Students are expected to learn the following within the Special Education Assistant program:

  1. Foundations
    • Identify models, theories, and philosophies that form the basis for special education practice.
    • Explain laws, policies, and ethical principles regarding both behavior management planning and implementation.
    • Describe the relationship of special education to the organization and function of educational agencies.
    • Identify the rights and responsibilities of students, parents, teachers, and other professionals, and schools related to exceptional learning needs.
    • Describe issues in definition and identification of individuals with exceptional learning needs, including those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
    • Explain issues, assurances, and due process rights related to assessment, eligibility, and placement within a continuum of services.
    • Evaluate family systems and the role of families in the educational process.
    • Explain historical points of view and contribution of culturally diverse groups.
    • Identify the impact of the dominant culture on shaping schools and the individuals who study and work in them.
    • Describe the potential impact of differences in values, languages, and customs that can exist between the home and the school.

  2. Development and Characteristics of Learners
    • Identify typical and atypical human growth and development.
    • Explain educational implications of characteristics of various exceptionalities.
    • Identify characteristics and effects of the cultural and environmental milieu of the individual with exceptional learning needs and the family.
    • Describe family systems and the role of families in supporting development.
    • Compare and contrast the similarities and differences of individuals with exceptional learning needs.
    • Describe the effects of various medications on individuals with exceptional learning needs.

  3. Individual Learning Differences
    • Determine the effects an exceptional condition (or conditions) can have on an individual's life.
    • Explain the impact of learners' academic and social abilities, attitudes, interests, and values on instruction and career development.
    • Compare variations in beliefs, traditions, and values across and within cultures and their effects on relationships among individuals with exceptional learning needs, their family, and on schooling.
    • Compare cultural perspectives influencing the relationships among families, schools, and communities as related to instruction.
    • Identify differing ways of learning of individuals with exceptional learning needs including those from culturally diverse backgrounds and strategies for addressing these differences.

  4. Instructional Strategies
    • Use appropriate strategies to facilitate integration into various settings.
    • Teach individuals to use self-assessment, problem solving, and other cognitive strategies to meet their needs.
    • Select, adapt, and use instructional strategies and materials according to characteristics of the individual with exceptional learning needs.
    • Use strategies to facilitate maintenance and generalization of skills across learning environments.
    • Use procedures to increase the individual's self-awareness, self-management, self-control, self-reliance, and self-esteem.
    • Use strategies that promote successful transitions for individuals with exceptional learning needs.

  5. Learning Environments and Social Interaction
    • Describe the demands of learning environments.
    • Use basic classroom management theories and strategies for individuals with exceptional learning needs.
    • Apply effective management of teaching and learning.
    • Explain teacher attitudes and behaviors that influence behavior of individuals with exceptional learning needs.
    • Demonstrate social skills needed for educational and other environments.
    • Identify strategies for crisis prevention and intervention.
    • Explain strategies for preparing individuals to live harmoniously and productively in a culturally diverse world.
    • Describe ways to create learning environments that allow individuals to retain and appreciate their own and each other's respective language and cultural heritage.
    • Describe ways specific cultures are negatively stereotyped.
    • Identify strategies used by diverse populations to cope with a legacy of former and continuing racism.

  6. Language and Communication
    • Explain effects of cultural and linguistic differences on growth and development.
    • Identify characteristics of one's own culture and use of language, and the ways these can differ from other cultures and uses of languages.
    • Describe ways of behaving and communicating among cultures that can lead to misinterpretation and misunderstanding.
    • Use augmentative, alternative, and assistive communication strategies.

  7. Instructional Planning
    • Explain theories and research that form the basis of curriculum development and instructional practice.
    • Identify scope and sequences of general and special curricula.
    • Apply national, state or provincial, and local curricula standards.
    • Use technology for planning and managing the teaching and learning environment.
    • Identify the roles and responsibilities of the paraeducator related to instruction, intervention, and direct service.

  8. Assessment
    • Apply basic terminology used in assessment.
    • Explain legal provisions and ethical principles regarding assessment of individuals.
    • Describe the screening, pre-referral, referral, and classification procedures.
    • Explain the uses and limitations of assessment instruments.
    • Describe national, state or provincial, and local accommodations and modifications.

  9. Professional and Ethical Practice
    • Explore personal cultural biases and differences that affect one's teaching.
    • Explain the importance of the teacher serving as model for individuals with exceptional learning needs.
    • Describe the importance of the continuum of lifelong professional development.
    • Describe methods to remain current regarding research-validated practice.

  10. Collaboration
    • Use models and strategies of collaboration and consultation.
    • Identify roles of individuals with exceptional learning needs, families, school and community personnel in planning of an individualized program.
    • Describe concerns of families of individuals with exceptional learning needs and strategies to help address these concerns.
    • Explain culturally responsive factors that promote effective communication and collaboration with individuals of exceptional learning needs, families, school personnel, and community members.