Special Education/Moderate Disabilities

This Special Education coursework provides students with the core competencies they need to be able to apply independently to Massachusetts for a license in Moderate Disabilities (PreK-8 or 5-12).

These courses may be taken in any order, at your own pace, with the exception of X.Sped 438: Moderate Disabilities Internship II, which can only be taken after the successful completion of X.Sped 436: Moderate Disabilities Internship I. Enrollment in X.Sped 436: Moderate Disabilities Internship I and X.Sped 438: Moderate Disabilities Internship II is by permission of the instructor only.

How to Apply

Review the application process for programs in Professional and Graduate Education.

Tuition: Please see Graduate Tuition, Fees, and Billing. Scholarships are available.

In order to apply for your additional license, you need to complete all of the courses in this module and complete a State Competency Review, indicating how you have acquired subject matter knowledge for your particular license area, according to the Regulations for Educator Licensure and Preparation Program Approval 603 CMR 7.00.  To complete your review, you will also need to pass certain Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL). Mount Holyoke College advisors will guide you through the process of applying for your additional license in Moderate Disabilities.

Required MTELs

PreK - Grade 8 

  • Communication and Literacy
  • Foundations of Reading or Reading specialist subject matter
  • Elementary General Curriculum multi-subject subtest
  • Elementary Mathematics or Elementary General Curriculum mathematics subtest

 Grades 5-12 

  • Communications and Literacy
  • Foundations of Reading or Reading specialist subject matter
  • Teaching subject test

Course Descriptions

X.EDUC-461 | The Process of Teaching and Learning: Developing Literacy in Early Childhood And Elementary Schools

Offered: Fall

Credits: 4

Description: Through a balanced and integrated approach, students will learn to develop literacy in early childhood/elementary schools. Class members will learn about emergent literacy, diagnosing language needs, integrating phonics skills in a literature-based program, the teaching of process writing, children's fiction and nonfiction literature, and a variety formative and summative ways to assess learning. Course required for spring semester practicum students. Course evaluation is based on written and oral work done individually and in groups. Requires a pre-practicum.

Restrictions: This course is limited to Mount Holyoke MAT, MAMT, and MATL students only

Advisory prerequisites: Requires a field-experience in an educational setting.

Comments: Pre-practicum required

X.SPED-416 | Interventions for Behavior and Classroom Management

Description: In this course students will review research, theories, and practices for responding to challenging behavior. Topics will include establishing effective rules and procedures, classroom-and school-wide behavior management systems, and approaches for addressing individual student behavior and developing relationships with children and support professionals to improve behavior across settings.

Credits: 1

Offered: January Intersession

Format: online

Professional Development Option: Yes

X.SPED-426 | The Inclusive Classroom

Description: This course surveys the etiology, diagnosis, and remediation of learning differences including dyslexia, attention deficit disorder, autism, as well as factors that influence a child's readiness to learn. Students present, discuss, question, and exchange ideas that contribute to an overall understanding of special education in the field. With an emphasis on inclusion in schools, students explore the impact of current policies, assessments, and practices. Students will have the opportunity to examine and practice applying interventions and approaches that support student engagement and prosocial behavior. The focus is on adapting the learning environment, classroom structures, and teaching approach so that all children, regardless of learning strengths and needs are supported to reach their potential and achieve meaningful goals.

Credits: 2

Offered: Summer 2  

Format: limited residency: online with a 5-day campus-based residency 

X.SPED-436 | Moderate Disabilities Internship I: Student Teaching in Self-Contained Classrooms

Offered: Fall  

Credits: 2

Description: Students are expected to complete a supervised field experience of at least 60 hours in a self-contained special education classroom in a public school setting. Placements can be located within or outside of the Five College area. In addition to the field experience component, students attend three course meetings. Reading and writing assignments focus on a survey of learning disabilities, descriptions of special education programs, understanding Individuals with Disabilities Education Act policies and placement options, interpreting Individualized Education Program plans, and planning curriculum for self-contained special education classrooms.

Comments: Credit/no credit grading.

X.SPED-438 | Moderate Disabilities Internship II: Student Teaching in Inclusive and Self-Contained Classrooms

Offered: Spring  

Credits: 3

Description: Students are expected to complete a supervised field experience of at least 100 hours in an inclusive classroom in a public school setting.  Placements can be located within or outside of the Five Colleges area. In addition to the field experience component, students attend weekly course meetings. Reading and writing assignments focus on a survey of learning disabilities, descriptions of special education programs, understanding Individuals with Disabilities Education Act policies and placement options, interpreting Individualized Education Program plans, and planning curriculum for inclusive classrooms.

Comments: Credit/no credit grading.

X.SPED-441 | Differentiated Instruction for Diverse Learners

Description: This course will address the design and modification of curriculum, instructional materials, and general education classroom environments for students with moderate disabilities. Students will learn ways to prepare and maintain students with disabilities to succeed in general education classrooms, to monitor academic and behavioral progress, and to make instructional decisions accordingly. Students will experiment with a variety of technological tools for teaching PreK-12 such as applications and web-based tools for student engagement and progress monitoring. Coverage will include instruction on assistive technology, including AAC, to support students with disabilities to learn in the least restrictive environment.

Credits: 2

Offered: Summer 2  

Format: limited residency 

X.SPED-471 | Legal Perspectives in Special Education

Description:This course will review state and federal laws and regulations that represent the requirements for special education. Participants will be introduced to concepts including educational terminology for students with mild to moderate disabilities; preparation, implementation, and evaluation of Individualized Education Programs (IEPs); review of federal and state laws and regulations pertaining to special education and the history of special education

Credits: 1

Offered: January Intersession

Format: online

Professional Development Option: Yes

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X.SPED-481 | Special Education Law: Transitions, Collaboration, and Applications

Description: This course will review state and federal laws and regulations which governing special education and their implications, including preparation, and evaluation of Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), knowledge of transition services and services provided by other agencies, strategies for building and maintaining collaborative partnerships with team members, the role of families in advocacy and planning, and cultural variables that influence school culture and accessibility.

Credits: 2

Offered: Summer 2  

Format: online