General Course Information for SPD646: PBS, Comm & Social Skills M/S

Course: SPD646 - PBS, Comm & Social Skills M/S
Textbook: For the correct edition of the textbook assigned to a specific class, go to:

Course Description:

This course prepares candidates to meet the communication, behavior, and social skill needs of students with moderate/severe disabilities. Candidates conduct behavioral assessments and plan behavior interventions for the behavioral needs of these students. They learn strategies to meet the communicative needs of their students, including using AAC devices. Methods for improving social skills of these students in all settings are presented. Collaboration, assistive technology, and functional communication training are emphasized.

Course Learning Outcomes:
  • Integrate and apply the knowledge and skills needed to create safe and healthy learning environments that facilitate the positive behavior, communication and social skills of students with moderate/severe disabilities.
  • Develop the knowledge and skills to assess student behavior, determine the function of problem behavior, provide secondary and tertiary prevention strategies using positive behavior support (PBS), as well as develop a functional communication training (FCT) system.
  • Integrate and apply the knowledge and skills to work collaboratively with parents (including those from ELL backgrounds) and other stakeholders to assess the communication needs of their students.
  • Become familiar with the various AAC systems and their use, including PECS.
  • Integrate and apply the knowledge and skills to implement various social skill interventions to develop the social skills of their students and facilitate social relationships.
Course Requirements:

Complete assigned readings and participate in class discussions and activities. Literature Review using 5-7 articles from peer reviewed journals. Paper must be written using current APA style. Learning environment description/diagram demonstrating how a classroom could be set up to ensure a learning environment that facilitates the positive behavior, communication, and social skills of students with moderate/severe disabilities. How Assistive Technology, AAC, and Universal Precautions will be implemented must be addressed. Behavior assessment and intervention plan. Assess the problem behavior of a student with moderate/severe disabilities to determine the function of the behavior, and design a positive behavior support plan to address that behavior, that includes environmental supports and functional communication training. Assessment must include an interview with parent about the problem behavior as well as the communication abilities and needs of the student at home.

Students with Disabilities:
Students seeking special accommodations due to a disability must submit an application with supporting documentation, as explained under this subject heading in the General Catalog. Instructors are required to provide such accommodations if they receive written notification from the University.

Writing Across the Curriculum:
Students are expected to demonstrate writing skills in describing, analyzing and evaluating ideas and experiences. Written reports and research papers must follow specific standards regarding citations of an author's work within the text and references at the end of the paper. Students are encouraged to use the services of the University's Writing Center when preparing materials.

The following website provides information on APA, MLA, and other writing and citation styles that may be required for term papers and the like:

National University Library:
National University Library supports academic rigor and student academic success by providing access to scholarly books and journals both electronically and in hard copy. Print materials may be accessed at the Library in San Diego or through document delivery for online and regional students. Librarians are available to provide training, reference assistance, and mentoring at the San Diego Library and virtually for online or regional students. Please take advantage of Library resources:


Contact the Library:

  • (858) 541-7900 (direct line)
  • 1-866-NU ACCESS x7900 (toll free)

Use the Library Training Tools (on the Library Homepage) for additional help

  • Recorded class presentations
  • Tutorials & Guides (APA/MLA, Peer-Review, and more)

Plagiarism is the presentation of someone else's ideas or work as one's own. Students must give credit for any information that is not either the result of original research or common knowledge. If a student borrows ideas or information from another author, he/she must acknowledge the author in the body of the text and on the reference page. Students found plagiarizing are subject to the penalties outlined in the Policies and Procedures section of the University Catalog, which may include a failing grade for the work in question or for the entire course. The following is one of many websites that provide helpful information concerning plagiarism for both students and faculty:

Ethical behavior in the classroom is required of every student. The course will identify ethical policies and practices relevant to course topics.

Students are expected to be competent in using current technology appropriate for this discipline. Such technology may include word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software. Use of the internet and e-mail may also be required.

Learning to work with and value diversity is essential in every class. Students are expected to exhibit an appreciation for multinational and gender diversity in the classroom.

As a diverse community of learners, students must strive to work together in a setting of civility, tolerance, and respect for each other and for the instructor. Rules of classroom behavior (which apply to online as well as onsite courses) include but are not limited to the following:

  • Conflicting opinions among members of a class are to be respected and responded to in a professional manner.
  • Side conversations or other distracting behaviors are not to be engaged in during lectures, class discussions or presentations
  • There are to be no offensive comments, language, or gestures