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University of St. Francis logo · College of Education · Regional Educational Academy for Leadership

Learners with Exceptional and Diverse Needs
EEND-605 | MEDU-675

  • Template 2015
  • Section TMPL
  • 3 Credits
  • 07/22/2015 to 07/22/2115
  • Modified 10/27/2022

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. 


Designed to introduce exceptionality and education of students who have special needs and other diverse needs such as English Language Learners (ELL). This covers the examination of various classifications of special education under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA 2004) and providing differentiation & accommodations using the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles.


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

Candidate will understand how students with disabilities grow, develop, learn, and provide learning opportunities that support the intellectual, social, and personal development of student by understanding instructional planning based upon knowledge of the discipline, students, the community, and curriculum goals.

Serving the Community

Candidate will reflect upon the changes and controversies occurring in the field of special education and how they impact students, families, and communities, as well as the needs and concerns of individuals with disabilities and their impact on families, friendships, and the community.

Finding Our Professional Selves

Candidate will understand the philosophical, historical, and legal foundations of special education. Candidate will be reflective in evaluating how choices and actions affect students, parents, and other professionals in the learning community and who actively seeks opportunities to grow professionally.


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:

1. Students will identify the 13 disability areas as defined in Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, IDEA 2004 (IPTS 1,3; CEC 1,4)

  • 1a. Examine the components of definition of each of the thirteen disability areas (IPTS 1A,1D; CEC 1.2)
  • 1b. Apply definitions of disability areas to determine how they apply to specific student characteristics. (IPTS 1A,3C,3O; CEC 1.2,4.3)
  • 1c. Examine and discuss exceptionalities that are not defined by IDEA, but may require services. (IPTS 1A,1D,3C,3O; CEC 1.2,4.3)

2. Outline the main principles of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, IDEA 2004 and the procedures, which govern special education in Illinois (IPTS –3,4,8,9; CEC 5,6)

  • 2a. Describe the laws and objectives of special education and inclusion (IPTS 4F,4I,4J,9B; CEC 6.1,6.2)
  • 2b. Identify and apply key provisions and guidelines of IDEA (IPTS 4F,4I; CEC 6.1,6.2)
  • 2c. Explain the difference between an IEP and a Section 504 plan (IPTS 3O,4F; CEC 6.1,6.2)
  • 2d. Delineate between accommodations and modifications (IPTS 3O,8S; CEC 5.5)

3. Describe the major issues and trends in special education and explain how these relate to general education and related fields (IPTS 3,4,7,8g; CEC 5,6,7)  

  • 3a. Discuss and apply classroom teacher resources and responsibilities (IPTS 7I,8G; CEC 5.1,7.1,7.2,7.3)
  • 3b. Examine and discuss concerns and challenges about Inclusion (IPTS 3O,4A,7I,8G; CEC 6.2,7.1,7.2,7.3)
  • 3c. Examine collaborative relationships and co-teaching methods (IPTS 8G,8F; CEC 7.1,7.2,7.3)
  • 3d. Apply procedures to manage student behavior (IPTS 3O,4A; CEC 6.2)

4. Describe the educationally relevant characteristics of exceptional children including curriculum accommodations and modifications (IPTS 1,2; CEC 1)      

  • 4a. Identify the characteristics of students with learning disabilities. (IPTS 1G,1J,2E; CEC 1.2,)
  • 4b. Examine and explain how language is described in terms of content, form, and use. (IPTS 1J,1E,2E ; CEC 1.1,1,2)
  • 4c. Explore the causes of each exceptionality. (IPTS 1B,1C,1D,1E; CEC 1.2

5. Develop an understanding of the roles and responsibilities of teachers, parents, students and other professionals related to special education (IPTS – 1,3,5,8,9; CEC 1,2,6,7.1, 7.2, 7.3)

  • 5a. Identify and discuss the general education teachers role in identifying students with exceptionalities. (IPTS 1K,3F,3H,3P,5Q,8Q ; CEC 2,1,7)
  • 5b. Identify and discuss the parents role in identifying students with exceptionalities. (IPTS 1K,3F,3P,8Q; CEC 1.1,6.3)
  • 5c. Identify the role of related service personnel and what each service brings to the team (IPTS 3F,3P,5Q,8I,8Q; CEC 2.1,7.1,7.2,7.3)
  • 5d. Demonstrate the skills needed to communicate effectively with professionals and families. (IPTS 1F,1K,3F,3P,8Q,9L; CEC 1.1,6.3)

6. Identify the issues in definition and identification procedures for individuals with disabilities including those associated with individuals from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds (IPTS – 1,2,6 CEC 1,4,6)

  • Determine which information needs to be collected with a possible exceptionality for a multidisciplinary team meeting. (IPTS 1L,1H;2E CEC 4.1,4.2,4.3)
  • Examine importance of the student’s culture or dialect when making decisions about communication disorders. (IPTS 1A,1E,6C; CEC 1.1,6.3)
  • Define terms related to language development in culturally and linguistically diverse students (IPTS 6C ; CEC 6.3)
  • Describe common misconceptions about how to teach and how to support ELL/ESL students (IPTS 1A,1C,1E,1L; CEC 1.1,6.3)
  • Determine how to assess ELL/ESL students fairly and accurately. (IPTS 1A,1C,1E,2E ;CEC1.1,1.2,4.1,4.2,4.3,6.3)
  • Describe the factors for teaching students form diverse cultural and diverse backgrounds. (IPTS 1A1C,1E,1L,2E,6C; CEC1.1,1.2,6.3)

 7. Identify procedures of assessment, identification and intervention using the Response to Intervention (RtI) approach for individuals who have exceptional needs.(IPTS -3,5,7; CEC 3,4,5,6)

  • 7a. Delineate the three (or four) steps in RTI including components and implementation (IPTS 3G ; CEC42,4.3,4.4)
  • 7b. Use RTI as the means to determine student eligibility for special education services (IPTS 5G,5P,7A,7G,7I,7L; CEC 4.1,
  • 7c. Explain what information each member of the RTI team is responsible for (IPTS 7G,7L,8B ; CEC 4.3)
  • 7d. Examine and discuss the concerns, challenges, and benefits of inclusion (IPTS 5H; CEC,6.2 )
  • 7e. Identify important issues addressed by RTI (IPTS 3G ; CEC 3.1,3.2,3.3,5.1,6.2)
  • 7f.Describe how screening and progress monitoring facilitate RTI (IPTS 3G,5G,5H,5P,7A,7G,7I ; CEC 4.1,4.2)
  • 7g.Describe the role of the teacher in the RTI model (IPTS 5H,8B; CEC4.3,4.4)
  • 7h.Understand how behavior supports and RTI are related (IPTS 5H,5P; CEC 4.2,4.4)

8. Using the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) approach to design instruction to suit diverse learner needs. (IPTS 1, 2,3,5; CEC 1,2,3,4,5)

  • 8a. Determine what accommodations and/or modifications are needed for an exceptionality and/or culturally/linguistically diverse student and apply them to a UDL plan. (IPTS 1H,3A,3H,3K,3L,5A,5C,5E,5F; CEC1.2,3.1,3.3,4.2,5.1)
  • 8b. Create a lesson plan incorporating appropriate accommodations and/or modifications (IPTS 1H, 3N,3A,3H,3I,5A,5C,5E,5F; CEC1.1,1.2,3.1,3.3,5.1,5.2) 
  • 8c. Examine the differences between a UDL lesson plan and a traditional lesson plan. (IPTS1I,3A,3H,5A,5E,5F ; CEC1.2,3.1,3.3)
  • 8d. Identify different areas in the general curriculum, which can be adapted and/or modified to fit the needs of diverse learners. (IPTS 1I,1L,2K,2N,3A,3H,3J,3L,5C,5E,5F : CEC 1.1,1.2,2.1,3.1,3.2,3.3,4.2,5.1)

9. Use technology and assistive technology as an effective tool to assist and accommodate individual needs of students with disabilities (IPTS – 1,2,3,5; CEC 5)

  • 9a. Define assistive technology and its role in the classroom. (IPTS 1G,2L,2O,3E,3N,5O ; CEC 5.2,5.3,5.4)
  • 9b. Determine appropriate assistive technology for a student(s) with exceptionalities (IPTS 1G,2L,2O,3E,3N,5O ; CEC 5.2,5.3,5.4)
  • 9c. Explore technology and its appropriate use for students of varying exceptionality. (IPTS 1G,2L,2O,3E,3N,5O ; CEC 5.2,5.3,5.4)


Weekly Discussions

Candidates will respond to weekly discussion and reflection prompts

  • Course Outcomes 1,2,3,4,5,6,7
  • Standards IPTS 1A, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1L, 1F, 1K, 2E, 3F, 3O, 3P, 4A, 4F, 4I, 4J, 7I, 8G, 8F,8Q,9B,9L; CEC 1.1,1.2,6.1,6.2,6.3,7.1,7.2,7.3

Accommodations and Modifications Project

Candidates will compare accommodations and modifications in a classroom with current research based articles, books, etc.

  • Course Outcomes 3,4,7
  • Standards IPTS 1G, 1J, 2E, 3A, 3E, 3G, 3O, 3Q, 4A, 5C, 5E, 5G, 5H, 5M, 5P, 7A, 7G, 7I, 7L, 8G; CEC 1.2,2.1,2.2,4.2,4.3,4.4,5.1,6.2,7.2,7.3  

F.A.T. City Reflection Paper

Candidates will view the F.A.T. City video and write a 1-2 page reflection paper

  • Course Outcomes 5,7
  • Standards IPTS 1F,1K,3F,3G,3H,3P,5G,5H,5P,5Q,7A,7G,7I,7G,8I,8Q,9L; CEC 1.1,2.1,4.2,4.3,4.4,,6.6,7.1,7.2,7.3

IRIS Modules

Candidates will work through multiple IRIS Modules and respond to assessment questions

  • Course Outcomes 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9
  • Course Outcomes:1A, 1B, 2C, 2D, 3A, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4C, 5A, 5C, 5D, 6A, 6C, 6E, 6F, 7A,7B,7C,7D,7F,7G, 8A, 9C

Disability Website

Candidates will create a virtual resource binder in the form of a website, to place resources to aid you in the assessment and instruction of students who have exceptional or diverse learning needs.

  • Course Outcomes 1,3,4
  • Standards IPTS 1A,1D,1G,1J,2E,2I,3A,3C,3E,3O,3Q,4A,5C,5E,5M,7I,8G; CEC 1.2,2.1,3.3,4.3,6.2,7.2,7.3

UDL Lesson Plan

Candidates will develop a UDL (Universal Design) lesson plan

  • Course Outcomes 8,9
  • Standards IPTS 1H,1I,1L,2K,2N,3A,3I,3J,3K,3L; CEC 1.1,1.2,2.1,2.2,3.1,3.2,3.3,4.2,5.1,5.2

Institutional Policies

Students should use the USF 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 USF 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 Disability 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 Disability 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 Disability Services at 815-740-3631 or [email protected] . The Office of Disability Services is in the Academic Resource Center (ARC) and is located on the second floor of the LaVerne and Dorothy Brown Library in room L214. Consultations are welcome, please contact the Office of Disability Services for an appointment.

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:

Academic Support Services

The Academic Resource Center (ARC) located in Room L214 in the Library (815-740-5060) 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.