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University of St. Francis logo · College of Education · COE

Language Development and Teaching Methods for Moderate/Severe Disabilities

  • Template 2018
  • Section TMPL
  • 3 Credits
  • 04/23/2018 to 07/29/2100
  • Modified 08/15/2023

Mission Statement

As a Catholic university rooted in the liberal arts, we are a welcoming community of learners challenged by Franciscan values and charism, engaged in a continuous pursuit of knowledge, faith, wisdom, and justice, and ever mindful of a tradition that emphasizes reverence for creation, compassion and peacemaking. We strive for academic excellence in all programs, preparing women and men to contribute to the world through service and leadership. 


Analyzes the development of language and its interaction with cognitive, socio/emotional development and communication. It will also include understanding the impact of language disorders for individuals with disabilities. In addition, this course addresses interventions in academic and life skills for individuals with moderate/severe needs.


College of Education Mission

The mission of the College of Education is to prepare competent and caring educators who understand students, serve the community and develop professionally to become ethical decision-makers and leaders.

Understanding Students

Understand the impact of early childhood development and communication development on individuals with disabilities.

Serving the Community

Understand how to communicate about the relationship between early development and speech and language disorders and an individual’s disability; how to serve their specific needs.

Finding Our Professional Selves

Candidates will begin to cultivate an attitude of professionalism by exhibiting the following behaviors in addition to intervention strategies: preparedness, neatness, organizational skills, poise, leadership, self-motivation, responsibility, promptness, professional curiosity, and proper oral and written communication skills.


Access to standards referenced in this section can be found HERE

By the conclusion of the course, each participant will be able to do the following:

Outcome 1: Students will understand issues related to early childhood inclusion for children, parents and professionals (IPS 1, 3, 8, 9) (CEC 2, 5, 6, 7)

  • Create goals and objectives for professional growth (IPTS 1f 3b 3d 9d) (CEC 6.2, 6.4) 
  • Identify challenges related to teaming (IPTS 3f 8f 8g 8j) (CEC 2.1,2.2, 5.1, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3) 

Outcome 2: Students will be able to design modifications made within an early childhood classroom to accommodate young children with disabilities (IPS 1, 3, 5, 7, 9) (CEC 3, 4, 5, 6)

  • Describe how to individualize assessment, curriculum and instruction (IPTS 1h 3a 3n 5a 7a 7b) (CEC 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 5.2) 
  • Describe how to use assistive technology as an effective tool to assist and accommodate individual needs (IPTS 1g 3e) (CEC 5.1, 5.2) 
  • Understand how to implement research- based strategies to support best practices. (IPTS 2f 9a) (CEC 6.2) 

Outcome 3: Students will investigate young children’s social and emotional development (IPTS 1, 3, 4) (CEC 1, 2,5)

  • Develop social story to support social development (IPTS 1b 3c 4g) (CEC 5.1, 5.4, 5.7) 
  • Understand how challenging behaviors impact social development (IPTS 1d 4a 4g 4h) (CEC 1.2, 2.3)

Outcome 4: Students will understand how to engage families to support young children’s growth and development (IPTS 1, 8) (CEC 1, 6)

  • Describe modifications to be made when working with linguistically and culturally diverse families (IPTS 1e 8d) (CEC 1.1, 1.2) 
  • Discuss exemplary parent-teacher communication (IPTS 8a 8h 8k) (CEC 6.3) 

Outcome 5: Students will be able to explain communication theory, language development and the role of language in learning as well as communication modes and patterns of children with and without disabilities. (IPTS 2, 3, 6) (CEC 3, 5)

  • Describe language intervention strategies and appropriate uses across age and skill levels (IPTS 2h) (CEC 3.2, 3.3, 5.3, 5.4)
  • Describe instructional planning procedures for increasing communication use (IPTS 3e) (CEC 3.3, 5.3, 5.4)


Discussion questions/In class activities

Candidates will deepen their understanding of issues in early childhood special education by actively participate in online discussions, in class activities and reflections

  • Course Objectives: 1b, 2a, 2b, 3c, 3b, 4b, 5a
  • Standards:
 ITPS 1c, 1e, 2a, 4a, 4g, 8a 8d, 8h, 8k; CEC 1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 3.1, 4.2, 5.1, 6.1, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3


Candidates will create goals and objectives for their own professional growth.

  • Course Objectives: 1a
  • Standards: ITPS 1f, 3b, 3d, 9d; CEC 6.2, 6.4

Activity Plan

Candidates will plan an activity suitable for young children in an inclusive classroom focused on supporting a targeted area of development. 

  • Course Objectives: 2a, 2c
  • Standards: ITPS 3a, 3f, 3n, 5a, 5e; CEC 1.2, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 4.1, 5.1

Individual Planning Form

Candidates will practice planning to meet an individual child’s needs.

  • Course Objectives: 2a, 2c
  • Standards: ITPS 3a, 3f, 3n, 5a, 5e; CEC 1.2, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 4.1, 5.1

Social Story

Candidates will review a case study and then write a social story to promote positive social interaction for a young child. 

