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The University of Mississippi Online

EDSP 308, Introduction to Special Education

University of Mississippi
Department of Teacher Education
(662) 915-7618
3 credit hours

Instructor Information:

Diane Lawrence Lowry

Professor: Diane Lawrence Lowry

Clinical Assistant Professor of Special Education, Dr. Lowry received her doctorate degree from the University of Mississippi. She holds a M.Ed. in Special Education from the University of Alabama Birmingham and an undergraduate degree in Communicative Disorders. She has twenty-five years of teaching experience in the field of special education.

Her collegiate experience includes teaching undergraduate and graduate courses as well as serving as the special education coordinator. She has taught students with mild/moderate disabilities and supervised special education teachers in suburban and urban public schools for sixteen years. Her research focuses on formative assessment and effective teaching practices for students with mild/moderate disabilities. She has written several articles, presented at national and state conferences, and served on grant-writing teams for national and local grants.

Contact Information:

If you have questions concerning the content of the course, you may contact the instructor directly using the Send Email link in the Communications & Tools tab. NOTE: Whenever sending email, please be sure to indicate your course title and number in the subject line.

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The University of Mississippi
Division of Outreach and Continuing Education
P. O. Box 1848
University, MS 38677

Phone: (662) 915-7313, toll-free (877) 915-7313
Fax: (662) 915-8826

Course Description

This 15-lesson Independent Study course provides an introduction to: (1) the various diversities encountered in today’s school settings, (2) the current trends in service delivery for individuals with special needs, and (3) current legislation related to the responsibilities of public schools in serving children with special needs.

Before you can access the lesson materials, you must read the syllabus and complete the syllabus quiz. You will complete a chapter activity after lesson 8 and a multimedia project due after completing lesson 15. There is a midterm and final. In addition, there are written essays following lessons 7 and 15.

Textbook Information:


Friend, M. (2011). Special Education: Contemporary perspectives for school professionals: Third edition. Boston: Pearson Education. ISBN 9780137033270

It is your responsibility to order your textbook. Online retailers such as,, or usually provide used textbooks at economical prices. Use the ISBN number to make sure you're ordering the exact book required in this syllabus.

Course Objectives:

Objectives include (but are not limited to): 

  • recall the history of special education including federal legislation, policies, and practices including best practices for students with disabilities

  • understand the roles and responsibilities and strategies for students with disabilities, of special educators, school professionals, and parents

  • understand the development and characteristics of students with disabilities and individuals at risk for a disability

  • recall the components for developing instructional strategies, instructional planning, and accommodations, modifications, and assessment procedures

  • understand teachers attitudes and behaviors that affect learning for all students

Course Outline:

This course consists of 15 instructional modules (or lessons).

Lessons & Exams

Reading Assignments

Due for Grades

Syllabus Quiz

Quiz over the syllabus

To be completed before proceeding

Lesson One

Chapter 1: Understanding Special Education

Reading Quiz

Lesson Two

Chapter 2: The Personnel & Procedures of Special Education

Reading Quiz

Lesson Three

Chapter 3: Multicultural and Bilingual Perspectives

Reading Quiz

Lesson Four

Chapter 4: Collaboration in Special Education

Reading Quiz

Lesson Five

Chapter 5: Students with Learning Disabilities

Reading Quiz

Lesson Six

Chapter 6: Students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Reading Quiz

Lesson Seven

Chapter 7: Students with Emotional and Behavior Disorders

Reading Quiz & Essays

Mid Course Exam

Proctored exam covering chapters 1-7

To be scheduled and completed before proceeding

Lesson Eight

Chapter 8: Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Reading Quiz, Activity

Lesson Nine

Chapter 9: Students with Speech and Language Disorders

Reading Quiz

Lesson Ten

Chapter 10: Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Reading Quiz

Lesson Eleven

Chapter 11: Students with Deafness and Hearing Loss

Reading Quiz

Lesson Twelve

Chapter 12: Students with Visual Impairments

Reading Quiz

Lesson Thirteen

Chapter 13: Students with Physical and Health Impairments

Reading Quiz

Lesson Fourteen

Chapter 14: Students with Severe and Multiple Disabilities

Reading Quiz

Lesson Fifteen

Chapter 15: Students Who are Gifted and Talented

Reading Quiz, Essays,
Multimedia Project

Final Exam

Proctored exam covering chapters 8 through 15

To be scheduled and completed to finalize credit


90 - 100% = A
80 - 89% = B
70 - 79% = C
60 - 69% = D
Below 59% = F

Grading Information
Each student's final course-grade shall be comprised of:

1 Syllabus Quiz 100 points
15 Reading Quizzes 100 points each = 1500 points
2 Essay = 100 points each= 200 points
Chapter 8 Activity-= 25 points
Multimedia Project due after completing Lesson 15 = 100

1 Midterm Test = 100 points
1 Final (non-comprehensive) = 100 points
TOTAL = 2125 points

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