This course focuses on the origins, theoretical and philosophical foundations, and practical issues associated with education and intervention services for children birth through eight years of age. This unique group may have disabilities, or may be developmentally delayed, or at risk for problems in learning. Topics include issues related to public laws, effectiveness of early intervention, biological and environmental influences on development, definitions of "at-risk" and "disabled" populations and assessment. Students will gain knowledge in curriculum design and strategies for teaching young children with special needs in collaboration with their families. Students will gain practical experience via field assignments. They are expected to complete observations of young children with special needs in various settings, as well as implement an extensive case study.

An introduction to the field of special education, the etiology, societal attitudes, federal and state laws, and responsibility of educators will be explored. Emphasis will be on the exceptional child as a learner by developing an understanding of the handicapping conditions and applying modifications to educational practices and environments. Current programs and services for educating exceptional children in the State of New Jersey will be discussed.

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