The Exceptional Child

I.     Course Prefix/Number: ECE 180

       Course Name: The Exceptional Child

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

ECE 102 with a minimum grade of C or consent of instructor or department chair.

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course provides an overview of educational and evidence-based strategies supporting children with exceptional cognitive, social, physical, and emotional needs.  Identification, intervention strategies, methods, and programs to meet the needs of children are presented.  Study of applicable federal and state laws and requirements conducted, including:  Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Individualized Family Service Plan, Individualized Education Programs, and inclusive programming.  Fulfills requirements of School Code 25.25.  Field observations required.

IV.   Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of the course, students who satisfactorily complete all work will be able to:

  1. Discuss the federal, state, and local disability rights legislation, anti-discrimination laws, and the history of specialized education. (NAEYC 6b)
  2. Explain the importance of early intervention for children with special needs and their families. (NAEYC 3a, 4b)
  3. Identify the cause and characteristics of basic disabilities as they affect children and adolescents, ages birth through 21. )NAEYC 1a, 1b; IPTS 1A, 1D)
  4. Identify characteristics and needs of children from families experiencing stress, and develop a supportive curriculum that responds to their needs. (NAEYC 1a, 2a, 2b; IPTS 3C, 8D)
  5. Identify strategies that meet the developmental needs of children from diverse cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds. (NAEYC 1a, 1b, 2a; IPTS 1A)
  6. Describe methods of early identification, diagnosis and assessment of children with special needs. (NAEYC 3a, 3b, 3c; IPTS 7A)
  7. Describe the components of Individual Educational Programs and Individualized Family Service Plans for children with special needs. (NAEYC 5b)
  8. Discuss how disability and /or exceptionality affect young children’s self-esteem, educational performance, and social interactions. (NAEYC 1a; IPTS 1C)
  9. Describe factors affecting families of exceptional children and identify intervention techniques that could be used to support families. (NAEYC 21, 2b, 2c; IPTS 8H)
  10. Identify community agencies to which families with exceptional children may be referred, as well as understand the interaction of these agencies and their impact on the family. (NAEYC 2a, 2c; IPTS 8A, 8E)
  11. Describe the role of the professional in curriculum planning and implementation for children with special needs and in promoting inclusiveness in the early childhood classroom. (NAEYC 4a, 4b, 4c; IPTS 3A)
  12. Cite a variety of delivery systems for services developed for children with special needs. (NAEYC 4b, 6d)

In addition to the objectives listed above, this course also meets the following Illinois Professional Teaching Standards and National Association for the Education of Young Children standards.

IPTS Standards

STANDARD 1 – Teaching Diverse Students – The competent teacher understands the diverse characteristics and abilities of each student and how individuals develop and learn within the context of their social, economic, cultural, linguistic, and academic experiences. The teacher uses these experiences to create instructional opportunities that maximize student learning.

Knowledge indicators – The competent teacher:
1A) understands the spectrum of student diversity (e.g. race and ethnicity, socioeconomic status, special education, gifted, English language learners (ELL), sexual orientation, gender, (gender identity) and the assets that each student brings to leaning across the curriculum;
1B) understands how each student constructs knowledge, acquires skills, and develops effective and efficient critical thinking and problem-solving capabilities.
1C) understands how teaching and student learning are influenced by development (physical, social and emotional, cognitive, linguistic), past experiences, talents, prior knowledge, economic circumstances and diversity within the community;
1D) understands the impact of cognitive, emotional, physical, and sensory disabilities on learning and communication pursuant to the Individual with Disabilities Education Improvement Act) also referred to as “IDEA”) (20 USC 1400 et seq.),m its implementing regulations (34 CFR 300; 2006), Article 14 of the School Code [105 ILCS 5/Art.14] and 23 Ill. Adm. Code 226 (Special Education);
1F) understands his or her personal perspectives and biases and their effects on one’s teaching;
1G) understands how to identify individual needs and how to locate and access technology, services, and resources to address those needs.

STANDARD 2 – Content Area and Pedagogical Knowledge – The competent teacher has an in-depth understanding of content area knowledge that includes central concepts, methods, structures of the disciplines, and content area literacy. The teacher creates meaningful learning experiences for each student based upon interactions among content area and pedagogical knowledge, and evidence-based practice.

