Section 28.100 A Common Core of Standards for All Special Educators


Beginning July 31, 2002, no teacher preparation program or course of study leading to the issuance of any teaching credential in the field of special education shall be approved unless it includes content that will enable candidates to meet the standards set forth in this Section and the other applicable standards set forth in this Part, in addition to the standards set forth at 23 Ill. Adm. Code 24.130 (the "Illinois Professional Teaching Standards"). Beginning January 1, 2003, any examination required for issuance of a teaching credential in special education shall assess candidates' competence in relation to these standards.


a) Foundations The competent special education teacher understands the philosophical, historical, and legal foundations of special education.


1) Knowledge The competent special education teacher understands:


A) historical perspectives, legislative and litigative history, models, theories, and philosophies that provide the basis for special education practice;


B) current legislation, regulations, policies, litigation, and ethical issues related to the provision of educational services, including least restrictive environment, due process, assessment, discipline, transition, supplemental services and supports, specialized health care and assistive technology, to individuals with all types of disabilities across the age range;


C) variations in beliefs, traditions, and values across cultures within society and the effects of the relationship among child, family and schooling;


D) issues and trends in special education across the life span, early childhood through adult services;


E) issues in definition and identification procedures for individuals with disabilities, including those associated with individuals from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds; and


F) the rights and responsibilities of parents, students, teachers, and other professionals and schools as they relate to an individual's learning needs and educational programs.


2) Performance The competent special education teacher:


A) articulates a personal philosophy of special education, including its relationship to the general curriculum and the concepts of least restrictive environment;


B) conducts the professional activities of assessment, diagnosis, and instruction consistent with the requirements of law, rules and regulations, and local district policies and procedures; and


C) considers the continuum of placement and services within the context of least restrictive environment when making educational recommendations for students.


b) Characteristics of Learners The competent special education teacher understands the impact that disabilities have on the cognitive, physical, emotional, social and communication development of an individual and provides opportunities that support the intellectual, social, and personal development of all students.


1) Knowledge The competent special education teacher understands:


A) the cognitive processes associated with various kinds of learning and how these processes can be stimulated and developed;


B) the similarities and differences among the cognitive, physical, sensory, cultural, social and emotional development and needs of individuals with and without disabilities;


C) communication theory, language development, and the role of language in learning as well as communication modes and patterns of individuals with and without disabilities;


D) the social, intellectual, and political influences on language;


E) typical and atypical motor development;


F) major genetic and environmental etiologies of cognitive, sensory, emotional, and physical disabilities;


G) medical conditions affecting individuals with disabilities and the effects of various medications on their educational, cognitive, physical, sensory, social, and emotional behaviors;


H) basic functions of the body's systems in relation to common medical conditions and health impairments;


I) specialized health care needs at school (e.g., gastrostomies, colostomies, urinary catheterization, tracheotomies, ventilator-assisted breathing, blood glucose testing, seizure management);


J) differential characteristics of individuals with disabilities across the age range, including levels of severity and multiple disabilities and their influence on development, behavior and learning;


K) the effects of dysfunctional behavior on learning and the differences between behavioral and emotional disorders;


L) effects of the cultural and environmental milieu of the child and the family on behavior and learning;


M) the effects of second language acquisition on communication patterns;


N) the impact of sensory disabilities on development, learning and behavior; and


O) effects of sensory input on the development of language and cognition of students with sensory impairments, including the impact on cultural development and familial structures.


2) Performance The competent special education teacher:


A) accesses information on exceptional conditions when planning educational or transitional programs;


B) uses knowledge of a student's cognitive, communication, physical, cultural, social, and emotional characteristics in planning and delivering instruction and in transition planning; and


C) recommends referrals to appropriate specialists when more in-depth information about a child's needs is required for making educational decisions.


c) Assessment The competent special education teacher understands the educational assessment process and uses various assessment strategies to support the continuous development of all students (ages 3-21).


