Master’s Degree in Special Education

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Master’s Degree in Special Educationuminformal300dpi1x1

with Certification in Severe Disabilities and a Focus in Autism Spectrum Disorders for Teachers and Professional Staff at Shady Grove, Maryland

The Special Education Program at the University of Maryland, College Park, is opening an Outreach Master’s degree program in Special Education for teachers and professionals with a valid Maryland Special Education Certificate. A limited number of spaces is available to include a cohort of only 16 scholars. Applications will be accepted until those spaces are filled. Applications will be reviewed as they are received and individuals interested in this opportunity should apply immediately.

This program will focus on preparing teachers and other professionals to meet the needs of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and students with severe disabilities. The program will also provide expertise in how to support the families of students with ASD as those students make the transition from home to school and from school to a work or a post high school setting.

Classes begin in the spring of 2014. This is a two year Master’s of Education (M.Ed.) program with a set sequence of coursework. Scholars must participate in the program as a cohort. The program consists of 36 graduate credit hours taken over seven consecutive semesters. Classes will be conveniently offered at out-reach locations beginning at Shady Grove, Maryland during spring, summer, and fall semesters.

The program has been awarded a U.S. Department of Education grant personnel preparation (OSEP Grant: H325K130411) which will make it possible for admitted scholars to be eligible for a fellowship covering the cost of graduate tuition and fees. Please understand there is a “Service Obligation” attached by Congress which specifies that scholars must perform post-graduation work related to the training for which a scholarship was received. These requirements specify that scholars must complete the M.Ed. degree and fulfill a service requirement or “repay the cost of the scholarship, plus interest.”

Please review these Government requirements and the letter of understanding below, before applying to the program. All applicants should review federal requirements available at: On this page applicants can find a section that contains Personnel Development Program Regulations , Frequently Asked Questions ( and Pre-Scholarship Agreements and Exit Certifications (

For questions regarding the academic program, please contact Dr. Agnesanne J. Danehey at

For questions regarding admissions, registration, or billing, please contact the University of Maryland Outreach Office at 301-405-0902 or

Program Description:

Master’s Degree in Special Education with Certification in Severe Disabilities with a Focus on Autism Spectrum Disorder for Teachers and Professional Staff working with students with ASD.

The Master’s of Education (M.Ed.) degree program in special education will prepare practitioners to meet the needs of students with severe disabilities, particularly students with ASD. This 6 semester program of study has a prescribed curriculum and scholars will complete the program as a cohort. This program is specially designed at outreach locations to reach scholars in Maryland counties who might not easily access the UMD campus at College Park. The program will incorporate high quality coursework and include faculty and staff from UMD with national and international recognition. The specific competencies that guide the program are designed to prepare scholars to address the specialized needs of students with ASD across the lifespan.

Scholars gain ASD specific knowledge and skills. Scholars learn evidenced-based methods (e.g., prompt hierarchies, chaining, time delay, etc.) for teaching students with ASDs and severe disabilities. Scholars understand different diagnostic and learning characteristics of students with ASD. Our scholars are prepared to know and provide effective services for students with ASDs that might present with severe and challenging behaviors. In addition to knowing effective behavior and classroom management strategies, scholars will also know effective social-communication strategies for students with ASDs. This will include knowledge of social skill instruction, use of evidence-based technologies, and emerging products/technologies appropriate for student with ASDs. Assistive technology and a variety of commercial and teacher-made devises that aid in communication in work, at home, and during academic and recreational activities will be presented.

Recognizing the impact that a disability can have not only on the individual but also the family, scholars will study families, multicultural and racially diverse groups, and issues of race, culture, and disability as they pertain to teaching, learning, and social dynamics of families. Scholars will demonstrate an understanding of diversity and incorporate their ideas into pedagogy and investigate frameworks for thinking about race and culture in relationship to teaching and working with families.
Guided by faculty, scholars will critically evaluate and apply research literature regarding evidenced-based practice to teach, document, and evaluate the outcomes for students with ASDs. Scholars study single-case analysis as a primary experimental research methodology in special education and other related human service fields. Scholars extract critical elements from research that can be applied in a classroom setting to improve their teaching of students with disabilities.
Finally, scholars will study secondary and transition planning for the transition of students with ASD and severe disabilities to adult living, work, and social environments. Scholars will understand the importance of self-determination and person centered planning strategies to guide students with ASDs as they integrate transition service needs in their IEPs. Scholars learn to identify an array of community-based service options, advocacy models, case management techniques, funding sources, policies and legislative mandates for community services and interagency collaboration.

