D2: Foundations of Special Education: History and Systems of Services for

Individuals with Disabilities and their Families

Course number: EDSP 201

Instructor: Colby Kervick, Ed. D
499 Waterman Building

Credits: 3 graduate credits through University of Vermont

Prerequisites: Graduate student standing or Instructor Permission

Dates: May 19
-June 27th

Course Structure:

EDSP 201 is a hybrid course. This means that some of the course will be delivered
in a traditional face to face format and some will be delivered through online
learning. For this summer offering, there will be one face to face session, May 19

from 4-9:00pm in 427A Waterman. Attendance is required. The rest of the course
will be delivered in weekly online learning modules.

Because the course is bound within 6 weeks, students should plan to spend 10-12
hours per week engaging with the course content, completing readings and
assignments. Students must have access to high-speed Internet and be able to log
on several times per week during the course dates.

Course Description
This course examines the legal and ethical issues embedded in the provision of
special education services to individuals with disabilities and their families.
The course addresses the historical treatment of people with disabilities from
a service delivery model perspective. Significant legislation and court
decisions will be addressed along with current special education legal
requirements. Specific attention will be given to ways in which disability may
be viewed as a form of diversity. Additionally, important frameworks and
concepts including social construction of disability, self-determination,
inclusion, collaboration with diverse families and person-centered planning
will be explored in-depth. The course will additionally embed understanding
of these concepts within the framework of Vermont’s Educational Support
System model. The course will be delivered in an online format with one face
to face class session. Active engagement and participation regardless of
learning platform is expected by all students.

Course Objectives


Course Objectives:
• Describe historical, legal, and philosophical trends and changes related to the
delivery of special education and other support services
• Discuss ways in which philosophical perspectives influence the provision of
special education and adult support services, and the ways in which these
perspectives relate to equity, excellence, and empowerment
• Define major local, state, and federal laws, policies and educational trends and
their impact on the development, implementation and continuation of programs
and services for individuals with disabilities and their families
• Explain the concept of “social construction of disabilities” and the relationship
between diversity and disability and explore the ways in which definitions of
disability are constructed by media and popular culture
Learner Characteristics

Course Objective:
• Explore the general characteristics and eligibility criteria of twelve disability
categories defined in the Vermont Special Education regulations

Planning and Managing The Teaching and Learning Environment

Course Objective:
• Identify benefits of inclusion of individuals with disabilities in school and
community settings and promote successful transitions from school to adult life.

Communication and Collaborative Partnerships

Course Objectives:
• Examine family systems and the relationship between family values, culture,
and support networks to the provision of special education and other support
services to individuals with disabilities and their families
• Specify state and federal regulations related to promoting student and family
participation in the processes of planning and evaluating the effectiveness of
educational services for individual students
• Recognize school, community, and regional services and supports available to
families with children with disabilities
• Recommend best practices related to establishing collaborative relationships
between and among school professionals and family members including
families from diverse cultural backgrounds

Professionalism and Ethical Practices

Course Objectives:
• Indicate self-awareness of ethical frameworks and personal and cultural biases
that affect teaching, interactions with students and families, and educational

Relationship of Course to Professional and Program Standards

The content, readings and activities of this course are conceptually aligned with the
mission of UVM’s College of Education and Social Services and it Professional
Commitments & Dispositions. The course addresses the following Standards of
the Council for Exceptional Children: 1)Foundations; 2) Development and
Characteristics of Learners; 3)Individual Learning Differences; 5) Learning
Environments and Social Interactions; 9) Professional and Ethical Practice;
10)Collaboration. The course is also aligned with the Five Standards for Vermont
Educators adopted by the Vermont Standards Board (2003) and addresses these
standard areas: 1. Learning 2. Accountability 3. Professional Knowledge 4.
Colleagueship 5. Advocacy. The course adheres to the set of Individual and
Family Support Principles that were developed at the University of Oklahoma
Health Sciences Center and is guided by the six major principles underlying

Diversity Standards

EDSP 201 is approved to meet the UVM Category 2—Human and Societal
Diversity curriculum graduation requirement. The course promotes an
understanding of and an appreciation for: a) backgrounds and/or orientations
related to disability; and b) interventions and techniques to serve the needs of this
diverse group in society. It addresses UVM’s diversity competencies 1 through 8.
The goals, objectives, products, reading and activities of 201 also address diversity
related Standard Four (Advocacy) and diversity related principles 5, 8, 10, 12 from
the Five Standards for Vermont Educators: A Vision for Schooling and the 16
Principles for Vermont Educators.


