Master’s Degree Program (30 credit hours)

Specialist in Developmental Disabilities Planning Guide

Niagara University offers the master of science degree in developmental disabilities. This program requires 18 credit hours of foundational work, nine credit hours in a concentration, and a culminating practicum of three credit hours. Tuition assistance is available for the first two courses taken.

Required Foundation Courses

18 credit hours

The course will consider social structures operating within a community. Principles and techniques of working with school personnel, organizations and members of the community will be the focus of the course with a view to promoting better public relations.

Credit Hours: 3

This course provides an overview of ways technology can be used to facilitate the education of learners with disabilities. It also offers advance study of various technological devices that assist individuals with disabilities in performing functional tasks and achieving independence. The course emphasizes the integration of assistive technology into the home, community, school, and workplace. The course also provides opportunities in the use of software such as word processing, database management, graphics, and electronic spreadsheet to enhance the personal productivity of special educators.

Credit Hours: 3

This course addresses the challenges transition to adult life pose for individuals with mild to moderate disabilities. The goal of independent living will be explored through the integration and collaboration of various resources including the individual, the family, the school, support systems and the community. Advocacy and self-determination will a focus

Credit Hours: 3

This course is designed to provide candidates with the various theories, principles and practical applications of behavioral strategies as they relate to the diverse nature of students that represent schools today. Specific techniques drawn from various theories and principles will providea framework for exploration, discussion and analysis. Candidates will be required to observe and analyze both student and teacher behaviors within the classroom. Based upon the observation, classroom and/or individual behavior man- agement plans will be developed.

Credit Hours: 3

This course is designed to focus on a cross- categorical model for providing services to individuals with a variety of disabilities, behavioral disorders and physical impair- ments. Curricula and instructional method- ologies relevant to support students with diverse needs in the least restrictive environment are covered. Through field work and projects, the needs of individuals with moderate/severe disabilities and their families will be explored.

Credit Hours: 3

Electives – Concentration I (Clinical)

select 9 credit hours form the following

This course explores the basic counseling process, including developing active listening skills, building rapport, and facilitating client awareness. The course will also examine the settings in which a professional counselor can practice, such as schools, community and mental health agencies, career counseling centers, rehabilitation programs, and addiction programs. Professional roles, ethical standards and professional credentialing will be introduced in this course.

Credit Hours: 3

This course examines the various counseling theories applicable to group counseling. Through an experimental mode of learning, the student will develop beginning skills for facilitating groups and in planning intervention strategies.

Credit Hours: 3   /   Prerequisites: EDU 651, EDU 654, EDU 658, EDU 617

This course provides in-depth under- standing of the concepts related to the transition of young adults with exceptional learning needs, specifically, young adults with developmental disabilities. Issues, challenges, and practices involved in assisting them transition to a variety of options and participate to the fullest degree in society will be examined.

Credit Hours: 3

This course investigates the current state of Autism and the unique nature of Asperger's Syndrome. Topics under study include history of autism and Asperger’s syndrome, theoretical perspectives, characteristics, identification and assessment, associated learning styles, various strengths and weaknesses, and various evidence-based strategies. Resources for agency workers and parents will also be addressed.

Credit Hours: 3

Electives – Concentration II (Leadership)

select 9 credit hours from the following

This course covers the basic tools of economic analysis. The microeconomic component of the course examines decision making by the individual economic unit, addressing such topics as demand and supply, price and output determination, cost behavior, profit maximization, and compe- tition. The macroeconomic component examines models to explain: national output, inflation, and unemployment; and how fiscal and monetary policies stabilize the economy.

Credit Hours: 3

An introduction to the theory and practice of management. Instruction in the managerial functions of planning, organizing, leading and controlling draws from many disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences. This course examines management from various theoretical perspectives stressing application to the real world and using case studies. Topics studied include theories of management, decision making, leadership, communication, motiva- tion, group dynamics, organizational design and strategic planning.

Credit Hours: 3

This course examines the legislative process and patterns of health legislations. Students analyze the issues and political processes involved in the current health legislation and health legislative proposals at the national and state levels. Upon completion, students will develop an indepth understanding of the persistent issues facing the healthcare system, the law and its application to the industry and be able to think critically about current and future issues in healthcare management.

Credit Hours: 3

Healthcare institutions, both profit and not-for-profit, are under significant pressure to contain costs and improve the quality of services and products. Today’s complex environment places greater emphasis on the financial implications of both managerial and clinical decisions. This course is intended to provide students with an understanding of the principles and theory of both managerial accounting and financial management in healthcare organizations. On completion, students will also have a good overview of the current and historical healthcare financial issues.

Credit Hours: 3   /   Prerequisites: MPH 663

Required Culminating Experience

3 credit hours

Taken concurrently with EDU 794

This course is designed to enable the practicing teacher to develop competence in teaching students with special needs. Practicing teachers will be observed by university-designated supervisors as they perform the activities of a special education teacher in inclusion, self-contained and consultant contexts. Practicing teachers are expected to demonstrate attitudes, knowledge and skills commensurate with effective teaching for all students.

Credit Hours: 3