University of Utah
Special Education 301
Human Exceptionality
Winter 1998

Kathy Hill
124 MBH
Phone 801-581-8034

Catherine Nelson
133 MBH

Jack Mayhew
123 MBH
Phone 801-581-6985

The purpose of this course is to introduce and familiarize students with individuals who have learning, behavior, sensory, and physical differences. Learning and social characteristics of individuals with disabilities and gifted individuals will be examined. Issues specific to the families of these individuals will also be explored. The human services available to these individuals will also be examined. Students in this course will be given the option of conducting a service learning project in which they work directly with an individual(s) with disabilities or other needs (e.g., ESL instruction,). From a menu of options, each student will contact a school or community agency and will develop a service learning project proposal. Special Education 301 is a 3 quarter hour course and is being taught during the Winter 1998 quarter. Additional sections will be offered Spring 1998, and will apply for service-learning designation at that time.

  1. Students in the class provide a needed service to individuals, organizations, schools, or other entities in the community.

Working with a variety of schools and community agencies, a menu of activities will be developed and distributed during the first class session. Examples of activities include: (a) academic, assisting special education teachers and students; (b) social/leisure, promoting appropriate leisure activities for individuals with disabilities; and (c) vocational, providing on- the-job support for individuals with disabilities.

2. The service experience relates to the subject matter of the course.

The purpose of Special Education 301 is to promote an understanding of the range of human exceptionality, including individuals with disabilities, culturally and linguistically diverse individuals, and individuals who are gifted and talented. The menu of service learning activities will reflect the range of abilities and needs of individuals in a number of settings.

3, Activities in the class provide a method or methods for students to think about what they learned through the service experience and how these learnings related to the subject of the class.

Students will be required to keep a weekly journal in which they reflect upon their experiences. Periodically throughout the course, and on the last night of class, the students will share and discuss their experiences with the other class members.

4, The course offers a method to assess the learning derived from the service. Credit is given for the learning and its relation to the course, not for the service alone.

In addition to the reflective joumal, students will be required to submit a summary paper on their service learning experience. Also, quizzes, exams, and class discussions will provide opportunities to assess student learning.

5, Service interactions in the community recognize the needs of service recipients, and offer an opportunity for recipients to be involved in the evaluation of the service.

Students will be required to conduct a midterm and final evaluation of their service learning project. The evaluation forms (see attached) will be completed by the cooperating professional and, when appropriate, the individual(s) receiving the service.

6. The service opportunities are aimed at the development of the civic education of students even though they may also be focused on career preparation.

Service opportunities and reflective activities are designed to help students anticipate future application of the learning experience. A ma or goal of the course is to help students gain greater insight into the issues related to human exceptionality, and to advocate for the rights and well- being of all citizens. Service learning will provide students with the opportunity to learn the importance of community involvement, and the skills and commitments of a citizen in a democratic society.

7. Knowledge from the discipline informs the service experiences with which the students are involved.

Students will be provided with information from the textbook and supplemental readings, lectures, guest speakers, videos, and activities. In-class learning coupled with an authentic field experience will allow students to develop a greater understanding of the discipline.

8. The class offers a way to learn from other class members as well as from the instructor.

On-going class dialogues and reflective debriefing will provide students with the opportunity to learn from each other.

9. Course options ensure that no student is required to participate in a service placement that creates a religious, political and/or moral conflict for the student.

Students will develop their own proposal from a menu of options. No student will be forced into a placement.

Required Text:

Hardman, M. L., Drew, C. J., & Egan, M. W. (1996). Human exceptionality: Society, school, and family (5th ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon, Inc.

Supplemental readings will be placed on reserve at the Marriott Library no later than one week prior to class.

Course Overview:

The purpose of this course is to introduce and familiarize students with individuals who have learning, behavior, sensory, and physical differences. Learning and social characteristics of individuals with disabilities and gifted individuals will be examined. Issues specific to the families of these individuals will also be explored. Public policy and services available to these individuals will be examined.

Course Objectives:

Upon completion of this course the student will be able to demonstrate knowledge in the following areas:

1 . Philosophical and historical perspectives that have formed the basis for public policy regarding exceptionality, and legislation that currently drives services for and influences the lives of individuals with disabilities.

2. Variations in beliefs, traditions, and values across cultures and their implications for individuals with disabilities, their families, and the provision of services.

3. Similarities and differences among the cognitive, physical, cultural, social, and emotional needs of individuals with and without exceptional learning needs.

4. Issues and challenges faced by families of individuals with disabilities.

5. Differential characteristics of individuals with exceptionalities and adaptive strategies used by and with individuals to meet diverse needs.

6. Effects of the cultural and environmental milieu of the child and the family including cultural and linguistic diversity, socioeconomic level, abuse/neglect, and substance abuse.

7. Issues in definition and identification procedures for individuals with exceptional learning needs including individuals from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds.

8. Rights and responsibilities of parents, students, teachers and other professionals, and schools as they relate to individual learning needs.

9. Educational implications of characteristics of various exceptionalities.

Course Requirements:

1 . Class attendance and participation--it is necessary that students complete the assigned readings prior to the class meetings in order to be prepared to discuss the information and participate in class activities (10 points).