Knowledge indicators – The competent teacher:
2A) understands theories and philosophies of learning and human development as they relate to the range of students in the classroom;
2B) understands major concepts, assumptions, debates, and principles; processes of inquiry; and theories that are central to the disciplines;
2C) understands the cognitive processes associated with various kinds of learning (e.g. critical and creative thinking, problem-structuring and problem-solving, invention, memorization, and recall) and ensures attention to these learning processes so that students can master content standards;
2D) understands the relationship of knowledge within the disciplines to other content areas and to life applications;
2E) understands how diverse student characteristics and abilities affect processes of inquiry and influence patterns of learning;
2F) knows how to access the tools and knowledge related to latest findings (e.g. research, practice, methodologies) and technologies in the disciplines.
2G) understands the theory behind and the process for providing support to promote learning when concepts and skills are first being introduced; and
2H) understands the relationship among language acquisition (first and second), literacy development, and acquisition of academic content and skills.

STANDARD 3 – Planning for Differentiated Instruction – The competent teacher plans and designs instruction based on content area knowledge, diverse student characteristics, student performance data, curriculum goals, and the community context. The teacher plans for ongoing student growth and achievement.

Knowledge indicators – The competent teacher:
3A) understands the Illinois Learning Standards (23 Ill. Adm. Code 1. Appendix D), curriculum development process, content, learning theory, assessment, and student development and knows how to incorporate this knowledge in planning differentiated instruction;
3C) understands cultural, linguistic, cognitive, physical, and social and emotional differences, and considers the needs of each student when planning instruction.
3E) understands the appropriate role of technology, including assistive technology, to address student needs, as well as how to incorporate contemporary tools and resources to maximize student learning.

STANDARD 4 – Learning Environment – The competent teacher structures a safe and healthy learning environment that facilitates cultural and linguistic responsiveness, emotional well-being, self-efficacy, positive social interaction, mutual respect, active engagement, academic risk-taking, self-motivation, and personal goal-setting.

Knowledge indicators – The competent teacher:
4E) knows how to assess the instructional environment to determine how best to meet a student’s individual needs.

STANDARD 5 – Instructional Delivery – The competent teacher differentiates instruction by using a variety of strategies that support critical and creative thinking, problem-solving, and continuous growth and learning. This teacher understands that the classroom is a dynamic environment requiring ongoing modification of instruction to enhance learning for each student.

Knowledge indicator – The competent teacher:
5A) understands the cognitive processes associated with various kinds of learning.
5E) knows techniques for modifying instructional methods, materials, and the environment to facilitate learning for students with divers learning characteristics;

STANDARD 7 – Assessment – The competent teacher understands and uses appropriate formative and summative assessment for determining student needs, monitoring student progress, measuring student growth, and evaluating student outcomes. The teacher makes decisions driven by data about curricular and instructional effectiveness and adjusts practices to meet the needs of each student.

Knowledge indicators – the competent teacher:
7A) understands the purposes, characteristics, and limitations of different types of assessments, including standardized assessments, universal screening, curriculum-based assessment, and progress monitoring tools;
7B) understands that assessment is a means of evaluating how students learn and what they know and are able to do in order to meet the Illinois Learning Standards.
7H) knows legal provisions, rules, and guidelines regarding assessment and assessment accommodations for all student populations.

STANDARD 8 – Collaborative Relationships – The competent teacher builds and maintains collaborative relationships to foster cognitive, linguistic, physical, and social and emotional development. This teacher works as a team member with professional colleagues, students, parents or guardians, and community members.

Knowledge Indicators – The competent teacher:
8A) understands school as organization with the larger community context;
8B) understands the collaborative process and the skills necessary to initiate and carry out that process.
8D) understands the benefits, barriers, and techniques involved in parent and family collaborations;
8E) understands school- and work-based learning environments and the need for collaboration with all organizations (e.g. businesses, community agencies, nonprofit organizations) to enhance student learning.
8F) understands the importance of participating on collaborative and problem-solving teams to create effective academic and behavioral interventions for all students.
8H) understands concerns of families of students with disabilities and knows appropriate strategies to collaborate with students and their families in addressing these concerns;
8I) understands the roles and the importance of including students with disabilities, as appropriate, and all team members in planning individualized education programs (i.e., IEP, ISFP, Section 504 plan) for students with disabilities.

STANDARD 9 – Professionalism, Leadership, and Advocacy – The competent teacher is an ethical and reflective practitioner who exhibits professionalism; provides leadership in the learning community; and advocates for students, parents or guardians, and the profession.

Knowledge Indicators – The competent teacher:
9A) evaluates best practices and research-based materials against benchmarks within the disciplines;
9H) understands the importance of modeling appropriate dispositions in the classroom.