This program is supported by a grant from the U. S. Department of Education (OSEP Grant: H325K130411). Participants are required to comply with the “Service Obligation” attached to the funds that make this program possible. These U.S. Government requirements specify that scholars must complete the program and fulfill a service requirements or “repay any scholarship received, plus interest.” Scholars participating in this program will be required to sign a letter that indicates they understand the requirements. Please review these government requirements and the letter of understanding below, before applying to the program. The “Conditions That Must Be Met By Scholar” specifications can be found on pages 32399-32400 of the Federal Register at:


Proposed Course Listings for the M.Ed. in Special Education with Certification in Severe Disabilities and a Focus on Autism Spectrum Disorders

Scholars will be enrolled as University of Maryland graduate students. Fellowship support is assured for participants in this Outreach Program for the 6 semesters of the specified program given all requirements for admission and graduation are met. There will be two classes offered in each semester (Fall, Spring and Summer) across two and one half consecutive years.

Semester 1

EDSP613: Behavior & Classroom Management in Special Education

EDSP603: Instruction of Students with Physical Disabilities
Semester 2

EDSP 604: Education of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders

EDSP 614: Functional Reading & Community Based Curriculum in Special Education

Semester 3

EDSP 602: Functional Assessment & Instruction in Special Education

Semester 4

EDSP 687: Family Partnerships in Special Education

EDSP 670: Single Subject Design in Special Education
Semester 5

EDSP 606: Advanced Studies in Inclusive Practices

EDSP 678A: Social-Communication Challenges and Strategies for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Semester 6

EDSP 625: Seminar in Severe Disabilities

EDSP 889: Seminar- Innovative Technology for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Semester 7

EDSP 612: Transition Methods & Disability


Requirements for Admission

  • 3.0 GPA from Bachelor’s degree

  • Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended

  • Statement of Goals/Research Interests, and Experiences

  • 3 Letters of Recommendation

  • Resume/Curriculum Vitae

  • Copy of Maryland State Department Education, Special Educator Certificate in Generic Special Education (any grade band)

  • Praxis I Examination Scores passed at MSDE passing scores (composite of 527 or above)

  • Student must sign the Financial Support & Service Agreement also known as Pay-Back Provision Agreement Letter


Application Information: Important Dates and Application Instructions

EDSP, M.Ed., Autism Spectrum Disorder Outreach Application Instructions

Application Deadline:

For Best Consideration: December 20, 2013

  1. Request Official Transcripts be sent-Applicants must send official, sealed undergraduate and graduate transcripts from all post-secondary schools they have attended (with 9 credits or more). Please request your transcripts be mailed immediately in order to avoid a delay in your admission. Transcripts must be mailed to:

University of Maryland

College of Education Outreach Office

Attn: ASDs

Room 0223 Benjamin Building

College Park, MD 20742

  1. Apply to the program - go to

  2. Complete the graduate application – once you complete each page, click save and correct any errors until the page has a green check mark at the top.

On the Educational Intent Page, please select the following categories:

Educational Intent: Fall 2014 - we will adjust this to Spring in our system

Select Intent: To earn a master's, doctoral, or professional degree

Program of Study: Education: Special Education - EDSP

Full-Time / Part-Time Status: Part-Time

* Degree Objective: Master of Education

Area of Specialization: Severely & Profoundly Disabled ASDs

On the Residency page, please complete all items if you believe you would qualify as a Maryland resident.

  1. Submit the $75.00 application fee (non-refundable)

  2. Within 24/48 hours you will receive an email asking to complete the Application Supplemental Form (ASF).

  3. Follow the ASF email instructions, log in and provide the following information:


  • Area for Major Study: Severe Disabilities

  • Certification Area: Advanced-Severely & Profoundly Disabled

  • Special Program: [ASDs] Autism Spectrum Disorders


    • Recommender name and email address (3 Letters of recommendation are required)

    • Statement of Goals,Research Interests, and Experiences

    • Resume/Curriculum Vitae

    • Upload your PRAXIS I exam results and your Maryland Special Educator’s Certificate

To upload these documents, go to:

  1. Go to “Upload Documents” section;

  2. At the bottom of the screen click “browse” and find your document file, select file;

  3. Next in the “Optional Title” section, type in the name of your document (e.g., Praxis I result, MD Special Education Certificate) and;

  4. Click on “Upload this Attachment”) Note: you will not need to select a document type.

Admission decisions will be finalized as the completed applications are received.

