Do you believe every child should have access to proper learning support? In California, demand is surging for educators who are qualified to assist students with mild/moderate disabilities and autism. If you’re passionate about creating positive learning outcomes for all students, now is the time to consider an online masters in special education in California.
What is the state of special education in California?
Over nearly two decades, enrollment in special education services has expanded in the Golden State. During the 2018-19 school year, California provided special education services to over 794,000 students, newborn through age 22. That’s an increase of 22% compared with the 2000-01 school year.
California offers special education services to students with a range of disabilities. Two areas, in particular, have experienced a marked increase: mild/moderate disabilities and autism. The combined enrollment in services for these areas of disability swelled by approximately 25% from 2000 to 2019. Services for autism alone expanded by about 88%, more than any other disability.
California Special Education Services Enrollment – Mild/Moderate Disabilities and Autism
What are mild/moderate disabilities?
In California, special education teachers are authorized to practice in one of several specialty areas. One specialization is mild/moderate disabilities. Nearly three out of five students who received special education services during the 2018-19 school year had a mild/moderate disability.
According to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, mild/moderate disabilities include:
- Specific learning disabilities;
- Mild to moderate intellectual disabilities;
- Other health impairments; and
- Serious emotional disturbance.
The severity of these disabilities can vary. As a result, each type requires a unique level of support from special education teachers. For example, while most students with specific learning disabilities spend the majority of the school day in general classrooms, most students with intellectual disabilities do not. Let’s take a closer look at each mild/moderate disability.
Specific Learning Disabilities
Specific learning disabilities affect a student’s ability to understand or use written or spoken language. They include brain injuries, dyslexia, and perceptual impairments. Students with specific learning disabilities may need support with listening, thinking, speaking, reading, writing, spelling, or carrying out mathematical calculations.
During the 2018-19 school year, California provided special education services to more students with a specific learning disability than any other. Approximately 38% of students had a specific learning disability. Over time, however, California has served fewer students with specific learning disabilities. From 2000 to 2019, the number of students decreased by over 16%.
Mild to Moderate Intellectual Disabilities
Intellectual disability involves general mental ability. It affects intellectual functioning, such as learning and problem-solving. It also affects adaptive functioning, which refers to daily activities like communication. Together these conditions can hinder educational performance.
Other Health Impairment
Having limited strength, vitality, or alertness are considered other health impairments. They’re commonly caused by chronic or acute conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy, sickle cell anemia, and others. Notably, in California, the number of students with other health impairments who received special education services increased by approximately 80% from 2000 to 2019.
Serious Emotional Disturbance
Emotional disturbance describes a condition that exhibits at least one of the following characteristics over a substantial timeframe and to a considerable degree, which adversely affects educational performance:
- An inability to learn which cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors;
- An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers;
- Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances;
- A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression; or
- A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.
How will earning an online masters in special education in California help me support students with mild/moderate disabilities and autism?
The University of Redlands offers an interdisciplinary online masters in learning and teaching. It’s designed for individuals who wish to teach students with mild/moderate disabilities and autism in public or private K-12 classrooms. The program blends a master’s degree with a teaching credential.
In as few as 18 months, you’ll develop as a knowledgeable and empowered educator capable of advocating for diverse learners. At the same time, you’ll work towards meeting the state requirements for the Education Specialist Preliminary Credential. Our program helps students obtain authorization to practice in the areas of Mild/Moderate Disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorders. This integrative approach prepares graduates to improve learning for all children in a variety of special education jobs.
Last school year, nearly 75% of students enrolled in special education in California had a mild/moderate disability or autism. As that number continues to grow, so does the demand for qualified special education teachers. It’s the ideal time to take the first step towards earning your online masters in special education in California.
Looking for More Information?
To learn more about our online masters in learning and teaching, start by filling out the form on this page.