Special needs student

Teaching Through Art

It’s not all fun and games, though it may appear so. Learn the value of art in special education.

1 of 3
Students helping children

Teaching Through Movement

Physical movement is often the key to unlocking enthusiasm for learning.

2 of 3
Early education undergraduate student

Putting Words to Illustrations

Learn how the visual arts impact special education early.

3 of 3

Early Childhood (PK-4) / Special Education (K-8)

Offered by: Special Education

SRU is authorized by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to provide certification courses and practical experiences designed to meet requirements for the Cognitive, Behavioral, and Physical Disabilities (CBPD) certificate in special education. This teaching certificate enables you to teach children identified as having learning disabilities, physical disabilities, or behavioral disorders in grades K-8.

Coupled with a major in Early Childhood Education, this program provides you with an in-demand, specialized skillset.


At SRU, we value experiential learning. We believe that you need the chance to apply what you've learned in the classroom to real life. Special Education / Early Childhood Education majors benefit from 6 semesters of hands-on field experiences with students in public schools in Western Pennsylvania.

What Will You Learn?

You will graduate from this dual major with proficiency in the theory and practice of early childhood and special education. You will gain a solid foundation in:

  • Understanding typical child development
  • Integrating creative expression through arts
  • Educating students with high and low incidence disabilities
  • Educating students with developmental disabilities
  • Applying developmental assessment skills
  • Teaching mathematics and literacy


Earning a special education teaching certificate enables you to teach children identified as having intellectual, learning, physical, or behavioral disabilities in K-8th grade classroom settings. 

Clubs & Organizations

Autism Speaks
Best Buddies
Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) 

Student/Alumni Spotlight

Katie Hil was an Early Childhood and Special Education major at Slippery Rock University. She looked at a wide variety of colleges before finding that the size and caring community of SRU was a perfect fit for her. She has been able to complete a number of field experiences that support her academic coursework in a variety of settings. She has had the opportunity to create and execute lesson plans at a Head Start program in Pittsburgh and has worked with children with learning disabilities. Katie's experience at SRU has exceeded all of her expectations; she has been able to participate in research, make lifelong friends, and experience personal and professional growth. She is an SRU Success Story because of her passion and love for Slippery Rock University and her ambition to make the most of every opportunity available to her both in and outside of the classroom. Katie urges prospective students to come to The Rock ready to embrace the endless opportunities that SRU has to offer.