Describe and assess the impact of language development and listening comprehension on academic and non-academic learning of students with disabilities.

Required Texts:

Diamond, L. & Thorsnes, B.J. (Eds). (2008). Assessing reading: Multiple measures for kindergarten through twelfth grade (2nd ed.). Novato, Ca: Arena Press.

Honig, B., Diamond, L., Gutlohn, L. & Cole, C. (2013). Teaching reading sourcebook (2nd ed.). Novato, Ca: Arena Press.

Moats, L. & Tolman, C. (2009). The challenge of learning to read (2nd ed.). Language essentials for teachers of reading and spelling. Longmont, Co: Sopris-West.

Moats, L. (2009). The sounds of English: Phonetics, phonology, and phoneme awareness (2nd ed). Language essentials for teachers of reading and spelling. Longmont, Co: Sopris-West.

Moats, L. (2009). Spellography for teachers: How English spelling works (2nd ed). Language essentials for teachers of reading and spelling. Longmont, Co: Sopris-West.

Course Description:

The focus of this course is on high-incidence disabilities, specifically learning disabilities and language disorders encountered in general and special education environments. Specific emphasis will be on the understanding of characteristics and interventions that support these types of students. The course will also emphasize research based instructional strategies and accommodations for students with high incidence disabilities. Field experiences are required.

This course is an important foundation for being an effective and efficient learning support teacher and supporting the learning needs of students in other disability categories as well. Therefore, the following assessments and activity requirements are designed to demonstrate that you have advanced understanding in the practice of programming and instructing students with learning disabilities.

To be successful in this course you will need to place yourself in the mindset of doing EXCELLENT work. Simply completing the assignments is not sufficient to earn an A in this course. The work that is expected in the course project is work that is expected of every special educator.

Course Goals

· Recognize and explain basic assessment and statistical concepts relative to identification of students with high incidence disabilities

· Identify the etiologies and medical aspects of various diagnoses affecting individuals with disabilities in order to contribute to effective program planning.

· Recognize patterns of typical behavioral milestones and how patterns of students with disabilities may be different, and plan effectively for positive teaching of appropriate behaviors that facilitate learning.

· Identify the screening, pre-referral, and classification process and placement procedures.

· Consider the implications of language development in working with students with disabilities.

· Describe and assess the impact of language development and listening comprehension on academic and non-academic learning of students with disabilities.

· Demonstrate a conceptual understanding of the components of reading and describe how these areas pose challenges for students with disabilities

· Become familiar with a four-processor model of reading (context, meaning, phonological and orthographic) and understand that reading depends on language proficiency.

· Explain the relationship between phoneme awareness, phonological processing, and phonics.

· Clearly articulate and model the use of explicit and systematic instruction in the teaching of content area literacy for all students with disabilities across all reading levels.

· Identify effective instructional strategies to address areas of need.

· Identify methods to increase knowledge and pedagogical skills through participation in meaningful professional development.

· Identify and implement differentiated instructional strategies through the use of matching appropriate strategies to student characteristics, integrating student initiated learning opportunities and experiences into ongoing instruction, e.g., universally designed approaches.

· Identify methods to facilitate educational progress and include all students using the Standards Aligned System



For each week, please come to class prepared to discuss the readings and/or websites. You should interact with the readings actively, just as you teach your students to do the same.


There will be regular quizzes on material from class and the readings. You will generally be informed when there will be a quiz (as stated in the syllabus). You may use any of your class resources to complete these quizzes. However, if waning class participation leads me to believe that students are not completing the assigned readings, there may be unannounced quizzes. Quizzes must be completed on D2L before class begins on the day they are due.

Article Reviews

You will be expected to review two articles from peer-reviewed journals in the field of learning disabilities. The reviews should be 2-3 pages. You should also be prepared to briefly discuss your review with the class. The first review should be from a practice-based journal. Teaching Exceptional Children is a great example of a practice-oriented journal. These types of articles explain teaching strategies or discuss current practices for teachers. Attach a copy of the article to your review.

The second review should be from a scholarly article. Scholarly articles are in journals such as Exceptional Children, Remedial and Special Education; Behavior Disorders, etc. The key to look for is whether the journal has pictures – if it does, it’s very unlikely that it is a scholarly, peer-reviewed journal. The scholarly article may be a literature review, a study, or a “talk piece.”

To pick a topic for your reviews, look at the course schedule topics list below:

· Concept of Specific Learning Disability – Is it a construct worth saving?

· Interventions for Students ADHD

· Increasing Reading Fluency

· Enhancing Reading Comprehension

· Speech Disorders

· Instruction for Students with Language Disorders

· Written Expression

· Spelling

· Dyslexia (Be careful with this one! The definition is not what you probably think it is!)

· Dyscalculia

· Dysgraphia

· Learned Helplessness

· Direct Instruction

· Emotional & Behavioral Supports for Students with LD

· Learning Strategy Development and Use

· Graphic Organizers

· Mnemonic Devices

· Response to Intervention

· Other topics by approval

Choose one topic that interest you and then search ERIC or PsychInfo using the library databases for articles in the area.

When reviewing the paper ask yourself how the topic relates to students with learning disabilities and what the implications are for students and teachers. The topic MUST be related to students with high-incidence disabilities. Do not pick a topic about students with severe disabilities autism. If you’re in doubt, clear it with one of us first.

On the day you turn in the review, be prepared to share your paper with another student or the class during a discussion at the beginning of class.

Formal Assessment Project

In this project you are required to identify a (real) student identified with, or at-risk for a high incidence disability. You will administer a formal assessment as well as informal assessment measures. You will analyze assessment data and make instructional recommendations based on your findings.