1) Knowledge The competent special education teacher understands:


A) assessment as an educational process;


B) terminology used in assessments;


C) legal provisions, regulations, and guidelines regarding assessment of individuals with disabilities;


D) how to interpret information obtained from standardized tests, including age and grade scores, standard scores, percentile ranks, stanines, measures of central tendency, standard deviations, and standard error of measurement;


E) strategies for modifying and adapting formal tests;


F) strengths and limitations of various assessment tools;


G) influences of disabilities, culture, and language on the assessment process;


H) a variety of procedures for identifying students' learning characteristics and needs, monitoring student progress, and evaluating learning strategies and instructional approaches; and


I) accommodations and modification of national, State and local assessments and the Illinois Alternative Assessment.


2) Performance The competent special education teacher:


A) matches appropriate assessment procedures to purposes of assessment;


B) gathers background information regarding academic history;


C) collaborates with families and other professionals in conducting individual assessment and reporting of assessment results;


D) interprets information from formal and informal assessment instruments and procedures;


E) develops individualized assessment strategies for instruction and uses appropriate procedures for evaluating results of that instruction;


F) uses performance data and information from teachers, other professionals, individuals with disabilities, and parents collaboratively to make or suggest appropriate modifications in learning environments, curriculum and/or instructional strategies;


G) evaluates learning environments and matches necessary supports to individual learners' needs; and


H) creates and maintains accurate records.


d) Planning for Instruction The competent special education teacher understands how students differ in their approaches to learning and creates instructional opportunities that are adapted to diverse learners. The teacher understands instructional planning and designs instruction based on knowledge of the discipline, students, community, and curriculum goals.


1) Knowledge The competent special education teacher understands:


A) the scope and sequence of the general curriculum;


B) the concepts of language arts;


C) the concepts of math, including numeration, geometry, measurement, statistics/probability, and algebra;


D) general curriculum practices and materials;


E) the components of an effective social skills curriculum;


F) the components of an effective transitional and vocational curriculum;


G) strategies for facilitating maintenance and generalization of skills across learning environments;


H) sources of specialized materials, equipment, and assistive technology for individuals with disabilities;


I) the principle of partial participation as it applies to students with disabilities;


J) the use of adaptive equipment for students with disabilities;


K) the concept of longitudinal transition plans;


L) short- and long-range plans consistent with curriculum goals, learner diversity, and learning theory;


M) the process for inventorying instructional environments to meet a student's individual needs;


N) cultural perspectives related to effective instruction for students with disabilities;


O) physical adaptations to the environment to meet individual needs; and


P) integration of assistive and instructional technology to meet a student's individual needs.


2) Performance The competent special education teacher:


A) develops and/or selects relevant instructional content, materials, resources, and strategies that respond to cultural, linguistic, gender, and learning style differences;


B) selects and uses appropriate technologies to accomplish instructional objectives;


C) develops appropriate lesson plans that incorporate curriculum and instructional strategies with individualized education goals and benchmarks;


D) utilizes strategies for facilitating maintenance and generalization of skills across learning environments;


E) integrates related services into the instructional program;


F) evaluates general curricula and determines the scope and sequence of the academic content areas of language arts and math;


G) analyzes individual and group performance in order to design instruction that meets learners' current needs in the cognitive, social, emotional, and physical domains at the appropriate level of development in the least restrictive environment;


H) designs learning experiences to promote students' skills in the use of technologies;


I) evaluates teaching resources and curricular materials for comprehensiveness, accuracy, and usefulness;


J) utilizes resources and materials that are developmentally and functionally valid;


K) uses the principle of partial participation in planning for all students;


L) develops curricula relevant to life skills domains: domestic, recreation/leisure, vocational, and community; and


M) plans and implements transition programs appropriate to the age and skill level of the student.


e) Learning Environment The competent special education teacher uses an understanding of individual and group motivation and behavior to create a learning environment that encourages positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation.


