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Special Education at the University of Utah
You Can Make a Difference!


Special education means specially designed instruction to ensure a free and appropriate education for students regardless of the extent or type of their disability. The Department of Special Education prepares special education teacher candidates and general education teacher candidates to work with students with disabilities in the areas of mild/moderate disabilities, severe disabilities, early childhood special education, vision impairments, and students who are deaf & hard of hearing. At the graduate level, the Department of Special Education prepares tomorrow's leaders in the field at both the master's and doctoral degree levels.

The preparation of teachers and leadership personnel includes adaptation of curriculum, accommodation to meet student needs, collaboration with schools and the community, assessment of student abilities, behavioral interventions, special education policy, and legal issues.

What's Happening in SPED

 Published Study

Use of a Creative Dance Intervention Package to Increase Social Engagement and Play Complexity of Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

The study, published in the June edition of Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, examined methods for increasing the quality of play of three preschool-aged children with autism who were in classes primarily comprised of children without disabilities. Therefore, the interventions chosen for the study were ones that all children in the preschool classrooms could enjoy without singling out the children with autism.

Read more about this study>>

SPED receives two new IDEA personnel preparation grants
from the Utah State Board of Education!

Breda O'KeeffeGrant1:
Principal Investigator - Breda O’Keeffe
The Teacher Recruiting in Mild/Moderate (TRIMM) Licensure Project
  will support students pursuing degrees/licenses in the area of Mild/Moderate Disabilities.


Andrea McDonnellGrant 2:
Principal Investigator-Andrea McDonnell
The University of Utah Project to Prepare New Early Childhood Special Educators with Utah Preschool Special Education Teaching License (birth-five) will support students pursuing degrees/licenses in the area of Preschool Special Education.

Chris BischkeThe Department of Special Education/Multi-University Consortium Teacher Preparation Program in Sensory Impairments has been awarded a Teacher Preparation Grant from the Office of Special Education Programs of the U.S. Department of Education. This five year project will provide $1,244,230 to support the preparation of teachers who will work with students with sensory impairments (students who are Deaf and Hard of hearing, Visual Impairments and Deafblind). The grant will be managed by principal investigator Dr. Chris Bischke. Scholars will receive $5,000 per semester for up to six semesters.  Graduate scholars may be eligible for a tuition waiver. Interested persons can contact Dr. Bischke at (


Last Updated: 3/1/18