Program Goals, Philosophy, and Perspectives

Program Goals and Philosophy

The Miami University Special Education Program seeks to prepare and develop Intervention Specialists who are skilled in identifying and supporting learners with all types of developmental differences in the Mild to Moderate range; collaborate effectively with students, family members, colleagues and community members for best outcomes for students; interpret assessment data effectively and pair this with a personal knowledge of a student as an individual to design the best educational instruction, strategies, and supports that optimize learning outcomes and social interactions for each student; to advocate for socially just practices in public schools with a deep awareness of issues of dis/ability, race, class, gender and sexuality and the ways in which they may impact identification of and/or service delivery for children; to demonstrate leadership in the field of special education in promoting productive changes consistent with social change and growth.

  • Quickly and efficiently license intervention specialists to alleviate shortages in the field of special education
  • Targeted toward current teachers wishing to add an Ohio K-12 intervention specialist (mild/moderate) license
  • Provide an option for unlicensed enrollees to become license-eligible
  • Provide an option for students to earn a master of education degree in special education
  • Offer courses in an online format, providing instruction and evaluation 80% asynchronous, 20% synchronously 
  • Preferred provider of graduate study for adult learners with limited time and insufficient local alternatives
  • Provide best-in-class student-instructor engagement while utilizing available modern classroom technology

Historical and Current Perspectives

The advent of formalized and federally mandated special education services for children with disabilities in the United States began in 1975 with the passage of Public Law 94-142, The Education for All Handicapped Act. This law required a free, appropriate public education for all children. Prior to P.L. 94-142, children were regularly excluded from school and society, often institutionalized and subjected to the cruelest forms of ill treatment, ostracized from society in many instances. Since the passage of this landmark federal law, children with all types of special needs have been included in public schools. This law has been reauthorized multiple times and renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). It’s most current re-authorization was passed by Congress in 2004 (Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, P.L. 108-446, with updates in Parts B and C in 2004 and 2010, consecutively). Its current name reflects the move toward Person First language and a more inclusive view of students with disabilities.

The Special Education Online Hybrid program began in 2004 as a grant-funded licensure program with approval from the Ohio Department of Education. As part of the state approval, the program was asked to use an 80-20 split of time; 80% of program time was to be online while 20% was to be face-to-face. The program was also asked to implement a mentoring program. The program was targeted to current teachers who were returning to add a special education license. The purpose was to quickly and efficiently license intervention specialists to combat extant shortages in the field of special education.

Currently, the program accepts approximately 50 students into a fall cohort, and 25 students into a spring cohort. Students who meet the necessary requirements and deadlines for application may apply all of the licensure coursework towards the requirements for a Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree in Special Education. To apply licensure coursework toward the M.Ed., an application to the M.Ed. program should be completed during the first semester in which the student is enrolled in the licensure program. All courses are offered in an online format in which students attend three live video streaming sessions throughout the semesters and complete the remaining coursework asynchronously online.

It is essential to remain aware of our nation’s past traditions with people who were considered “outside the norm” in order to fully understand policies that ostracize, marginalize or institute what is known from our history to be bad practice. By maintaining a broad base of historical and current knowledge regarding the origins and progress of special education, our program can focus on forward thinking, seeking innovation in the manner by which educational services are provided to children who need additional supports in school to reach optimum potential. The influence of the Disability Studies movement helps to further destigmatize “difference” and situate dis/ability as a normally occurring phenomenon within contemporary society.