1) Knowledge The competent special education teacher understands:


A) strategies for preparing individuals to live harmoniously and productively in a multi-class, multiethnic, multicultural, and multinational world;


B) basic classroom management theories and methods;


C) aspects of the physical setting, schedule, routines, and transitions that promote development and learning;


D) the effects of teacher attitudes and behaviors on all students;


E) laws, rules and regulations, procedural safeguards, and ethical considerations regarding management of behaviors of individuals with disabilities;


F) strategies for individual behavior management, crisis prevention, and intervention;


G) functional assessment of behavior and the components of behavior intervention plans;


H) approaches to adapting environments to meet the specific learning and developmental needs of individuals;


I) strategies for conflict resolution;


J) effective instructional strategies for social skills development;


K) issues, resources, and techniques related to the integration of students with disabilities into and out of special centers, psychiatric hospitals, and residential treatment centers;


L) how to identify realistic expectations for student behavior in various settings;


M) the characteristics of environments, including materials, equipment, and spatial arrangements, that facilitate development, learning, and interaction between and among students;


N) ways in which technology can assist with creating and managing the learning environment;


O) common environmental barriers that hinder accessibility;


P) personal attitudes and biases that affect acceptance of individuals with disabilities; and


Q) supervision of paraprofessional educators.


2) Performance The competent special education teacher:


A) identifies, uses and evaluates appropriate reinforcers to enhance learning and motivation;


B) uses strategies and techniques to arrange and modify the learning environment to facilitate learning according to an individual's physical, sensory, and/or behavioral needs;


C) designs, structures, and manages daily routines effectively, including transition time for groups and individuals;


D) uses assistive technology, when applicable, to create, arrange, and maintain a positive environment that facilitates learning and interaction;


E) monitors and analyzes changes in individual and group behavior and performance across settings, curricular areas, and activities;


F) designs, implements, and evaluates instructional programs that enhance an individual's social participation in family, school, and community activities;


G) develops, implements, and evaluates the effects of positive behavior intervention techniques and individual behavior intervention plans for individuals with disabilities;


H) applies appropriate, non-aversive, least intrusive management procedures when presented with spontaneous behavioral problems;


I) elects target behaviors to be changed and conducts a functional assessment of the target behavior;


J) plans and directs the activities of classroom paraprofessionals, volunteers, and/or peer tutors;


K) coordinates activities with related services personnel to maximize instruction and time;


L) uses procedures to help individuals develop self-awareness, self-control, self-reliance, self-esteem, and self-determination and manage their own behavior;


M) uses transfers (floor to sitting, sitting to floor, chair to chair) correctly and identifies incorrect procedures for handling and positioning; and


N) facilitates mobility, including head and trunk control, sitting, crawling, standing, walking, and wheelchair use.


f) Instructional Delivery The competent special education teacher understands the central concepts and methods of inquiry; uses a variety of instructional strategies to encourage students' development of critical thinking, problem-solving, and performance skills; and creates learning experiences that make content meaningful to all students (ages 3-21).


1) Knowledge The competent special education teacher understands:


A) techniques for modifying instructional methods, curricular materials and the environment to meet learners' needs that are appropriate to those learners' ages and skill levels; and


B) how cultural and gender differences affect communication.


2) Performance The competent special education teacher:


A) uses a variety of explanations and multiple representations of concepts that capture key ideas to help students develop conceptual understandings;


B) stimulates student reflection on prior knowledge and links new ideas to already familiar ideas and experiences;


C) facilitates learning experiences that develop social skills;


D) uses instructional time effectively and efficiently;


E) chooses and implements instructional techniques and strategies that promote successful transitions for individuals with disabilities;


F) adapts materials according to the needs of individuals with disabilities;


G) facilitates a learning community in which individual differences are respected;


H) creates varied opportunities for all students to use effective written, verbal, nonverbal and visual communication;


I) uses research-supported instructional strategies and practices;


J) identifies ways to enhance a reinforcer's effectiveness in instruction;


K) uses chronologically age-appropriate instruction and materials; and


L) facilitates the integration of related services into the instructional program.


g) Collaborative Relationships The competent special education teacher uses knowledge of effective written, verbal, and visual communication techniques to foster active inquiry, collaboration, and supportive interaction among professionals, parents, paraprofessionals, and students.


