For a master’s degree in Learning and Behavior Specialist I

The Learning & Behavior Specialist I Program (LBS-I) at the University of Illinois is a field-based professional preparation program designed to prepare teacher candidates to work with individuals with varying disabilities including: learning disabilities, social or emotional disorders, cognitive disabilities, physical disabilities and other health impairments, autism and traumatic brain injury. Candidates are prepared to work with students from kindergarten through age 21 in a range of settings.  The master’s program leads to initial Illinois teacher licensure in special education.

This program focuses on building teacher competencies across a number of areas including: foundations, characteristics, assessment, instructional planning and delivery, managing the learning environment, collaborative relationships, professional conduct and leadership, and reflection and professional growth. The preparation program is designed to be experimental and experiential in its approach; teaching skills and competencies delineated in this document are subject to continuous evaluation and re-evaluation. The field-based practices that are an integral part of the program, provide opportunities in multiple contexts for teacher candidates to apply and practice skills and knowledge important to teaching individuals with disabilities. Faculty in the LBS-I Program are committed to ensuring that teacher candidates are prepared to be strong advocates for students with disabilities, dynamic change agents of their school communities, and leaders in the field of special education.

The LBS-I Program is based on the belief that teachers must maximize opportunities for all students to learn and succeed in all settings. Central to the program’s philosophy is the concept of inclusion of individuals with disabilities in educational, community, employment, and residential settings and the provision of appropriate supports and assistance to be successful academically and socially in those environments. At the core of the LBS-I program are a number of theoretical and applied concepts:

Inclusion in Educational, Community, Employment, and Residential Settings

Candidates must advocate and facilitate inclusion into educational, community, residential, and employment settings. This program incorporates a commitment to inclusion through the selection of practicum sites, implementation of program activities, design of course and practicum assignments, and development of standards that reflect opportunities for positive interactions between children and youth with disabilities and their typical peers.

Emphasis on Behavioral Principles

Behavioral principles describe the relationship between behavior and environmental events that influence behavior. This program embraces the belief that all students can learn and that behavioral learning principles provide educators with strategies that facilitate productive outcomes for all students.

Individualized curricula promoting high expectations

This program emphasizes the development of challenging, culturally sensitive, and individualized curricula that can be implemented in general education settings. High expectations are promoted for all students with disabilities and with significant emphasis on access to the general education curriculum.

Positive behavioral support for individuals with challenging behavior

This program promotes the use of functional assessment and the development of positive behavioral support plans that reflect the respect and dignity that should be accorded all persons. This approach calls for use of strategies that are educative in nature and that serve to enhance quality of life by increasing the opportunities and choices available to persons with challenging behavior.

Curriculum and performance-based assessment

To determine directions for instruction, this program emphasizes the use of performance-based and authentic assessment to assure that students acquire skills necessary for achieving productive outcomes.

Cultural Diversity

Candidates are prepared for the demands of a diverse society by creating environments that are culturally supportive and appropriate for all children.

Collaboration and teaming

With the move to inclusive education, special educators must be able to work collaboratively with general educators, support personnel, administrators and other service providers. This program embraces the belief that professionals must share expertise in designing and implementing cohesive student programs.

Partnerships with parents, families and guardians

Whether a student is at the beginning or end of his public school education or is involved in post-school programs, parents or guardians are more constant factors in the student’s life than teachers. Therefore, this program will emphasize the need for close partnerships between parents and professionals.

Degree Requirements

SPED 424Formal Assessment in SPED
SPED 431Assistive Tech & Phys Disab
SPED 438Collaborating with Families
SPED 440Instructional Strategies, I
SPED 441Instructional Strategies, II
SPED 444Career Development & Individuals with Disabilities
SPED 446Curriculum Development, I
SPED 447Curriculum Development, II
SPED 448Curriculum Development, III
SPED 450Introduction to ECSE
SPED 461Augmentative Communication
SPED 470Learning Environments, I
SPED 471Learning Environments, II
SPED 517Disability Issues in SPED
SPED 524Supervised Prac. in SPED (LBS, LBE, LBT)
SPED 526*Collaborative Leadership
SPED 591*Field Study and Thesis Seminar
C&I 431**Tchg Elementary Mathematics or equivalent*
C&I 475**Teach Elem Rdg and Lang Arts, I or equivalent* 4
EPS2 hours from History and 2 hours from Philosophy of Education
EPSY2 hours from Foundations of Learning and 2 hours from Personality Development

Masters of Science (M.S.)

This option combines a thesis requirement with the master’s of education program requirements. This option is planned in collaboration with the student’s advisor.