General Course Information for ECE443: Children with Special Needs

Course: ECE443 - Children with Special Needs
Textbook: For the correct edition of the textbook assigned to a specific class, go to:

Course Prerequisite(s):
Course Description:

Exploration of variations in child development and identification of specific disabilities in young children. Inclusive early childhood programs, specific strategies for adaptation and accommodation of the core curriculum to meet the social, emotional, and academic needs of children who are at-risk or have special needs are examined.

Course Learning Outcomes:
  • Demonstrate knowledge of characteristics of young children with developmental delays and disabilities and implications of cultural and linguistic diversity
  • Demonstrate understanding the current philosophy and educational trends in the inclusion of young children with special needs in classrooms and natural settings
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the legal rights of families and their children with special needs.
  • Demonstrate understanding and use of adaptation and modification of curriculum to effectively serve children with various disabilities in inclusive settings
  • Demonstrate knowledge and ability to integrate Individual Education Plans (IEP) goals into daily activities and routines.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the teacher's role as a member of the educational team in an inclusive classroom.
  • Demonstrate undergraduate level application of analytical and critical thinking skills
  • Demonstrate knowledge of professional standards and ethics
Course Requirements:

Candidates must complete a minimum of five (5) hours of field experience at a designated community site as part of this course. All experiences must be documented within the context of course work assignments and assessments. Candidates must make, with instructor approval, their own arrangements for this experience. Candidates will observe a young child with an identified disability (has IFSP or IEP) in an inclusive classroom for three or more hours, interview the classroom teacher and write six-page paper responding to specific criteria. Please see FIELD EXPERIENCE/OBSERVATION assignment for a detailed description of this activity. Specific Candidate Expectations: Candidates must participate and thoughtful respond to Discussion Boards topics. Candidates must complete an observation and teacher interview and write a six page paper to specific assignment criteria. Candidates must select and research one disability or condition and write paper to specific assignment criteria. Candidate must research the referral and identification process at their present employment. If not currently in a classroom, you will contact the Director of Special Education at your local school district and write paper to specific assignment criteria. Candidate must select or create a unit of study (4 separate lesson plans) of your choice for a Learning Center with 4 Student Learning Outcomes for the unit. Candidate must write a paper about their Learning Center unit of study describing developmentally appropriate practice, how children will participate, strategies used to guide the collaborative learning of a child with and a child without a disability, how unit will be evaluated with respect to the Course Learning Outcomes (1,2,4,5 ) and will include a bibliography. Candidates must use peer-reviewed articles for research regarding topics in developmental delays and disabilities in young children and inclusion in natural settings. Candidates must actively participate in course activities. Candidates must successfully complete assignments as per assignment description. Candidates must pass a final examination. Candidates must demonstrate mastery of standard written English. APA and Ed style and format must be followed.

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