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Special Education | Program Philosophy

The graduate program in special education: learning disabilities at American University is based on the educational philosophy that all individuals have the ability to learn and succeed. The learning disabled population requires special teaching to learn and succeed. The program aims to prepare learning disabilities specialists who can structure creative learning environments for these students through diagnostic-prescriptive training.

This method of teaching emphasizes the need for teachers to be sensitive to the individual needs and learning styles of each student in their classroom. Based on an understanding of normal child development, graduate students in the program learn how to diagnose the specific strengths and weakness of individual students. Additionally, our teachers learn how to use a variety of instructional approaches to teach to students' strengths while remediating weakness.

The program recognizes the impact of cultural background and environment on the individuality of the student and is designed to prepare teachers who can embrace such diversity. By increasing the awareness and appreciation of cultural diversity in its graduate students, the program can prepare specialists who can differentiate between behaviors caused by cultural or environmental issues and behaviors caused by learning disabilities.

These principles of acknowledging, understanding, and embracing differences are reflected in the American University's School of Education's organizing principles and professional commitments for all its teacher education programs.