Special Education


Faculty—Barbara Hong,

School of Education, Room 124, (808)675-3887

Chair—Karen Latham,

School of Education, Room 125, (808)675-3458

Academic AdvisorMarilee Ching,

Aloha Center 136, (808)675-3891


Barbara S. S. Hong, (1997) B.S. Brigham Young University Hawaii; (1998) M.A. Teachers College, Columbia University; (2000) M.Ed. Teachers College, Columbia University; (2002) M.Phil. Columbia University; (2002) Ph.D. Columbia University.


Requirements and procedures for admission to an undergraduate teacher education program in the School of Education.


The Special Education Area of Focus (SEAF) is designed to help prospective teachers understand the variety of mild to moderate disabilities that exist, the laws that govern education in the United States, and the current evidence-based methodologies for working effectively with individuals with disabilities. All courses are aligned with the performance standards established by the Hawaii Teacher Standards Board (HTSB) and the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). The special education courses are taken either with the elementary or the secondary education program with the aim of establishing a broader understanding of the skills and knowledge in working with diverse population. The additional courses do not add to the hours for student teaching currently required for licensing but will be split (50 percent) between the general education setting and the special education setting.


The Special Education Area of Focus (SEAF) is an innovative teacher preparation program that leads to a Bachelor of Science in Elementary or Secondary Education degree with certification and licensing in working with students with mild to moderate disabilities. Teacher candidates will be registered in one of these options:

  • B.S. in Elementary Education with an Area of Focus in Special Education (Licensure Track)
  • B.S. in Elementary Education with an Area of Focus in Special Education (Non-Licensure Track with Certification in Special Education)
  • B.S. in Secondary Education with an Area of Focus in Special Education (Licensure Track)
  • B.S. in Secondary Education with an Area of Focus in Special Education (Non-Licensure Track with Certification in Special Education) 

COURSES in addition to required credits in elementary/secondary major

SPED 309 Theory and Practice with Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities (3) f,w,s Organization of educational programs, diagnosis, curriculum development, and teaching methods for students with mild/moderate learning disabilities. (Prerequisite: SPED 300) (Pre/Co-requisite: EDU 312)

ELED 492; SCED 492 Student Teaching (12)Supervised teaching in the elementary/secondary schools. Seminar attendance required. Successful completion of PRAXIS series required for U.S. licensees. (Prerequisites: ELED 491 and formal admission to the School of Education.)

Special Education Area of Focus: Successful completion of PRAXIS (Special Education: Core Knowledge and Mild to Moderate Applications (5543) required for U.S. licensees. Half (50 percent) of the student teaching will relate to individuals with disabilities.  No additional hours required.


The need for highly qualified special education teachers is on the rise across the United States and around the world. A license in Special Education qualifies individuals to teach students with mild to moderate disabilities of all types, with the exception of visual and hearing impairments, in both the elementary and secondary school setting. With this degree and experience, pathways to career and graduate studies opportunities are greatly enhanced. These may include special education teaching in an inclusive or non-inclusive setting, speech therapy, physical therapy, reading specialist, behavioral specialist, music therapy, special education counseling, diagnostician, special education administrative and specialist positions at private and public schools, the school districts, and state level.


The Special Education Area of Focus at Brigham Young University Hawaii has been approved by the Hawaii Teacher Standard Board (HTSB). The School of Education maintains national accreditation with the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) in preparing highly quality teachers for working with individuals with special needs in an elementary or secondary school setting.


1.0   Beginning special education professionals understand how exceptionalities may interact with development and learning and use this knowledge to provide meaningful and challenging learning experiences for individuals with exceptionalities.

2.0   Beginning special education professionals create safe, inclusive, culturally responsive learning environments so that individuals with exceptionalities become active and effective learners and develop emotional well-being, positive social interactions, and self-determination.

3.0   Beginning special education professionals use knowledge of general and specialized curricula to individualize learning for individuals with exceptionalities.

4.0   Beginning special education professionals use multiple methods of assessment and data-sources in making educational decisions.

5.0   Beginning special education professionals select, adapt, and use a repertoire of evidence-based instructional strategies to advance learning of individuals with exceptionalities.

6.0   Beginning special education professionals use foundational knowledge of the field and their professional Ethical Principles and Practice Standards to inform special education practice, to engage in lifelong learning, and to advance the profession.

7.0   Beginning special education professionals collaborate with families, other educators, related service providers, individuals with exceptionalities, and personnel from community agencies in culturally responsive ways to address the needs of individuals with exceptionalities across a range of learning experiences.