Classes will officially begin in January, 2014

Service Requirement:
Financial Support and Service Obligation:
Substantial fellowships are available through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. Stipends will be provided to approximately 16 scholars who are successfully admitted. The stipend covers the cost of tuition, mandatory fees, and books.
As with most federally funded personnel preparation programs, there is an expectation that the recipients of such a program will spend time serving the students that they have received preparation to instruct. This expectation is called the Service Obligation. All applicants should review federal requirements available at: On this page scholars can find a section that contains: Personnel Development Program Regulations (, Frequently Asked Questions ( and Pre-Scholarship Agreements and Exit Certifications ( Additional information can be found at: According to section 304.23(a), the Secretary may grant a deferral or an exception to the work or repayment requirements upon request, if a scholar or an oblige can provide sufficient evidence to substantiate eligibility.

Scholars participating in this program will be required to sign a letter that indicates they understand the said requirements. Please review these Government requirements and the example letter of understanding below, before applying to the program.

Pay-Back Provision Agreement Letter Example -- Applicants Will be Required to Sign – See Below

To Be Completed by Scholar
I have:

(a) read and understand the attached service obligation regulations and FAQs, including the service obligation of two years of service for every academic year of support or to repay the scholarship;

(b) read the US Citizenship and Residency Requirements as outlined in § 304.22 Requirements for grantees in disbursing scholarship of the 2006 Regulations;

(c) provided the information requested of me in this Agreement to the grantee representative;

(d) completed the Certification of Eligibility for Federal Assistance form (ED 80-0016); and

(e) I agree to comply with the regulations published on June 5, 2006 implementing section 662(h) of IDEA (see 34 CFR part 304), including the requirement to provide the information necessary to the Secretary to track my service obligation.

______________________________ _______________________________ ___________

Scholar Name Scholar Signature Date

(Please print)

To be Completed by Grantee Representative
I have met with the scholar and discussed the service obligation requirements and provided

him/her with a copy of the regulations and the frequently asked questions.

___________________________ _________________________ __________

Grantee Representative Name Grantee Representative Signature Date


Andy Egel, Ph.D.

Co-Project Director

Full Professor

UMD Faculty
Dr. Egel is a nationally recognized expert in the field of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Special Education. He has published extensively on the education of students with ASD, served as Project Director on federally funded model programs for students with ASD, and directed or co-directed several other research and personnel preparation grants. His areas of specialization and research include: the development and analysis of instructional programs for students with ASDs (preschool-high school); curriculum development for students with autism; inclusion of students with autism, competency and practicum-based teacher preparation, and parent training. He also reviews for many leading educational and psychological journals. Dr. Egel has developed and implemented services for students with ASDs in one of the largest Maryland school systems: Montgomery County Public Schools.  He is a recognized expert in his field both at the state and national level. He brings the highest caliber of knowledge and experience to this project

Agnesanne J. Danehey, Ph.D.

Co-Project Director

Research Assistant Professor

UMD Faculty
Dr. Danehey’s experience spans secondary/transition, adult services, and working with adults with severe and challenging behaviors which include those with developmental disabilities and mental health issues (dual diagnoses). As Acting Deputy Director of Special Populations for Maryland’s Developmental Disabilities Administration, Dr. Danehey oversaw the State of Maryland’s Federal Demonstration Grant for Community Supported Living as well as leadership, management, and fiscal oversight for the Units other multimillion dollar projects (e.g., Transitioning Youth Initiative, Aging Adults with DD, Grabou & Knott Class.) As Clinical Research Assistant Professor, Dr. Danehey oversaw the deinstitutionalization of Maryland’s Knott Class (people with intellectual disabilities and Axis I diagnosis living in chronic psychiatric facilities but no longer meeting the retention criteria at the hospital) for the State of Maryland. Dr. Danehey piloted a form of person-centered planning (PCP) for people with developmental disabilities and limited informal support networks (PCP with Persons with Severe Reputations and Challenging Behaviors) as well as working to facilitate community supported living arrangements for these people. Dr. Agnesanne Danehey has held teaching certificates in both general education and special education. Now at the University of Maryland, College Park for over 18 years, Dr. Danehey has served as a University Supervisor for practicum and internships in the Special Education Program, UMCP in both high & low incidence placements. Dr. Danehey has also provided supervision to Master’s Level scholars receiving certification at the secondary level in comprehensive and area voc-tech high schools. Dr. Danehey has taught a broad range of classes including: Secondary/Transitioning, Introduction to Special Education, Assessment in Special Education, Evaluation and Measurement, Literacy for At-Risk Adolescents, and Curriculum & Instruction.
Paula Beckman, Ph.D.

