Master's in Early Childhood Special Education

Advocacy with Impact

Working with children from birth through eight years old, the early childhood special educator can choose to engage directly with children who have disabilities and their families or may collaborate with other professionals. Settings for service delivery include public and private school special education classes, inclusive classes, early intervention programs, Head Start and Early Head Start, public and private child care, the home, hospital settings and specialized agency programs. Students are offered the opportunity to train in age-related sub-specialties of pre-primary, birth to age five, or primary school age, K - grade 3. Our program is approved by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the Division of Early Childhood (DEC) of the Council for Exceptional Children. Program graduates possess knowledge and skills in the specific content areas recommended by NAEYC and DEC: child development and learning; curriculum development and implementation; routine-based intervention in natural environments; family-centered services deliver models; child assessment, evaluation, and progress monitoring; cultural, linguistic, and economic diversity; and field-based practicum and internships.

Coursework will enhance your understanding and use of informal and formal psychoeducational tests for pre-school and elementary aged children. Weekly seminars will prepare you to evaluate results and translate the data into instructional programming and behavior management strategies with the goal of improving the experience and success for pre-school and elementary aged children. Theories and evidenced based research will inform and animate your practice building your confidence and understanding of the causes and characteristics of disabilities.

Language acquisition and development will be a critical focus of your training; you will move from theory to a deep knowledge of the process of teaching as well as the cognitive, linguistic, developmental and socio-cultural and affective dimensions and models for reading and literacy.

The program requires two field placements to strengthen knowledge and skills and advance professional interests. You will develop key competencies in implementing effective educational strategies with appropriate instructional materials, including the ability to design and develop teaching materials to support your classroom experience.

Highlights

Why a GW Master's in Early Childhood Special Education?

  • Approved by the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the Division of Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children. Program graduates develop knowledge and skills in the specific content areas recommended by NAEYC and DEC including child development and learning; curriculum development and implementation; routine-based intervention in natural environments; family-centered services deliver models; child assessment, evaluation, and progress monitoring; cultural, linguistic, and economic diversity; and field-based practicum and internships.
  • Small Classes, Big Impact: Weekly seminars will prepare you to evaluate results and translate the data into instructional programming and behavior management strategies with the goal of improving the experience and success for pre-school and elementary aged children. Theories and evidenced based research will inform and animate your practice building your confidence and understanding of the causes and characteristics of disabilities.
  • Language Acquisition and Development: A critical focus of your training, you will move from theory to a deep knowledge of the process of teaching as well as the cognitive, linguistic, developmental and socio-cultural and affective dimensions and models for reading and literacy.
  • Field Work:The program requires two field placements to strengthen knowledge and skills and advance professional interests. You will develop key competencies in implementing effective educational strategies with appropriate instructional materials, including the ability to design and develop teaching materials to support your classroom experience.
Curriculum

The following requirements must be fulfilled: 39 credits for the regular degree, including the required core courses and general courses; or, for the degree with an optional concentration in infant special education, 42 credits, including the required core courses and infant special education courses. In both cases, completion of the Master of Arts in Education and Human Development comprehensive examination, and completion of the relevant teacher licensure assessments (see below) are required.

CORE REQUIREMENTS for BOTH DEGREES

EDUC 6114: Introduction to Quantitative Research
SPED 6222: Legal Issues and Public Policy for Individuals With Disabilities
SPED 6240: Family Support and Guidance in Special Education OR SPED 6100: Selected Topics.
SPED 6261: Practicum: Methods and Materials for Young Children with Disabilities
SPED 6266: The Development of Language and Literacy
SPED 6268: Development of Children and Youth with Disabilities
SPED 6269: Etiology, Symptomatology, and Approaches to Intervention with Children with Disabilities
SPED 6290: Affective Development and Behavior Management in Special Education
CPED 6622: Foundations of Reading Development
SPED 6260: Developmental Assessment in Special Education
SPED 6262: Formal Assessment of Young Children with Disabilities
SPED 6993: Internship: Teaching Young Children with Disabilities (taken for six credits)

Master of Arts in Education and Human Development comprehensive exam required
Completion of the relevant teacher licensure assessments (i.e., PRAXIS) required by the District of Columbia Educator Licensure Services Office

INFANT SPECIAL EDUCATION CONCENTRATION

CPED 6221: Developmental Reading: Emergent Literacy
SPED 6242: Neurodevelopmental Assessment and Programming for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities
SPED 6243: Developmental Assessment of Infants
SPED 6267: Instructional and Assistive Technology in Early Childhood Special Education
SPED 6994: Internship: Early Intervention (taken for six credits)

Master of Arts in Education and Human Development comprehensive exam required
Completion of the relevant teacher licensure assessments (i.e., PRAXIS) required by the District of Columbia Educator Licensure Services Office

Faculty
Assistant Professor
(202) 994-9061
Career Outlook

Opportunities

Graduates are prepared to work with children in multiple settings including classrooms, inclusive classes, early intervention programs, Head Start and Early Head Start, public and private child care, the home, hospital settings and specialized agency programs.

In the News

The Early Childhood Special Education Master's Program held its annual Professional Networking Conference on April 26. Student interns presented findings from their action research projects, which they conducted in their classrooms under the mentorship of Visiting Instructor Susan Jaffe. Students examined a variety of topics, such as improving communication skills of young children with disabilities and building positive relationships between children in general and special education classrooms.

Professor emeritus Dr. Mary Futrell and current GSEHD student Demetria Clark (master's, early childhood special education) were highlighted in GW Today's Donors and Students Meet, Celebrate Achievements. Ms. Clark is the recipient of a scholarship established by the National Education Association (NEA) and various donors in honor of Dr. Futrell, a former GSEHD dean and NEA president.

Dr. Karin Spencer, alumna and adjunct professor within the Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) program, and Dr. Lorelei Pisha, Project Director within the ECSE program, presented at the Division for Early Childhood Conference in Louisville, KY. The presentation focused on the use of universal design for learning for physically active play in inclusive settings and was titled From Bystander to Mover and Shaker: Physical Activity for All Young Children.