Special Education

Special Education

TYPE: Minor
DEPARTMENT: Department of Education

LOCATION: On-Campus

Special education teachers work with students who have a wide range of learning, mental, emotional and physical disabilities. They adapt general education lessons and teach various subjects, such as reading, writing and math, to students with mild and moderate disabilities. They also teach basic skills, such as literacy and communication techniques, to students with severe disabilities.

Special education teachers typically do the following:

  • Assess students' skills to determine their needs
  • Adapt general lessons to meet the needs of students
  • Develop Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for each student
  • Plan, organize and assign activities that are specific to each student's abilities
  • Teach and mentor students as a class, in small groups and one-on-one
  • Implement IEPs, assess students' performance and track their progress
  • Update IEPs throughout the school year to reflect students' progress and goals
  • Discuss students' progress with parents, other teachers, counselors and administrators
  • Supervise and mentor teacher assistants who work with students with disabilities
  • Prepare and help students transition from grade to grade and for life after graduation

Special education teachers work with general education teachers, counselors, administrators and parents. Together, they develop IEPs specific to each student's needs. IEPs outline the goals and services for each student, such as sessions with school psychologists, counselors, and special education teachers. Teachers also meet with families, administrators, and counselors to discuss updates and changes to the IEPs.

This minor must be paired with an Elementary Education major.

A Special Education minor, when paired with an Elementary Education major, an Instruction minor, and student teaching residency leads to licensure in the State of Wisconsin in a special education class setting. This licensable minor is a K-12 cross-categorical license, allowing individuals to teach students with a variety of disabilities. 

While our programs are designed to align with Wisconsin state licensure requirements, many students apply for licenses in other states, such as Michigan and Minnesota. Students are encouraged to check with their state’s Department of Education to determine if there are additional requirements.

Special Education Links

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