1) Knowledge The competent special education teacher understands:


A) factors that promote effective communication and collaboration with individuals, parents, families, and school and community personnel in a culturally responsive program;


B) roles of individuals with disabilities, parents, teachers, and other school and community personnel in planning an individualized program;


C) ethical practices for confidential communication to others about individuals with disabilities;


D) typical concerns of families of individuals with disabilities and appropriate strategies for collaborating with families in addressing these concerns (including families transitioning into and out of the special education system);


E) the effects of family and community on development, behavior and learning;


F) family systems theory and dynamics and differences in family structures and beliefs;


G) roles and responsibilities of school-based medical and related services personnel, professional groups, and community organizations in identifying, assessing, and providing services to individuals with disabilities;


H) information generally available from family, school officials, the legal system, and community service agencies;


I) early childhood settings and other agencies related to young children and families as organizations within the larger community context; and


J) resources, strategies, networks, organizations, and unique services that work with individuals with disabilities and their families (including career, vocational, and transition support), including possible funding agencies and financial sources for secondary aged students (local, State, and federal).


2) Performance The competent special education teacher:


A) collaborates with a team, including families, to develop and implement individual student programs (Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSPs), transition plans, etc.);


B) encourages and supports families in their student's programs and in becoming active participants in the educational team;


C) plans and conducts collaborative conferences with families or primary caregivers;


D) collaborates with parents and educators in the use of specific academic or behavior management strategies and counseling techniques;


E) initiates collaboration with others and creates situations where that collaboration will enhance student learning;


F) collaborates with classroom teachers, parents, paraprofessional educators, and other school and community personnel in integrating individuals with disabilities into various social and learning environments;


G) communicates with general educators, administrators, paraprofessional educators, and other school personnel about characteristics and needs of individuals with disabilities;


H) assists students, in collaboration with parents and other professionals, in planning for transition to adulthood, including employment and community and daily life, with maximum opportunities for decision-making and full participation in the community;


I) demonstrates the ability to train, monitor, evaluate, and provide feedback to paraprofessional educators; and

J) works with colleagues to develop an effective learning climate within the school.


h) Professional Conduct and Leadership The competent special education teacher understands teaching as a profession, maintains standards of professional conduct, and provides leadership to improve students' learning and well-being.


1) Knowledge The competent special education teacher understands:


A) personal and cultural biases and differences that affect one's teaching and interactions with others;


B) the importance of the teacher serving as a role model and advocate for all students;


C) schools as organizations within the larger community context;


D) consumer and professional organizations, publications, and journals relevant to individuals with disabilities; and


E) rights to privacy, confidentiality, and respect for differences among all persons interacting with individuals with disabilities.


2) Performance The competent special education teacher:


A) demonstrates commitment to developing the highest educational and quality-of-life potential of individuals with disabilities;


B) demonstrates positive regard for the culture, religion, gender, and sexual orientation of individual students and their families;


C) promotes and maintains a high level of integrity in the practice of the profession in accordance with the professional ethical standards set forth in "What Every Special Educator Must Know: Ethics, Standards, and Guidelines" (2009) published by the Council for Exceptional Children, 2900 Crystal Drive, Suite 1000, Arlington, Virginia 22202 and available at http://www.cec.sped.org/~/ media/Files/Standards/News%20and %20Reports/Redbook%

202009.pdf. (No later amendments to or editions of these standards are incorporated by this rule.);


D) exercises objective professional judgment in the practice of the profession;


E) engages in professional activities that benefit individuals with disabilities, their families, and/or colleagues, including participation in the activities of professional organizations relevant to individuals with disabilities;


F) recognizes signs of emotional distress, child abuse, and neglect and follows procedures for reporting known or suspected abuse or neglect to appropriate authorities;


G) maintains confidentiality of medical and academic records and respect for privacy of individuals with disabilities; and


H) maintains ethical responsibility to advocate for the least restrictive environment and appropriate services.


i) Reflection and Professional Growth The competent special education teacher is a reflective practitioner who continually evaluates how choices and actions affect students, parents, and other professionals in the learning community and actively seeks opportunities to grow professionally.


1) Knowledge The competent special education teacher understands:


A) benefits and strategies of mentorship;


B) the continuum of lifelong professional development; and


C) central concepts and methods of inquiry for reflecting on practice and problem-solving.


2) Performance The competent special education teacher:


A) reflects on his or her practice to improve instruction and guide professional growth; and


B) ensures that his or her professional development plan includes activities to remain current regarding research-validated practice.


(Source: Amended at 38 Ill. Reg. 6313, effective February 27, 2014)