NAEYC Standards

STANDARD 1. Promoting Child Development and Learning
Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs are grounded in a child development knowledge base. They use their understanding of young children’s characteristics and needs, and of multiple interacting influences on children’s development and learning, to create environments that are healthy, respectful, supportive, and challenging for each child.

Key elements of STANDARD 1
1A) Knowing and understanding young children’s characteristics and needs, from birth through age 8
1B) Knowing and understanding the multiple influences on early development and learning
1C) Using developmental knowledge to create healthy, respectful, supportive, and challenging learning environments for young children.

STANDARD 2 – Building Family and Community Relationships
Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs understand that successful early childhood education depends upon partnerships with children’s families and communities. They know about, understand, and value the importance and complex characteristics of children’s families and communities. They use this understanding to create respectful, reciprocal relationships that support and empower families, and to involve all families in their children’s development and learning.

Key elements of STANDARD 2
2B) Supporting and engaging families and communities through respectful, reciprocal relationships.
2C) Involving families and communities in young children’s development and learning.

STANDARD 3. Observing, Documenting, and Assessing to Support Young Children and Families
Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs understand that child observation, documentation, and other forms of assessment are central to the practice of all early childhood professionals. They know about and understand the goals, benefits and uses of assessment. They know about and use systematic observations, documentation, and other effective assessment strategies in a responsible way, in partnership with families and other professionals, to positively influence the development of every child.

Key elements of STANDARD 3
3A) Understanding the goals, benefits, and uses of assessment – including its use in development of appropriate goals, curriculum, and teaching strategies for young children.
3B) Knowing about and using observation, documentation, and other appropriate assessment tools and approaches, including the use of technology in documentation, assessment and data collection
3D) Knowing about assessment partnerships with families and with professional colleagues to build effective learning environments.

STANDARD 4. Using Developmentally Effective Approaches
Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs understand that teaching and learning with young children is a complex enterprise, and its details vary depending on children’s ages, characteristics, and the settings within which teaching and learning occur.

Key elements of STANDARD 4
4A) Understanding positive relationships and supportive interactions as the foundation of their work with young children
4B) Knowing and understanding effective strategies and tools for early education, including appropriate uses of technology
4C) Using a broad repertoire of developmentally appropriate teaching/learning approaches

STANDARD 5 – Using Content Knowledge to Build Meaning Curriculum
Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs use their knowledge of academic disciplines to design, implement, and evaluate experiences that promote positive development and learning for each and every young child. Candidates understand the importance of developmental domains and academic (or content) disciplines in early childhood curriculum. They know the essential concepts, inquiry tools, and structure of content areas, including academic subjects, and can identify resources to deepen their understanding. Candidates use their own knowledge and other resources to design, implement, and evaluate meaningful, challenging curriculum that promotes comprehensive developmental and learning outcomes for every young child.

Key elements of STANDARD 5
5C) Using own knowledge, appropriate early learning standards, and other resources to design, implement, and evaluate developmentally meaningful and challenging curriculum for each child.

STANDARD 6. Becoming a Professional
Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs identify and conduct themselves as members or the early childhood profession. They know and use ethical guidelines and other professional standards related to early childhood practice. They are continuous, collaborative learners who demonstrate knowledgeable, reflective and critical perspectives on their work, making informed decisions that integrate knowledge from a variety of sources. They are informed advocates for sound educational practices and policies.

Key elements of STANDARD 6
6A) Identifying and involving oneself with the early childhood field
6B) Knowing about and upholding ethical standards and other early childhood professional guidelines
6E) Engaging in informed advocacy for young children and the early childhood profession.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at
www.oakton.edu/studentlife/student-handbook.pdf

VI.   Sequence of Topics

History of special education
Issues in special education. Labeling, least restrictive environment, public law 94-142
I.E.P.S. Role of special education teachers and parents, other professionals involved
Mainstreaming
Early Childhood Special Education – Diagnosis, Assessment, Curriculum
Mental Retardation
Gifted
Visual impairment
Hearing impairment
Speech and language disorders
Physically/orthopedically disabled
Medical disorders
Learning disabilities
Behavior disorders

VII.  Methods of Instruction

This course will be conducted on a lecture/discussion basis.  The text will be augmented by readings, films, guest speakers, small group activities and observations.
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid, or on line course.

The instructor will provide each class with further information as to attendance, policies, and support services.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Quizzes, mid-term and final exams.

XI.   Other Course Information

The instructor will provide each class with further information as to attendance, policies, and support services.

Plagiarism/Cheating policies are covered under point V in this syllabus.



If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at www.oakton.edu/title9/.

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at www.oakton.edu/lgbtq.