Early Childhood Special Education

Dr. Amanda Little teaching about early childhood special education

Photo of Micheal Sandbank

Area Coordinator
Micheal Sandbank

The Department of Special Education offers master’s (M.Ed., M.Ed. with Report, M.A.) and doctoral (Ph.D.) degrees with a concentration in Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE). This concentration prepares students to be leading scholars through intensive mentoring from ECSE faculty, core content in ECSE and early language development, and rigorous training in research methods. Our training focuses on service delivery, specifically for children birth-to-age-eight and their families, and understanding culturally diverse populations.

The master’s program in Early Childhood Special Education has a course sequence that 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 developing children with disabilities. View the BCBA Exam Pass Rates for Verified Programs.

The Ph.D. program combines coursework and an intensive research component. Doctoral students will assist with ongoing neuroimaging research of language development in children with developmental disabilities. Competitive funding packages are available for highly qualified applicants. At this time, Micheal Sandbank is the only faculty member currently accepting ECSE doctoral students.


Photo of Lauren Hampton

Lauren Hampton

Assistant Professor

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

Photo of Mark O'Reilly

Mark O'Reilly, BCBA-D

Department Chair, Professor

Audrey Rogers Myers Centennial Professorship in Education

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

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.