Full Professor

UMD Faculty
Dr. Beckman is a specialist in the area of Infancy and Early Childhood Special Education. A major area of interest is in supporting families of young children with disabilities. Within this area, she has focused on strategies for promoting family well-being and for developing collaborative partnerships between families and service providers. As part of her interest in families, she has also been interested in community development and on factors that promote the ability of children with disabilities and their families to participate in a wide range of activities within their neighborhoods and communities. She has particular expertise in establishing programs for young children and their families in community settings. She also has a strong interest working with children who are at risk for learning problems due to poverty and lack of educational opportunity. She has been working with children, teachers and schools in developing countries, particularly in Central America, for more than twelve years. As an internationally known expert in early intervention and early childhood special education, and working with families, Dr. Beckman has edited two books and published more than 80 articles and chapters. Dr. Beckman specializes in working with families of young children with disabilities. She also has a great deal of experience working with students with disabilities who are culturally, linguistically, and ethnically diverse. She is currently training teachers (preschool - 8th grade) in rural village schools in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua. Dr. Beckman has trained preschool teachers from 20 rural villages in El Salvador. Dr. Beckman previously served as Principal Investigator on the Early Childhood Research Institute on Inclusion. She is working on issues related to community-based service delivery, collaboration between general and special education teachers, and collaboration with families.
Frances L. Kohl, Ph.D.

Full Professor

UMD Faculty
Dr. Kohl received her doctorate in Special Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana.  Her areas of specialization and research include performance-based teacher preparation, curriculum development, instructional methodology, inclusion practices, and methods of communication for students with severe disabilities.  In addition, she has had extensive teaching experience in classrooms for students with moderate, severe, and multiple disabilities at the elementary age levels.  She teaches courses in curriculum development, instructional methodology, and assessment procedures, physical and sensory impairments, and single case research methodologies.  She works extensive with the Maryland State Department of Education on certification and alternate assessment issues.
Barbara Gruber, Ph.D.

Professional Development Facilitator, Maryland Coalition for Inclusive Education

Dr. Barb Gruber has provided professional development and support to schools around the state through the Maryland Coalition for Inclusive Education (MCIE) for more than twenty years. Her work with MCIE has focused on systems change, teacher training, and individual student support to promote the inclusion of students with disabilities in their neighborhood schools. She has extensive experience designing supports for students in the general education setting, including students with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) with academic and/or behavioral support needs. Dr. Gruber is also a Research Associate at the University of MD, College Park, where she has taught a course on inclusive practices for over 10 years. She received her B.A. in Sociology and Psychology from Alderson-Broaddus College, her M.A. in Clinical Psychology from West Virginia University, and her Ph.D. in Special Education from the University of Maryland, College Park. Prior to MCIE, Dr. Gruber worked at the May Institute in Massachusetts providing behavioral interventions for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs).

Susan Mason, Ph.D.

Dr. Susan Mason received her Ph.D. (in 1992) in Special Education at the University of Maryland, College Park. She has worked in the field of Autism Spectrum Disorders since 1981.
Dr. Mason embarked on this career upon completing her Bachelors of Science in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts—Amherst. First teaching at The May Institute for Children with Autism in Chatham, Massachusetts, she completed her Master’s in Education from Lesley University in Cambridge—studying Special Education for students with Severe Special Needs. Dr. Mason has worked at the Kennedy Krieger Institute -- Baltimore Maryland in the Severe Self-Injurious Behavior Unit where she conducted and published research, co-authored a curriculum for inpatients, trained staff, worked with children and youth with severe self-injury and feeding disorders, and provided parent education and training to outpatients.
Dr. Mason has been a parent-trainer for MCPS in their Preschool Education Program and has worked extensively as an Instructional Specialist in the MCPS Autism Unit. Her work at MCPS has spanned the spectrum of Autism, including classic autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. She taught special education graduate and undergraduate courses at State University College at Buffalo in New York. Dr. Mason also has worked part time at Johns Hopkins University, Towson University and University of Maryland College Park where she has taught graduate level classes in the areas of Social Skills development in students with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Applied Behavior Analysis, and Single Subject Research. Dr. Mason recently authored five chapters for an online resource textbook about Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Dr. Mason continues to work full time in Montgomery County Public Schools where she provides staff training and consultation to teachers working with students who have Autism Spectrum Disorders in the general education setting. Her current consultation and training focuses on helping staff learn evidence-based practices that promote pro-social behaviors, increased language and communication skills and access to the Common Core Standards and Curriculum in inclusive settings throughout MCPS.

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