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What Is an M.Ed. in Special Education — Challenging Behaviors?

During the 2014-2015 school year, 6.6 million public school students received special education services according to the National Center for Education Statistics. NCES says they account for 13 percent of the public school population. Of those receiving special education services, 9 percent had Autism and 5 percent had emotional disturbances.

Classroom teachers who want to expand their knowledge and skills in working with diverse learning needs may find what they are seeking a Master of Education in Special Education — Challenging Behaviors. The M.Ed. can prepare teachers for career advancement opportunities such as becoming a behavior specialist, administrator or leader.

In this online degree program from Southeastern Oklahoma State University, students learn strategies to analyze, offer intervention, and support students with challenging behaviors. Such behaviors include, but are not limited to, those displayed by students with Autism or students identified with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Program participants may be teachers who work with students who exhibit challenging behaviors or have a passion for helping children with special needs.

What Is Covered in SOSU’s M.Ed. in Special Education — Challenging Behaviors Online Program?

The program requires students to complete 30 credit hours over 10 courses. Of those 30 hours, core courses comprise 21 hours and the remaining nine hours are devoted to special education challenging behaviors specialty courses.

The program’s core courses cover education research, student assessment, special education program development, grant writing and collaboration.

The specialty courses consist of the following:

  • Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports: Prepares educators in meeting learners’ behavior needs through systemic, positive, prevention-focused and data-driven decision making.
  • Teaching Students with Autism: Helps participants differentiate characteristics of autism and discuss effective practices and strategies to develop skills and social interactions.
  • Applied Behavior Analysis for Teachers: Covers behavior problems for a variety of issues and how to analyze them, create measurement systems and design interventions.

The M.Ed. in Special Education — Challenging Behaviors course page provides details about each course. Graduates from the program will know how to reach and educate children with diverse needs, teach others about special education and advocate for those who need support.

What Does It Take to Succeed in the Online M.Ed. in Special Education Program?

What qualities would make someone successful in this program? SOSU Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator Dr. Kathy Boothe lists four things:

  • Good time management skills.
  • Passion for teaching and learning.
  • Desire to grow in the field of special education.
  • Desire to meet the needs of all student including those with special needs.

Considering the program is online, students have the flexibility to work through the class at their own pace. They will not have to spend time commuting or worry about getting to campus at set times.

Because Southeastern Oklahoma State University offers six sessions per year, students will not have to wait long to get started. Courses run for seven weeks. Students can complete the program in as few as 12 months.

SOSU is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education website states that the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools accredits public colleges and universities in Oklahoma, which includes SOSU.

Dr. Boothe hopes that students who complete the program walk away with a passion for teaching and learning.

Learn more about the SOSU online M.Ed. in Special Education — Challenging Behaviors program.


Southeastern Oklahoma State University: Dr. Kathy Boothe

National Center for Education Statistics: Children and Youth with Disabilities

Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education: Accreditation

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