SPED 346.03W Introduction to Exceptional Children
Fall 2012
Web-based / On-line
Instructor: Dr. Suzanne Thomas
Office: Henderson 227
Telephone: (903) 886-5592
Fax: (903) 886-5510
Email: [email protected] (preferred method of contact)
Office Hours: Monday 1:00 – 4:00; Wednesday 1:00 – 3:00
It is my desire that each of you profits from this course. Please contact me via e-mail or
phone or schedule to meet with me if you need any assistance. Appointments are NOT
required, but are appreciated, preferred, and given priority.
Course Description:
This course will provide a survey of populations with exceptionalities. Attention will be
given to the cause of these deviations and their effect upon the individual’s development.
Professional roles of the special education team members as well as the policies and
regulations applicable to special education programs in general will be covered.
Hallahan, D.P., Kauffman, J. M., & Pullen. P.C. (2012). Exceptional Learners: An
Introduction to Special Education (12th Ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon. (ISBN #
13:978-0-13-703370-6 / 10:0-13-703370-2
Course Objectives:
The following are the standard course objectives: The student is expected to be able to
Understand and apply knowledge of the characteristics and needs of students with
Understand and apply knowledge of procedures for managing the teaching and
learning environment, including procedures related to the use of assistive technology
Understand the philosophical, historical, and legal foundations of special education,
Know how to communicate and collaborate effectively in a variety of professional
Class Requirements/Assignments/Activities/Expectations and Grading:
Getting to Know You (or “All About Me”) 10 points:
Students will provide a
short autobiography so that your classmates and I can get to know you. You will be asked to give
information about your degree sought, teaching experience, ambitions for the future, etc. It
would be helpful to provide a picture of yourself so others “get to know you”, if possible. This
assignment should be completed as part of a discussion thread for week one.
GRADING: maximum 10 points
Sample Quiz: 10 points
Week #1 contains a short, simple, sample quiz. This is intended to give you an opportunity to
“practice” taking an on-line quiz, in case you have not yet had this “learning opportunity”. There
are 5 questions on this quiz. PS – it’s easy, you can’t fail. There is nothing to “study” before
taking the quiz, so just “dive in”.
Grading: maximum 10 points
Sample Drop Box: 20 points
Week # 1 requires you to make an entry into the drop box. Unlike the sample quiz, which does
not require you to study anything pertaining to this class, for the drop box, you are required to
watch several short video clips and react to them. The video clips will serve as an introduction to
special education for those unfamiliar with some of the topics that we will be discussing during
the remainder of the semester.
For this assignment you will be required to watch the 9 parts of the video, Misunderstood
Minds. This series of videos introduces you to 5 “exceptional” children and their
families. The various parts of this video will help you begin to think about aspects not
generally thought of with “exceptional” children. Few people would ever think about
special education when first introduced to Nathan VanHoy!
1. Access the videos at www.youtube.com. Search “Misunderstood Minds”
2. Watch Chapters 1 through Chapter 8.1. All are approximately 9 minutes with the
exception of 8.1 which is 4:39 minutes.
Sample Drop Box Assignment: Write a ½ to 1 page reaction on what you learned from
watching Misunderstood Minds. This is to be brief, but include enough detail to show me that
you watched the clips. Post your paper to the M.Minds drop box in week #1.
GRADING: 20 points
Weekly Discussion Forum Participation:
Students are expected to participate
actively in discussions on each assigned lesson (typically weekly). For each discussion, you are
to contribute at least one original thought by posting your reflection to a thought provoking
question based on assigned readings / videos, etc. For most discussion forum, you will be
required to respond to at least one posting of one of your classmates (peer response).
• Due dates for each reflection and each peer response will be included in each lesson.
Typically, your reflection must be posted by midnight Wednesday and your peer
response must be posted by midnight Sunday. Reflections and peer response postings
will not be accepted after the due date!
o GRADING: Discussions are worth 25 points each for 12 lessons = 300 total
available points
If the discussion requires a peer response in addition to your
personal reflection, the 25 points will be divided with your reflection
being worth 15 points and your peer response being worth 10 points.
These assignments are to encourage thoughtful reflection and expression of your views. This
is a college class so postings called “drive by” postings (“that’s great”, “yea I agree”, “You go
girl!”) are not welcome and will NOT receive a high grade.
• There is no minimum length like you may have had in other classes. Conversely,
I don’t encourage really long answers – remember your peers have to read it (as
well as me) and they are just as cramped for time as you are. Generally, a few
sentences or a short paragraph is sufficient.
• In responding to another person’s post, be considerate and respectful. You may
not agree – and do not have to. We all learn by being challenged to think deeper
and consider more alternatives. I encourage “talking” out new ideas and
perspectives. BUT, if you disagree, you are expected to express your
disagreement in a respectful way.
• Typically, your grade will not be based on writing mechanics or correctness of
grammar and punctuation. Good writing mechanics shows a respect for your
reader, however, and allows me to score your response (and not your grammar).
If your writing and grammar compromises my reading and understanding, you
will not receive a high score. On this note – I don’t speak “text” very well, so
don’t use text abbreviations and expect me to understand. Just, play it safe and
don’t use these abbreviations.
