F438 – Working with Children with Special Needs and Diverse Abilities and Their Families
This course provides students with a knowledge base for working with children with special needs and diverse abilities and their families. Students will be introduced to a range of physical, cognitive, linguistic, emotional, and behavioral disabilities and challenges. They will also explore the interdependent influence of family, culture, poverty, social class, race, privilege, and community on the development, education, and well-being of children with special needs and diverse abilities. Students will consider the personal experience of children and families as they negotiate assessment, diagnosis, and intervention in multiple helping systems, including early intervention, educational, social service, medical, community, mental health, and legal systems. An emphasis will be placed on understanding and supporting children’s and families’ changing needs from a multicultural perspective and learning how to effectively communicate with, support, empower, and advocate for all families. Elements of effective family-professional partnerships are examined. Strategies for working with children and collaborating with families in various settings are emphasized. The course also details pertinent legislation affecting the education and well-being of children with special needs and diverse abilities.