of children and youth with disabilities and topics related to models of service delivery, documentation procedures, and legal/ethical issues.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


To be an effective educator and advocate for children with exceptionalities, it is imperative for the special educator to have foundational knowledge of the characteristics of students with disabilities, as well as an understanding of the historical, ethical, and legal requirements and expectations associated with the identification, education, and evaluation of students with disabilities.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations/notes

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the candidate will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Discussions (2)

Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the candidate is required to create a thread in response to the provided prompt. Each thread must be at least 400 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. The thread must cite at least 1 source in current APA format. In addition to the thread, the candidate is required to reply to 2 classmate’s threads. The replies must be at least 150 words and must cite at least 1 source in current APA format. The course textbooks, the Bible, and scholarly journal articles may be used as sources. (CLO: A, D)

Exceptionality Chart Assignment

The candidate will create an exceptionality chart that covers the following: exceptionality and definition (all IDEA, 2014 categories), criteria for services, characteristics, and general teaching methods/instructional strategies/technology. The candidate is encouraged to begin work on this chart at the beginning of the course and throughout the time leading up to the due date. (CLO: C, D)

Three federal laws provide the foundation of special education services for students with disabilities: Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA), Section 504, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In addition to these federal laws, landmark court cases continue to improve upon the rules and regulations governing special education. This two-part assignment will provide the candidate with the opportunity to examine the laws and court cases that have shaped special education. In part 1 - The candidate will complete a grid activity where the main elements of three major laws are compared. In part 2 - The candidate will analyze landmark, special education court cases by stating the facts of the case, the rulings of the case, and the implications for special education in a minimum of 450 words. (CLO: B, E)

IEP Project: IEP Goals Assignment

After reviewing the assigned study resources, the Claxton IEP text, and course presentations, the candidate will use the provided Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP) to write three standards-based IEP goals specific to Reading and Decoding (SOLs 2.5–2.10). (CLO: B, D)

Interview Assignment

Using the questionnaire provided on the assignment template, the candidate will interview an adult family member of an individual with exceptionalities to inquire about his/her experiences. The candidate is responsible for locating this person and must not contact the School of Education Field Office. Then, the candidate will summarize three research-based, direct, explicit teaching strategies learned in this course that could be used to benefit the interviewee's child (500 words). Finally, the candidate will summarize the significance of the knowledge gained from this interview as a teacher for families of children with disabilities (300 words). (CLO: A, C, D, E)

IEP Project: Final IEP Assignment

An IEP will be completed using a provided Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP). While the length of a completed IEP will vary, the candidate must complete all parts of the provided template form, which includes three written, standards-based goals, a list of five accommodations/modifications appropriate to the student in the provided scenario, and a rationale for the placement decision. (CLO: B, C, D)

Pre-edTPA Practice Task 2 Assignment

The candidate will complete the Pre-edTPA Practice Task 2 Assignment. As part of the licensure process the candidate will be required to log into LiveText and complete Practice Task 2 for the candidate’s particular licensure area. The candidate will review a video submission based on the candidate’s level and content area and then complete and upload the required template. The commentary should be at least four single-spaced pages including prompts, and must not exceed six pages. [SPE commentary should be 5-8 pages]. (CLO: D) 

Quizzes (7)

Throughout the course, the candidate will complete quizzes that correspond with the Learn materials. All quizzes are open-book/open-notes and contain 20 multiple-choice questions. The candidate will have 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete each quiz. (CLO: B, C, D)