Weekly Chapter Quizzes:
For each lesson (approximately weekly), you will have a quiz
that will cover all information presented that week. These quizzes are intended to give you an
idea of what to expect on the examinations. Typically, the quizzes will be open for the entire
week, and, generally, will close on Sunday at 11:59 pm. You will only be allowed to take the
quiz one time unless otherwise noted. These quizzes are open book, open notes, but closed to
your peers (it must be your own work). The quizzes will be timed so that you will need to have a
good, general understanding of all the material in advance of taking the quiz in order to complete
it accurately and timely.
• GRADING: Quizzes are worth 30 points each for 12 lessons = 360 total
available points
Disability in Society
These two assignments will allow students to analyze how society experiences
“disability” as it is portrayed in film and as perceived and experienced by families in dayto-day situations with a child with a disability. Additional information on these two
assignments will be provided.
• GRADING 50 points each for a total of 100 points
• Due Dates:
o Analysis of a Film
Due November 19th
o Analysis of Family Study
Due Nov 26th
Assignments can be turned in before the due date
Assessments (Tests) (3 tests at 50 points each=150 points)
Three (3) tests (two during the semester and one final exam) will be scheduled during the
semester to measure your comprehension and ability to apply the course content.
Assessments may consist of both objective questions and/or short essay questions. All
exams will be posted to on-line to eCollege and taken from your home or university
computer lab. Specific time periods will be allocated for each examination. Exams are
closed book (no access to notes/book) unless otherwise specified.
Tentative exam schedule: The weeks of Sept. 18th and Oct. 30th .
The final exam is tentatively scheduled for December 10th through 14th
Any student with an “A” average on all previously submitted materials
will be exempt from taking the final exam.
Exceptionalities Handbook (Concept Map):
Groups of students will be responsible for creating pages that can be compiled by each
student into an Exceptionality Handbook. The handbook will contain information on
specific disabilities covered in chapters 5 through 15. To construct your exceptionality
handbook or concept map page you will be required to pull out the essential information
on that category of disability (exceptionality). When each category is completed, the
entire handbook should be appropriate for your future use as a teacher in addition for
helping you prepare for examinations in this course. Creativity (in graphic design,
software used, is encouraged – as long as your handbook is functional (useful) and your
peers and I can access it. Your focus should be on practical / useful information that
answers the question “what should a new teacher know about ____?” For example, as a
new teacher you may have a child with a learning difference assigned to your class and
you feel you need to “brush up” on his/her condition. Or, you may have a family
member (or a principal) who asks “do you know anything about _____?”. Your
handbook should contain pages that provide you a ready reference in these type
situations. Minimally, information that must be included for each exceptionality
• Definition – including how IDEIA defines this condition and various types of
the disability, as appropriate
• Causes
• Prevalence (your emphasis should be on the current percentages of school
population, as this statistic is available)
• Characteristics
• Teaching strategies, treatments, accommodations, modifications
• At list of at least 6 references. References can be books, journal articles or
websites that you used to prepare your information and/or that you feel will be
helpful to yourself and others in the future.
GRADING: 100 points for each of 2 parts = 200 maximum points
A single grade of a maximum of 100 points will be awarded to all group
participants-every group member will receive the same grade. This grade will be
based on the requirements outlined above. A rubric will be provided illustrating
scoring criteria. Work submitted should reflect a professional quality in terms of
scope, depth, writing mechanics, and appearance that would be expected of
students at a prestigious university. Proofread all assignments as only materials
with minimal or no errors will receive high scores.
Due Dates:
Part 1 due October 22nd. Part 1 will cover: Intellectural Disabilities; learning disabilities,
attention deficit disorder, Emotional & behavioral disorders and Autism
Part 2 due December 3rd. Part 2 will cover: Speech and language disabilities, hearing
impairments, vision impairments, traumatic brain injuries, extraordinary gifts and talents
Course Evaluation & Grading:
“Getting to Know You” Post
Sample Quiz
Misunderstood Minds Discussion
Discussion Forum 12 @ 25 points
Chapter Tests 12 @ 30 points
Disability in Society
- Analysis of Film
- Analysis of Family Interview
Exceptionality Handbook [email protected]
Examinations 2 @ 50
Total possible points without final
Final Exam
Total possible points WITH final
Point Distribution:
A = 90%
B = 80%
C = 70%
D = 60%
F = < 60%
Communication & Support:
If you have a question that others in the class may also be having, please post those
questions to the Virtual Office on eCollege. Please consult virtual office to see if a
question has already been answered before sending me an e-mail. Responses to virtual
office and/or emails will be made Monday through Friday within 48 hours unless out-ofoffice notification has been provided. Please note that I will not guarantee response to
emails during weekends, holidays, or in the evenings. If you have any questions or need
clarifications on any aspect of the course, please post your question early in the week.
As a student enrolled at Texas A&M University-Commerce, you have access to an email
account via MyLeo. ALL class emails from your instructor will be sent from eCollege
(and all other university emails) and WILL GO TO YOUR MyLeo ACCOUNT. Please
be sure to check this email account frequently and regularly.
