Early Childhood Special Education

Department of Special Education

Two boys playing on a playground

Early Childhood Special Education is closed and not accepting applications for the master’s programs for fall 2023.

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. ECSE is closed and not accepting applications for the master’s programs for fall 2023.

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 faculty member Laura Estep
Assistant Professor of Practice

Engages in training and supervision of clinicians to support individuals with challenging behavior and difficulty transitioning between activities, particularly for students with autism spectrum disorders.

Photo of faculty member Lauren H Hampton
Assistant Professor

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

Photo of faculty member Mark F O'Reilly
Department Chair

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

Photo of Lauren Hampton

Area Co-coordinator
Lauren Hampton

Laura Estep

Area Co-coordinator
Laura Rojeski