Academic Instruction M/S

Course Description

This course covers identifying and teaching academic content for students with severe disabilities across the educational placement continuum, including instruction in the general curriculum, use of Universal Design principles, and a functional skills approach. The course presents methods for determining functional skills, curriculum selection, development and adaptation to approximate the general education curriculum using the California curriculum frameworks and State standards. Assessment in all areas of academic instruction is emphasized.

Learning Outcomes

  • Integrate and apply knowledge of the characteristics, including the learning characteristics of students with moderate/severe disabilities;
  • Derive a target set of instructional objectives for a student between the ages of 3 and 22 by conducting an ecological inventory;
  • Identify how the principle of partial participation would be included in teaching functional academics;
  • Contrast a top-down analysis with a developmental or bottom-up analysis;
  • Perform a performance discrepancy analysis;
  • Derive individualized functional instructional objectives, considering the child’s current age and potential future targets;
  • Write comprehensive lesson plans connected to grade level standards in Reading/Language Arts, Math, Science, Health, and the Arts (Art, Music, or Drama);
  • Implement a teacher (candidate)-made curricular material to teach a skill in the area of Reading/Language Arts or Math, to a student with moderate/severe disabilities;
  • Create a lesson plan incorporating the principles of Universal Design to teach a lesson to general education students and students with moderate/severe disabilities in an inclusive setting.


Complete assigned readings in text and participate in class discussions and activities. Completion of a project of a student, delineating an ecological inventory and performance discrepancy. The performance discrepancy and prioritize the instructional objectives for this student. Unit of Instruction consisting of 5 lesson plans to teach Academics to students with Moderate/Severe disabilities. Lessons will be based on CA grade level content standards. At least one lesson in this unit of instruction will incorporate the principles of Universal Design to teach a lesson to general education students and students with moderate/severe disabilities in an inclusive setting (This Unit of Instruction will be combined with the 5 lessons from the Unit of Instruction created in SPD 19 Life Skills and Transition course and placed in the candidate’s portfolio as a signature assignment.) Implementation and assessment of a teacher (candidate)-made curricular material to teach an instructional objective in Reading/Language Arts or Math derived from the completed ecological inventory and performance discrepancy.

Why Choose National University?

We’re proud to be a Veteran-founded, San Diego-based nonprofit. Since 1971, our mission has been to provide accessible, achievable higher education to adult learners. Today, we educate students from across the U.S. and around the globe, with over 220,000 alumni worldwide.

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