Technology Requirements:
This course will include electronic communications throughout the semester, therefore,
access to and use of eCollege is required. eCollege works best within a Microsoft
Windows environment, and requires a high speed internet connection (not dial-up). This
means you should use a Windows operating system (XP or newer) and a recent version of
Microsoft Internet Explorer (6.0, 7.0 or 8.0). The course will also work with Macintosh
OS X along with a recent version of Safari (2.0 or better). eCollege also supports the
Firefox/Mozilla (3.0 or better) on both Windows and Mac operating systems. It is
strongly recommended that you perform a “Browser Test” prior to the start of your
course. To launch a browser test, login to eCollege, click on the “myCourses” tab, and
then select the “Browser Test” link under Support Services. To get started with the
course, go to:https://leo.tamu-commerce.edu/login.aspx. You will need your CWID and
password to login to the course. If you do not know your CWID or have forgotten your
password, contact Technology Services at 903-468-6000 or [email protected]
Contacting eCollege for Technical Support:
The following support options are available 24 hours a day / 7 days a week
• Help: Click on the “help” button on the toolbar for information regarding
working with eCollege (i.e., “How do I submit to dropbox?”, “How do I post
to discussion board?”, etc.
• Chat Support: Click on the “Live Support” on the toolbar within your course
to chat with an eCollege representative.
• Phone: 1-866-656-5511 (toll free) to speak with an eCollege Technical
Support Representative
• Email: [email protected] to initiate a support request with eCollege
Technical Support Representative
Other Important Notes:
Students with Disabilities:
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination
statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with
disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students
with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for
reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you have a disability
requiring an accommodation, please contact:
Office of Student Disability Resources and Services
Texas A&M University-Commerce
Gee Library, Room 132
Phone (903) 886-5150 or (903) 886-5835 - Fax (903) 468-8148
[email protected]
All students enrolled at the University shall follow the tenets of common decency
and acceptable behavior conducive to a positive learning environment. (See Code
of Student Conduct from Student Guide Handbook)
o Dispositions: All students are expected to display professional behaviors
(dispositions) expected of educators and to demonstrate these behaviors in
their interactions with K-12 students, families, colleagues, the professor,
and communities at all times. These professional behaviors consist of
such behaviors as professional responsibility, professional and personal
integrity, collegiality, and commitment to learning. Failure to display
professional behaviors can result in counseling by the professor and result
in lowering of the course grade.
o Academic Dishonesty. To be successful in this class, you must invest
time for study. Honesty is expected. Academic dishonesty (cheating,
plagiarism, collusion) will NOT be tolerated and will result in a grade of
zero (0) for the assignment. A second infraction will result in automatic
failure of the class. Dishonesty is defined as (i) the use of unauthorized
materials, (ii) any communication with peers during quizzes, (iii)
representing another’s work as one’s own (i.e. plagiarism) or (iv)
fabricating information. The professor reserves the right to determine
occurrences of cheating.
o Plagiarism occurs at any time that another’s ideas or words are used as
your own without attribution. Direct quotations must be cited and set off
from other text by quotation marks (“ ..”). Paraphrasing of another’s ideas
must also be cited (although this does not require quotation marks).
Copying from other students and two or more students who work together
and turning in the exact same work (unless it’s an assigned group project)
also constitute plagiarism.
All assignments must be turned in on the due date. Any late assignment will
receive a 10% deduction PER DAY for the first 3 days it is turned in past the due
date (e.g., a 10% deduction for 1 day late; 20% deduction for 2 days late, etc.).
Any assignment turned in four or more days after the due date will be returned
Ensure that the assignment guidelines presented in the syllabus are followed. It is
important that all assignments are organized according to headings and
subheadings delineated in the guidelines. Failure to do so will result in an
ungraded assignment or a lower evaluation.
Make/Up exam. There will be NO make/up activities or exams for this course
unless a true emergency exists. Students are expected to submit relevant
documentation ( e.g. doctor’s note, funeral notice, etc.) when requesting a
make/up examination.
Written Assignments. Written assignments MUST be typed using double spaced
lines, include your name, and have page numbers. In addition, work submitted
should reflect a professional quality in terms of scope, depth, writing mechanics,
and appearance that would be expected of students at a prestigious university.
Proofread all assignments as only materials with minimal or no errors will
receive high scores.
Person First Language: Our language is a reflection of our attitudes. Always
refer to persons with disabilities with respect. Degrading terminology will not be
tolerated. In this class we will strive to use “people first” language at all times.
“People First” language always refers to the person first and not as a label or a
category. For example, refer to “a student with autism” and not “an autistic” or
“students with disabilities” and not “disabled students”. In addition, avoid such
stigmatizing terminology as “confined to a wheelchair” (say “uses a wheelchair”
instead.) or “suffers from ____” (say “has ____” instead).
If you have suggestions, comments, questions, or concerns about the class or the
assignments, please call or see the instructor. Please do not save your suggestions for
the evaluation at the end of the term when it is too late to implement your suggestions.
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