  • Course Objectives: 3a, 3b
  • Standards: ITPS 1b, 3c, 4g; CEC 5.1, 5.4, 5.7

Related Service Interview

Candidates will gain insight into the roles related service specialists play in educating children with special needs by interviewing a current school professional working as a related service provider. 

  • Course Objectives: 1b
  • Standards: ITPS 3f, 8g, 8j; CEC 2.1, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3

Self-IEP Reflection

Candidates will reflect on their progress on their self-IEP from module one.

  • Course Objectives: 1a
  • Standards: ITPS 3d; CEC 6.2, 6.4

Final Project

Candidates will complete a comprehensive plan to support young children’s language development that includes a case study review, a family newsletter, a five day activity plan and an observation/assessment plan.

  • Course Objectives: 4b, 5a, 5b
  • Standards: ITPS 1d, 1g, 2h, 3e, 3n, 5a, 5e, 6c; CEC 1.2, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 4.1, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4


Institutional Policies

Students should use the MyUSF portal as the first resource for guidance and support on items such as student complaints, safety, security and transportation questions, contact information for various USF departments, student support services such as counseling and academic resources. Information on these resources can be found in the For Students section of the MyUSF portal.

  • A complete listing of university policies and procedures can be found in the University of St. Francis Catalog and Student Handbooks. Students are expected to follow all policies in the USF Catalog and Student Handbook, both of which can be found in the student portal.
  • Students are expected to be familiar with and follow the various procedures and guidelines regarding USF’s COVID-19 Response, including the USF Preparedness Plan and other materials incorporated in the Saints United resource hub (
  • Policies not covered in this document will be handled in accordance with the USF Catalog, Student Handbook, and Program Handbook as applicable.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity requires that all academic work be wholly the product of an identified individual or individuals. Collaboration is only acceptable when it is explicitly acknowledged. Ethical conduct is the obligation of every member of the University community, and breaches of academic integrity constitute serious offenses. Since a lack of integrity hinders the student’s academic development, it cannot be tolerated under any circumstances. Violations include but are not limited to: cheating, fabrication, facilitating academic dishonesty, plagiarism, and denying others access to information or material. See the University of St. Francis Catalog for further clarification and information on grievance procedures.

Services and Accommodations for Students with Disabilities (ADA)

The University strives to be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA). A student who requires special accommodations or arrangements due to a disability should contact the Office of Accessibility Services. This contact preferably should occur no later than the first week of classes. Early contact before the semester starts is encouraged to allow sufficient time to provide accommodations. Extra time is needed for some types of accommodations such as sign language interpreters or special text formatting. Should a need arrive after the start of a semester; the student is encouraged to contact the Office of Accessibility Services as soon as possible. Note that accommodations are not retroactive. Each case will be reviewed on an individual basis to determine reasonable and appropriate accommodations.

USF is committed to ensuring the full participation of all students in its programs, regardless of the course format. If you have a documented disability and need a reasonable accommodation to participate in a course, complete course requirements, or benefit from the University’s programs or services, please contact the Office of Accessibility Services at 815-740-3631 or [email protected] . The Office of Accessibility Services is located on the third floor of Tower Hall in room N320. Consultations are welcome; please contact the Office of Accessibility Services for an appointment.

Academic Support Services

The Academic Resource Center (ARC) located in Room N316 in Tower Hall (815-740-5060 or [email protected]) offers various types of academic services.  Online and distance learning students can contact ARC for appropriate resources.  ARC serves students who need tutoring in many areas of study including writing and math.  Library services include a number of online services and full text databases.  Call the Library at 815-740-5041 for additional information.  If you need academic-related resources or assistance, please contact the Academic Resource Center.

Technology Support

If you are experiencing any difficulty using Canvas or need technical assistance, you have several options to receive support:

  1. 24x7 Live Canvas Support. Canvas has a 24 hour support by clicking on ? Help while in Canvas. You can Chat with Canvas Support, Report a Problem, or call the Canvas Support Hotline. If you experience technical difficulties or have a question about Canvas, you can receive support 24 hours a day seven (7) days a week through the Canvas help menu. From the help menu; select Report a Problem to send an email support request, select Chat with Canvas Support (Student) for a “live” text-based click-to-chat session, or to speak to someone directly use the toll-free number listed under the Canvas Support Hotline (Student). NOTE: Responses to Canvas’ email based Report a Problem request system will go to your USF email account, NOT your personal email.
  2. Online Self-Service Help Resources. A student user guide and other resources for solving issues related to Canvas can be found at
  3. You can phone the Technology Support Center for personal help at (815) 768-8324 or (866) 337-1497 (toll-free) between 8:00 AM and 4:30 PM Central Standard Time, Monday through Friday or fill out a Technology Support Center ticket and select Canvas/Online courses as the component.

For any technical support issues that are not related to Canvas, you can also contact the USF Technology Support Center (TSC). You can reach them via: