Special Education Courses at Ashford University

Learn to enhance the academic experience for all students through these courses which are central to the Master of Arts in Special Education at Ashford University. Through your classes, you will confront the challenges faced by students with disabilities, and use your special education skills to help them overcome those obstacles. Courses focus on behavior management, cognitive skills, and developing learning strategies.


Special Education Class Descriptions and Credit Information

ESE 315 Survey of Exceptional Students

3 Credits

An investigation into the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors needed to identify and instruct students with disabilities in varied school settings. Attention will be given to the variety of students that special educators are likely to come into contact with. Students will examine the issues of providing services to identified individuals within and outside school settings. 

ESE 370 Learning & the Brain

3 Credits

Teaching and learning issues within a cognitive processes context are explored. This course covers the study of emotion, memory, and recall as well as early brain development and its relationship to learning. 

ESE 601 Students with Exceptionalities in the School Setting

3 Credits

This course provides an introduction to the education of students in the school setting with exceptional needs, specifically those with mild to moderate disabilities, who qualify for services under one or more of the eligibility criteria covered by special education federal laws. Special education key terms and common strategies that influence learning and behavior as well as ethical and legal privacy rights of families of children with disabilities are introduced. Additionally, variations, characteristics, and patterns of individual differences in learning and academic progress are investigated.

ESE 603 Law & Ethics in Special Education

3 Credits

Law & Ethics in Special Education explores the fundamental civil and legal principals and pivotal legislation that contribute to the placement, instruction, service delivery, and privacy issues of those who have a qualifying disability under federal laws. Learners will identify critical issues that may lead to ethical and legal conflicts of interdisciplinary team participants as well as proactive strategies for resolution. Furthermore, the course offers multiple opportunities for analysis of personal biases regarding professional ethics and practice standards. Prerequisite: ESE 601.

ESE 610 Assessment & Evaluation of Students with Mild to Moderate Disabilities

3 Credits

Assessment & Evaluation of Students with Mild to Moderate Disabilities provides a comprehensive examination of the assessment and evaluation cycle employed within the special education process. During this course, learners will distinguish the special educator’s role within the multidisciplinary assessment process including how the evaluative data drives the planning and development of an individualized program. Additionally, the mandatory safeguards that assure ethical evaluation and assessment practices do not discriminate on the basis of race, culture, or native language are examined.

ESE 631 Survey of the Exceptional Child

3 Credits

This course provides an introduction to the education of students with diverse learning abilities and styles, including children with mental retardation, physical disabilities, learning disabilities, those identified as gifted and talented, and those diagnosed as having attention deficit disorder. These and other disabilities and special abilities are explored with a focus on the identification of individual differences in development and learning, and risk factors associated with exceptionalities. Developmental variations and patterns of these exceptionalities are examined along with the educational support strategies, the effects on the family and the rights of children. 

ESE 633 Collaborative Relationships & Transition

3 Credits

This course focuses on effective education-based collaboration strategies for special educators who have multiple roles and serve numerous functions when designing and implementing developmentally appropriate and challenging learning experiences for students with a disability. As the special educator job is multifaceted, additional focus is on formulating a team-centered framework that provides academic support for various service delivery models. Additionally, candidates will learn how to effectively collaborate through verbal, written, and digital communication with collaborative transition team members who enable students to meet 21st century standards post-high school completion. 

ESE 634 Education-Based Collaborative Relationships

3 Credits

This course focuses on collaboration strategies for special educators in the school environment who work with other professionals, services providers, and families of students with mild to moderate disabilities. Emphasis is placed on educators who provide academic support for various service delivery models. Communication, teamwork, and strategies for dealing effectively with conflict are emphasized. Prerequisite: ESE 601.

ESE 645 Lesson Design for Students with Mild to Moderate Disabilities

3 Credits

This course explores the methods of effective instructional planning, lesson design, and teaching strategies for students with mild to moderate disabilities. Learners will develop quality differentiated instruction techniques for various student profiles. Additionally, learners will create individualized goals and objectives for students with disabilities. Prerequisite: ESE 601.

ESE 656 Positive Behavior Supports in the Classroom

3 Credits

This course introduces the underpinnings of behavior theory and offers real-world strategies for the 21st-century classroom that assist today’s educators in meeting the needs of students with mild to moderate disabilities. Behavior functions and modifications as well as various methods of observation and documentation are emphasized. Diverse cultural and environmental factors contributing to student behavior are also examined. Prerequisite: ESE 601.

ESE 665 Instructional Planning for Differentiated Student Needs

3 Credits

Instructional Planning for Differentiated Student Needs addresses how to use evidence-based differentiated strategies and materials that incorporate cultural schemata (e.g., personal experiences, language norms, and family belief systems) to meet the progressive needs of 21st-century education. Students will design instructional materials that align with state standards, investigate assessment methods to address a variety of learning styles, and apply strategies that promote critical thinking and incorporate digital tools and resources. 

ESE 668 Evidenced-Based Instructional Methods for Students with Mild to Moderate Disabilities

3 Credits

In this course, learners will explore multiple aspects of curriculum design and delivery, apply their knowledge of the characteristics of varying disabilities, and create meaningful classroom instruction that aligns with curriculum, standards, and individualized education program goals. Data-driven instruction derived from individualized assessment results will be accessed and applied to instructional methods. Emphasis will be placed on evidence-based instructional strategies including collaboration with service providers to best meet the academic needs of students with mild to moderate disabilities. Prerequisite: ESE 601.

ESE 691 Behavior Management in the Classroom

3 Credits

This course provides strategies for changing inappropriate behaviors and prompting the acquisition of adaptive behaviors through positive management procedures. Designed to provide the teacher practical “how to” skills in classroom management, modification of behavior, and other management skills directed toward establishing an environment of learning. 

ESE 697 Characteristics of Students with Mild & Moderate Disabilities & Evidenced-Based Strategies for Instruction

3 Credits

This course investigates the characteristics of students with mild and moderate, high-incidence disabilities (LD, EBD, ID), as well as the most effective strategies for teaching students with these disabilities. The central focus of the course is to design quality instruction to meet the needs of a range of learners in an inclusive classroom, as well as to leverage effective approaches and strategies to teaching and assessing students with disabilities.