Educating Deaf Students with Disabilities

A student and teacher in classroom

The online certificate program in educating deaf students with disabilities prepares educators who want to develop critical knowledge and skills in the area of special education. The certificate program emphasizes culturally relevant critical pedagogy as a foundation for working with the whole child, the family, and other professionals while merging content standards and CEC standards, in addition to general, bilingual, special, and deaf education pedagogy. This program is not a state-approved program and is not intended to lead to licensure and does not lead to licensure in Washington, D.C. Gallaudet University has not yet determined whether the program meets professional licensure requirements in other states.

Program of Studies (21 credits)

PST 711 - Introduction to Educating Deaf Students with Disabilities (3 credits)

Course Description

This course uses a disability studies approach to familiarize students with major trends and issues in special education with a focus on deaf students with disabilities. Topics include historical roots, perception of disability, policies impacting students with disabilities, labeling, overrepresentation, and discipline. Other topics in the course include research in the education of deaf students with disabilities, developing Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), examining instructional practices, and working with families. Pre-requisite: EDU 670 or equivalent introductory course to special education

PST 712 - Behavior Interventions and Supports for Deaf Students with Disabilities (3 credits)

Course Description

This course expands the emphasis on using fingerspelled and abbreviated words as well as lexicalized signs in ASL within a range of contexts. The instructor will guide the student through dialogues and short stories that emphasize clear form and transitions.
This course introduces students to a variety of classroom management approaches and techniques, with an emphasis on working with deaf students who have disabilities. Students are provided with a foundation and background in behavior management and positive behavioral in special education that they can utilize to support deaf students with disabilities.
Pre-requisite: EDU 670 or equivalent introductory special education course.

PST 713 - Collaboration & Partnerships that Support Deaf Children with Disabilities (3 credits)

Course Description

This course focuses on research and productive strategies for establishing successful collaborative relationships with families, educators and other professionals. It fosters sensitivity to the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse families and cultures. Significance is placed on partnerships and networking with other professionals, paraprofessionals and families as team members designing, implementing and evaluating appropriate educational experiences for deaf students with disabilities. Co-teaching as a means of effectively partnering with general educators is highlighted as well as the importance of staying current with best practices in the field via professional development.
Pre-requisite: EDU 670 or equivalent introductory special education courseIn this course students will examine current trends and concerns which characterize the changing American family and draw implications for education, students with disabilities and their families. They will examine family, community and school structures, patterns and relationships. Students will explore a variety of theories, concepts, principles, and models utilized when implementing effective family, school, and community partnership, in addition to collaboration among IEP team members and when working with other professionals, in regard to students and families with special and diverse needs. Students will identify and discuss the uses and applications of community and school resources in supporting families and students with disabilities. They will also learn and stimulate techniques for interacting with parents and examine collaboration strategies for interdisciplinary team efforts. In addition, students will focus on topic/challenges that face families with children with disabilities such as: sibling support, respite care, financial planning, transition planning, independent living and IEP meetings.

PST 714 - Language and Literacy Development for Deaf Students with Disabilities (3 credits)

Course Description

This course is designed to prepare graduate students to address issues language and literacy development for students with disabilities, with an emphasis on deaf children with disabilities. Topics include language and communication disorders, augmentative and alternative communication systems, cultural influence on language and literacy development, and how language and communication impact classroom performance. The course will inform students about augmentative and alternative communication systems for use by individuals who do not have or are limited in expressive language, whether it is ASL or English.
Pre-requisite: EDU 670 or equivalent introductory special education course

PST 715 - Teaching Functional Curriculum to Deaf Students with Disabilities (3 creidts)

Course Description

This course provides an overview of functional academics for deaf students with disabilities. Topics include teaching vocational skills, teaching life skills, supporting motor development, supporting social-emotional development, developing transition plans, and selecting assistive technology devices. Course assignments are designed to allow students to apply these concepts in their current teaching setting.
Pre-requisite: EDU 670 or equivalent introductory special education course

PST 716 -Differentiating Instruction for Deaf Students with Disabilities (online, 3 credits)

Course Description

The course reviews what it means to be an effective teacher and introduces the concepts of universal design for learning (UDL) as well as differentiation to meet the needs of deaf students who have disabilities. Further studied is the concept of multiple literacies and access to content and opportunity for the development of literate and metacognitive thought. The lesson plan format is augmented with the development of tiered lessons by addressing three levels of content, process and/or product expectations as determined by interest level, learning style or readiness. In addition, candidates will become familiar with a variety of instructional strategies based on evidence-based practice in general and special education, the hierarchy of cognitive applications in Bloom's Taxonomy, Barbara Given's 5 natural learning systems, Robert Sternberg's Triarchic Intelligence model, as well as Howard Gardner's multiple intelligences. Evidence of learning focuses on the student's ability to prepare and teach developed lesson plans, and document student learning in clear and concise manner using visual documentation strategies. Candidates are taught to encourage a) self-regulation and other self-determination skills in their students; b) social interaction and true discussion as a method for developing metacognition; and c) developing receptive and expressive learning pathways for academic discourse. Prerequisites: permission of the instructoryllabus in PDF format for more information.

PST 717 - Assessment of Deaf Students with Disabilities (3 credits)

Course Description

Students in the class will focus on concepts and methods of assessment of deaf students with disabilities with attention to administering, scoring, interpreting, and reporting on standardized educational tests. Special attention will be paid to progress monitoring through curriculum-based assessments and Response to Intervention techniques for measuring student learning. In addition, emphasis will be placed on administration and interpretation of formal and informal diagnostic procedures diagnostic reports for the purposes of IEP development and professional ethics.
Pre-requisite: EDU 670 or equivalent introductory special education course

Admission Requirements

  • BA/BS degree in education or related field, with a minimum 3.0 grade point average (on a four-point scale) in undergraduate coursework. (Occasionally, applicants with a GPA lower than 3.0 may be admitted conditionally upon the recommendation of the department.)
    • Submit official transcripts of all undergraduate study, including evidence of having received a bachelor's degree from an accredited university
    • Those applying during their final undergraduate year will be required to submit a final transcript after completion of their bachelor's degree and before enrolling in their first semester of study
    • International applicants should review International Application Information on how to submit their transcript(s)
    • TOEFL is required from all international applicants from non-English speaking countries. (Use 5240 for the ETS institutional code)
  • One letter of reference from a supervisor indicating proof of working with children in an academic environment during program.
  • An introductory course about individuals with disabilities and the characteristics of disabilities (equivalent to EDU 670 in the GU Department of Education)
  • A completed professional studies application form
  • A non-refundable application fee of $75
  • ASL skills are preferred, but not required

If you are interested in applying for the graduate certificate, please visit the Graduate Admissions web site for more information or contact