• VT State Special Education Regulations
• Memoir: Self-Selected from a selection of titles to be provided on first night
of course (students will be able to take out titles from the library or purchase
from a local bookstore, or borrow the title from the instructor)
• Articles to be downloaded from Blackboard

Vermont Special Educator Licensing Competencies Addressed:

!The key roles of the special educator as teacher, advocate, consultant, facilitator,
and collaborator within the educational support system
!The philosophical, ethical, historical, and legal foundations of special education,
including the evolution of key litigation, legislation, and regulations affecting
special education
!Current models and theories that form the basis of special education practice
!Current state and federal laws, regulations, and procedures governing referral,
identification/evaluation; eligibility determination; Individual Education Plan (IEP)
development, implementation, and monitoring; and placement of students with
Program Development, Consultation, and Collaboration:
!Characteristics, processes, and role s associated with effective collaboration,
teaming, consultation, facilitation, and communication within school, family, and
community systems
!Family systems theory and principles of family-centered practice, including how
to work cooperatively and respectfully with all families to support children’s
learning and development
!Local, state, and community resources, service delivery systems, and systems of
care available to support students and their families

Course Assignments:

1. Discussion Board posts: 15 points. Taking a course online means that you
will spend considerable effort interacting with and discussing course content
in an online environment. Discussion boards will play a central role in how
you engage with your peers to explore the course readings. As such, you are
expected to be an active participant and to be prepared for online class
discussions. You will be evaluated on both the quality of your response and
your timeliness in meeting posting deadlines. Quality responses are
thoughtful and reflective, offering both personal views in a respectful
manner as well as making specific connections to the assigned readings.
One-liners are not acceptable. When prompted to post a response to a peer,
please be specific in your comments. Simply posting “ditto”, “nice idea” or
“I agree/disagree” is not sufficient. You will need to offer detailed
responses to your peer’s postings. Etiquette for online posting will be
reviewed at our face-to-face class session.
2. Completion of IRIS CENTER Learning Tasks: 15 points. This course
utilizes a rich supplemental learning platform through the IRIS Center.
Learning modules will be assigned to deepen your knowledge of course
content and learning objectives. Students will be expected to answer the
assessment questions at the end of the module and submit their response
through Blackboard. An assignment link will be made available.
3. Additional Assignments that will be submitted electronically include:

! Self-study on the Special education regulations- 10 points
! Disability Description/Memoir Summary Blog Post- 20 points
! Film Analysis Wikis-10 points

Descriptions of each of these assignments will be posted on Blackboard and
thoroughly reviewed on the first night of class

4. Final Exam: 30 points
A “do-at-home” final exam will be posted to Blackboard prior to the last
week of the course. One component of this exam will be the completion of a
parent interview. The details re: the parent interview will be provided to you
early so that you can get started on it prior to the week that the exam will be
due. It will be due on June 27
as part of your final exam and submitted
through Blackboard

Total points: 100

Individual product and final grades will be determined according to the following

A = 94 - 100 B = 84 - 86 C = 74 - 76
A- = 90 - 93 B- = 80 - 83 C- = 70 - 73
B+ = 87 - 89 C+= 77-79
F = <73

Grades of A+ will be given at my discretion when work is completed on time and
is of exceptional quality (including no grammar or spelling errors). A grade of A+
also requires no absences from class and meeting all deadlines in online posting.

