Early Childhood Special Education

Two boys playing on a playground

Photo of Micheal Sandbank

Area Coordinator
Micheal Sandbank

The Department of Special Education offers master’s (M.Ed., M.A.) and doctoral (Ph.D.) degrees with a concentration in Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE). This concentration will prepare you to be a leading scholar through

  • intensive mentoring from ECSE faculty,
  • core content in ECSE and early language development, and
  • rigorous training in research methods.

Our training focuses on the use of Naturalistic Developmental Behavioral Interventions for supporting young children with autism and developmental disabilities and their families.

The master’s program in Early Childhood Special Education has a course sequence that can be completed in 12 months and is Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) approved. The program prepares individuals to be Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) and practitioners of evidence-based practices for young children with disabilities developing in natural environments. View the BCBA Exam Pass Rates for Verified Programs.

The Ph.D. program combines coursework and an intensive research component. As a doctoral student, you will have the opportunity to assist with ongoing neuroimaging research of language development in children with developmental disabilities, and ongoing intervention research with families of young children with social communication delays. Competitive funding packages are available for highly qualified applicants.


Photo of Lauren Hampton

Lauren Hampton, BCBA

Assistant Professor

Studies how to optimize early interventions for young children with challenging behavior and communication delays including those with autism.

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Mark O'Reilly, BCBA-D, LBA

Department Chair, Professor

Assesses and supports individuals with intellectual disabilities and develops social skill/communication interventions for children with ASD.

Laura Rojeski, BCBA-D

Assistant Professor of Practice

Engages in training and supervision of clinicians to support challenging behavior and transition, particularly for students with autism spectrum disorders.

Photo of Micheal Sandbank

Micheal Sandbank

Assistant Professor

Researches factors that influence language acquisition for children with autism by analyzing naturalistic language samples and neural measures of speech processing.