2. Quizzes--Four quizzes worth 1 0 points each will be given throughout the quarter (two before midterm and two after midterm). Quizzes may include any combination of true/false, multiple-choice, or short answer questions. Questions will be derived from the text, lectures, guest speakers, and other assigned reading materials.

3. Examinations--There will be a mid-term (50 points) and a comprehensive final examination (1 00 points) required for this class. Questions will be generated from the text, weekly class lectures, guest speakers, class discussions, and other assigned reading materials.

4. Paper or Service Learning Project --Students will be required to write a paper (1 0-1 2 pages) that focuses on a topic specific to human exceptionality OR engage in a service learning project that includes at least 10 hours interacting with a person(s) with exceptionalities and keeping a journal of the experience. Either of the above selections may relate to your major or current interest. For example, if you are a pharmacy student, you may choose to write a paper related to medications and individuals with disabilities on Medicaid. If you are interested in dance, you may complete a service learning project with individuals with exceptionalities using dance as a vehicle to expand leisure time interests.

If selected, the paper must follow these guidelines:

  1. Discuss topic of your paper with the instructors by January 26.
  2. Cover all sides (pros and cons) of the issue.
  3. Include current research and professional practices around the issue. It must include at least three research articles published between 1990-1997.
  4. Conclude and/or make recommendations for future practice.
  5. Be written using APA format (Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association Fourth Edition). If you are more comfortable using another format (e.g., Chicago), please discuss with the instructors prior to writing the paper.
  6. Contain 10-12 pages (double spaced) excluding cover page.
  7. Due date: March 9

The paper will be graded according to the following criteria:

1 . 20 points for covering all sides of the issue (pros and cons). If there are not pros and cons to the issue, does the paper sufficiently cover the topic to provide the audience with a thorough understanding of the topic?

2. 10 points for using at least three current (1 990-present) research articles.

3. 10 points for recommendations for future practice based on the conclusions of the research provided.

4. 1 0 points for clarity and literacy -- appropriate mechanics of spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, word usage, and APA (or other) format employed throughout the paper.

If the service learning project is selected, you must-.

  1. Locate an agency serving individuals with exceptionalities such as a school district, the Bennion Center, ARC of Utah, Easter Seals, Murry-Allen Blind Center, or early intervention agencies. Discuss options for service learning projects and identify where and with whom the project will be completed.
  2. Discuss the proposal for your project with course instructors during the 3rd week of the quarter.
  3. The project should include a minimum of ten hours interacting with a person with exceptionalities.
  4. Record in a journal your observations, perceptions and what was accomplished.
  5. Complete a brief analysis (summary) of what happened to you as a result of this experience.
  6. Due date: March 9

The following criteria will be used to evaluate the service learning project:

1 . 10 points for the design of the service learning project. Submit a 1-2 page description outlining the details of your project. Provide information on who will be involved, where the project will occur, when you will implement the project, what activities will take place, and why there is a need for this service.

2. 20 points for contact hours. Submit a log of actual dates and times that contact occurred.

3. 1 0 points for the reflective journal. Keep a journal that documents your experiences and reflections. Submit the journal along with your final summary.

3. 1 0 points for organization, clarity, and literacy of the written summary. Submit a brief written summary of your service learning experience in which you discuss how the project affected you and the individuals with whom you worked.

The student must submit a proposal to the instructors indicating his/her paper topic or service learning project by January 26, 1998. All proposals must be approved by the instructors.

Course Format:

Class sessions will include lectures, discussions, media presentations, guest presentations, and class activities.

Course Expectations:

0 Students are expected to attend all class sessions. Please notify the instructor in advance if you will be absent. You are responsible for obtaining class notes and/or handouts from other students for any class sessions missed.

0 Students are responsible for reading assigned text or articles prior to the class session. These readings will provide the background for information presented in class.

0 Papers/Projects, quizzes, mid-term and final exams are due on the dates indicated. Reduced points (10% per day) will be given for late submissions.

0 Please turn off cellular telephones during class time.

Student Evaluation/Grading Criteria:

     10 pts.    Participation and Attendance
     40 pts     4 weekly quizzes
     50 pts    Mid-term Exam
     50 pts    Project/Paper
     100 pts    Final
     250 pts   Total possible
                                      Service Learning Experience
                                            Evaluation Form

Student Name Date

Supervisor Name

Agency or School

Thank you very much for facilitating this important service learning experience. We would very much appreciate it if you would take a moment from your busy schedule to complete this performance feedback form. Please rank the student using the following scale by circling the appropriate response. You may either send the form with the student or use the enclosed envelope.

POOR = 1

To what level of quality has the student completed assigned services activities/duties? 1 2 3 4

To what level of quality has the student interacted with service recipients? 1 2 3 4

To what level of quality has the student maintained professional behavior? 1 2 3 4

Has the student been on time and at the appointed location of the service activity? 1 2 3 4

Additional comments/questions/concerns:

Date: Fri, 30 Jan 1998 15:54:29 MST
From: Renee Buchanan <>
Subject: Special Education 301 Mayhew, Hill, Nelson (Instructors)