Students in need of accommodations related to course delivery, assignments, etc.
should provide a letter stating the need for accommodations and/or should contact
me at their earliest convenience so that we may develop an accommodation plan
for the semester. In addition, students with concerns regarding completion of
assignments and/or grading need to notify me as soon as possible so that these
issues may be addressed. Grades of "incomplete" will be given only to students
who have made advance arrangements for an extended timeline for completion of
coursework. In accordance with the policies established by the Dean’s Office of
the College of Education and Social Services, these are granted only for
extenuating circumstances, such as those involving personal or family

Attendance Policy:

All students are required to attend the face to face class session on May 19th. We
will be discussing important foundational course content as well as orienting you
to the online learning environment. The benefit of taking a hybrid course is that
the content that is delivered online lends itself to a flexible schedule for the
student. In this course you are not required to log-on during a specified time,
however, please note the following deadlines that are essential for your successful
navigation of the course:

1. Discussion board posts: You will have posting deadlines in your discussion
board weekly. You will also be expected to comment on peer’s posts. Therefore
it’s important to be prompt in meeting deadlines to promote engagement and
positive colleagueship in your group discussions.

2. Online Learning modules: While you have personal flexibility regarding how
you approach completion of the learning tasks for each module and when you
choose to work on them during a week, there will be a firm deadline for
completion of all assignments per module by the start of the next week. The
reason for this is to help you be successful in completion of the course within the 6
week time frame. If you fall behind, it will hamper your progress in the course.

Norms for the Course:

a. Be flexible: Learning in an online environment presents many wonderful
opportunities but it may also present some challenges. Please demonstrate
patience and an open-mind when encountering challenges that may relate to
technology. You may be using different tools that you have never tried
before. As your instructor I will help you problem-solve any difficulties that
b. Be engaged: To maximize your learning in this course, you need to
complete all course activities and actively participate in the group work on
line. It may feel differently to engage with peers in this manner, but
thoughtfully responding to each other’s posts, and completing the different
types of learning tasks in a timely manner will deepen the knowledge you
gain from the course.
c. Be Organized: Meeting deadlines for each weekly learning module is
essential for your success in the course. If you fall behind it may feel
overwhelming due to the tight timeframe of the class. Remember you are
earning 3 credits in only 6 weeks! This means you will need to budget at
least 10 hours a week to devote to the course. I suggest creating a plan for
yourself each week that identifies when you will complete each task for the
learning module. Budget time to complete the reading as well. Depending
on your learning style you may need to spend more than 10 hours per week.
To give you a comparison, in a traditional face to face course spread over 15
weeks, students spend three hours in class with an additional 3-6 hours of
homework. For our course you will be addressing the equivalent of 2.5
weeks of content/assignments in each weekly learning module.

Course at a glance

On Campus: 5/19 Face to Face 4-9pm o History of Special Education:
Institutions, Significant Court
Cases and Legislation
o Defining Disability and the Social
Construction of Disability
o Understanding the VT Context
o Introduction to Online Learning
Assignments due (5/19): Pre-course
Module 1: 5/19-5/25 Online o Multi-tiered systems of support:
o Universal Design for Learning
Assignments due (5/25):
IRIS Module and assessment questions
Memoir selection completed
Module 2: 5/26-6/1 Online o VT State Special Education
o Review of Special Education
Process in VT
o Revisit Inclusion
Assignments due (6/1):
Discussion Board Post (Dan Habib’s
Ted Talk)
Special Ed. regs Self-study

Module 3: 6/2- 6/8 Online o Collaboration with Families
o Culturally Responsive Practice
Assignments due (6/8):
Discussion Board post (readings)
IRIS Module and assessment questions

Module 4: 6/9-6/15 Online

o Social Construction of Disability
in Media
Assignments due (6/15):
Disability Description/Memoir Blog
posts due
Film Analysis Wiki (Group project)

Module 5: 6/15-6/22 Online

o Transition Planning
o Self-Determination
Assignments due (6/22):
Iris Center Module on Transition with
Assessment questions
Discussion Board Post

Module 6: 6/23-6/27 o Least Dangerous Assumption and
Wrapping Up
Assignments due (6/27-note this is
Course Evaluation
Final Assessment (Due 6/27 11:30pm)

*Note: Specific criteria for the assignments will be provided to you on the first night of class
and posted in Blackboard.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful