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master of arts and/or
certification in special education

Program Mission and Philosophy: Severe/Multiple Disabilities

Program Mission

The WVU Severe/Multiple Disabilities Program is designed to prepare professional educators who can design and deliver quality special education and adult habilitation services to individuals with severe or multiple disabilities from early childhood through adulthood. Graduates are prepared to provide services in inclusive environments under the auspices of public schools and other community agencies.

The program emphasizes the need to promote self-determination by people with disabilities through design of individualized interventions and provision of appropriate supports, and it prepares graduates to engage in individual and systems advocacy for individuals and families.

Because effective programs require the services of professionals from a variety of disciplines, graduates are prepared to:

  • make referrals to other agencies
  • serve on multidisciplinary intervention teams
  • interact with colleagues using a transdisciplinary team model
  • promote interagency collaboration in service delivery systems

Graduates also are empowered to demonstrate application of current best practices as exemplified by professional standards, to engage in reflection in and on practice, and to respond responsibly and to the legal, ethical, social, and cultural issues encountered when working with children and adults with severe/multiple disabilities in today’s world.

Program Philosophy

Children, adolescents, and adults with severe/multiple disabilities have a right to appropriate and adequate services designed to meet their unique needs in inclusive school and community settings.

Individuals and families should be empowered to make decisions about services and supports without undue interference from service providers; persons with disabilities deserve programs that develop skills enabling them to participate as fully as possible in family and community life and to enjoy civil rights and personal freedoms as responsible citizens in a free society.