University of Vermont

College of
Education and Social Services

Special Education Programs

There is a national shortage of Early Interventionists (Birth – 3 years) and Early Childhood Special Educators (3 – 6 years):

Over the last decade the demand for Early Childhood Special Education teachers increased by more than 100% from about 13,000 to over 27,000. The number of graduates in early childhood special education preparation programs is much too low to satisfy this need. According to the 2006 Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of IDEA there is a significant shortage of qualified personnel to work with 299,848 infants and toddlers receiving early intervention services. These shortages pose a significant threat to the quality of programs for young children with disabilities. The shortages of personnel and the demands for more qualified EI and ECSE are projected to continue into the future (NECTAS, 2006).

The following core competencies distinguish our nationally recognized undergraduate program from many others:

  • Promote children’s learning and development within natural environments and/or inclusive settings;
  • Recognize and respect the diversity of family structures, preferences, and participation levels;
  • Offer instructional practices that are guided by and sensitive to the family and child, supported by meaningful assessment information, and linked to developmentally and/or individually appropriate curricula;
  • Strive to foster collaborative relationships with family members, peers of the same discipline, and individuals across disciplines.
  • Access evidence based practices and apply them to practice to support the optimal development of young children and their families.


Why is everyone talking about UVM's Early Childhood Special Education Undergraduate Program?

The University of Vermont is responding to these shortages by preparing Early Interventionists and Early Childhood Special Educators through nationally accredited programs culminating in a B.S. or M.Ed. The Early Childhood Special Education Programs are built upon the Council of Exceptional Children (CEC) Division of Early Childhood (DEC) standards.

Questions about our undergraduate program? Email us!

Bachelor of Science: Early Childhood Special Education Undergraduate Program

The Early Childhood Special Education (ECSP) Program provides students with the perspectives and skills necessary to work with all young children from birth through age 5.11 and their families in a range of family-centered, culturally responsive, inclusionary, and developmentally appropriate settings. ECSP courses build upon experiences in Child Development and Early Childhood Education (ECE) obtained through the first two years of study and involves a large field-based component, which makes significant use of the wide array of early childhood services and supports within the campus community as well as throughout the region. Successful candidates complete their program with a B.S. in Early Childhood Special Education, professional teaching licensure in the state of Vermont, and a dual endorsement in ECE birth to age six and ECSE birth to age six.


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Community Based Learning:

UVM prides itself on providing Early Childhood Special Education candidates with authentic community based learning. Families of children with disabilities and local professionals have a strong presence in our classes and our students are welcomed into their field experiences by professionals dedicated to sharing their expertise with UVM scholars. Field-based experiences are designed to enable candidates to put theory into practice within supportive, high quality environments that value both diversity and inclusion.

Evidence Based Practice:

Scholars leave the program with the skills needed to access research based evidence and to judge its value in order to serve children and families with diverse needs. Undergraduate and graduate students have opportunities to engage in research projects with faculty on a range of topics such as the inclusion of young children with disabilities in the least restrictive environment and special education services for children who are English language learners.

Cultural, Linguistic and Economic Diversity:

Teachers will be more successful working in underserved communities if they are prepared in those communities and faculty at The University of Vermont are intentional about ensuring field experience in schools that serve Burlington’s diverse community. Scholars receive hands-on experience serving families and children who are experiencing disability, English language learners, refugees and or living with poverty. Given the diverse community characteristics of Burlington, UVM is in the ideal setting for preparing educators who are committed to inclusion, social justice and for the development of skills, dispositions and experiences necessary for serving all infants, toddlers and preschool aged children with disabilities.


Last modified November 04 2015 10:37 AM