My hope is that the final product of this assignment will look similar to an artifact that would serve as evidence that a teacher or school psychologist would bring to an Individualized Educational Program (IEP) meeting and/or a multi-tiered system of support team meeting. The evidence provided in this product will support and justify your instructional decisions, as well as your professional opinions regarding a student’s academic, social, and/or behavioral performance. Finally, the final product will be in a format that can be reviewed by other individuals on the multidisciplinary or IEP team, so they may collaborate on decisions regarding the whole child.


1. Identify a student who has been identified with, or at-risk for a high incidence disability in your placement to assess.

2. Determine what formal screening assessment to administer.

3. Determine what two diagnostic assessment measures you plan to use (From Assessing Reading: Multiple Measures).

1. You will choose two assessments based on the level of the student and your initial assessment of the student’s needs (see pp. 14-15 in Assessing Reading for a flowchart to determine which assessments to use. If you’re working with postsecondary learners use the 4-12 chart).

4. Plan how and when you will administer the first assessments.

5. Administer assessment and collect data.

6. Analyze the assessment data.

7. Summarize how the student performed on the assessment (BE SPECIFIC!! Provide statements regarding strengths displayed and area for growth).

8. Based on your data analysis, formulate a behavioral goal for the student in order to facilitate growth in an area requiring growth. Make sure the goal is written in a way that it will be clear when the student has met the goal (i.e., observable and measurable).

1. C – Condition

2. N – Name of Student

3. B – Observable Behavior

4. C – Criterion for Goal Completion

9. Using your goal, list benchmarks you want the student to meet in order to show progress is being made towards the goal.

1. B – Observable Behavior

· Successive approximations towards that behavior

10. *Write lesson plans (i.e., design instruction) that specifically targets the first benchmark. Note: The lessons plans you include here are the ones from Project #2 – Language Based Lesson Plans.

11. Teach the lesson plans and document the outcomes.

12. Following a period of instruction (E.g., one week of targeted lesson plans), re-assess your student to find out if/what progress has been made as a result of your instruction. Collect assessment data. NOTE: For formal assessments this is not enough time to provide reliable data – this is an exercise to teach you the procedures.

13. Analyze your data. Consider how it compares to the data you collected and analyzed at the beginning of the project (i.e., steps 4 and 5).

14. Using your findings, determine what criterion was met, if any. If no progress has been demonstrated, develop a hypotheses as to why the student is not progressing. Consider redesigning your instructional strategies and/or supports.

15. Plan your next step of instruction for the student based on his or her present level of performance.

16. Write additional lesson plans targeting the student’s new benchmark.

17. Go through steps 10-15 as many times as necessary to meet the goal formulated in step 7.

Final Product to Include:

Place all of the following materials in a 3-ring binder with dividers.

Section One: Contextual Information

Summary of Student Information.

· Length parameters: No more than 1.5 pages, no less than two paragraphs.

· Environment Analysis. There is a template that will guide your analysis. Length parameters: No more than1.5 pages, no less than whatever is required to complete the form (i.e., address each of the specified points, even if it is with “Not applicable”).

Section Two: Baseline Data

· Administer Assessments.

· Write a summary describing (a) the instruments(s) used to assess the student, (b) why the instrument(s) was chosen, (c) technical information about the assessment(s) (e.g., reliability, validity), (d) how cultural bias was minimized by the instrument(s), and possible limitations to the instrument(s).

Raw Data: Baseline data (i.e., data reflecting where the student was performing prior to intervention), progress monitoring data, and final assessment data is to be submitted. Data collection forms, permanent products, and/or observational (anecdotal) data are expected.

Data Analysis: An analysis of your data is to be presented in the form of a summary of findings (you may use a Data Triangulation form and/or a graphical representation (e.g., histogram, pie chart).

Section Three: Intervention

· Formulate and write an intervention/instructional goal. The goal is to be written in observable and measurable terms and show direct connection to the overall goal. Include a time frame (i.e., after how many instructional opportunities) for when the benchmark/objective is to be met by the student. Use CNBC format.

· Lesson Plan. Present no fewer than three lesson plans designed to each benchmark/objective.

· Monitor Progress. Collect data on the outcomes of your lesson plans designed to target instruction on prescribed benchmarks/objectives. Include your data with its corresponding lesson plan.

Section Four: Analysis and Implications

· Analyze progress monitoring data.

· Summarize your progress monitoring data.

· Determine how your instruction has impacted the student’s learning by comparing your intervention data to your baseline assessment data.

· Length parameters: No more than 1.5 pages, no less than one paragraph.

· Based on your data, delineate what additional steps are necessary for the student to be successful in meeting the overall instructional goal. Does the student require continued targeted instruction? Does the student require a referral to the multidisciplinary team for further evaluation?

Language Based Lesson Plans – Field Based Experience

For this project, we will have workshops in class in which you will develop a broad unit of study to address language needs of students with high incidence disabilities. You will use an individual or group of students with a high incidence disability in language. The lesson plan may be course-based or may be developed as a tutorial for an individual student who needs explicit instruction in one or more of the following areas:

1) Phonological Development

2) Phonics

3) Morphological Development

4) Semantics

5) Syntax

6) Pragmatics

If you have difficulty finding a student in the K-12 environment, you may choose to work with a student through Shippensburg’s Learning Center or support a student who is an English Language Learner.

We will discuss this project in more depth at our class on February 15th.

Scoring Rubric for Final Project

Student Name: _____________________________________

Section One: (10 points)

_____Summary of Student Information (6 points)

_____Information listed included: age, sex, student preferences as observed

_____Environmental Analysis (4 points)

_____Detailed information about the environment (4 points)

Section Two: (50 points)

_____Assessment Administered (12 points)

_____Information about instrument used to assess student (2 points)

_____Discuss why the instrument was chosen (2 points)

_____Describe the technical soundness of instrument (2 points)