The purpose of this course is to provide an introduction to the culture of disability across the lifespan. The impact of disabilities on an individual across the lifespan will be explored, and the unique culture that is created by having a disability will be addressed. The historical basis for the disability movement and special education will be addressed, including legislation and litigation that has had a significant impact on the field. Students also will learn about the characteristics of individuals with diverse abilities as well as current trends in educational services.

Course provides special educators and other professionals with skills and strategies to assume a leader/change agent role in their schools. Participants focus on effective leadership, collaborative practices, and innovative programs in special education that create unique learning environments, ultimately impacting all stakeholders (student with and without disabilities, teachers, families). Course readings, lectures, and activities address how leaders in the field affect change in special education through grant writing, professional development, and the implementation and evaluation of innovative programs and practices. Prerequisite: SPED 426 or SPED 538 or equivalent.
Planning field studies and thesis problems by graduate students; students present their studies at each of four stages: (1) the inception, delimitation, tentative design stage; (2) the proposed design stage; (3) the revised design stage; and (4) the final design stage. Students are expected to analyze all presentations critically. May be repeated up to 8 hours. Prerequisite: Admission to graduate studies in Special Education or consent of instructor.
Self-directive, independent study, that is, develops the individual\'s ability as an independent student and enables the student to pursue needed study in a field in which appropriate courses are not being offered during a given term. May be repeated with approval. Prerequisite: Approval of study outline by advisor and the department head prior to enrollment.