Counseling Psychology & Special Education (CPSE)

Description of Mild/Moderate and Severe Disabilities


Successful completion of all coursework, practica, and student teaching/internship leads to professional licensure in special education from the State of Utah. This teaching license, which is transferable to states with which the Utah State Office of Education has reciprocity agreements, permits holders to teach children with disabilities aged 5-22.

Mild/Moderate Disabilities

Licensure to teach students with mild/moderate disabilities prepares candidates to teach students with learning or behavioral difficulties which impede normal or expected academic achievement.  Elementary teachers work primarily with beginning or remedial skills in reading, writing, math, and social behaviors.  Secondary teachers address these skills in addition to preparing students to transition to vocations or to post-secondary education. 

Students with mild/moderate disabilities generally spend all or part of their time in regular classrooms, but may also receive special education for part of the day in resource rooms or in self-contained classrooms within the school.  Most mild/moderate students have learning disabilities, communication disorders, or emotional and behavioral disorders.  Some students may have intellectual disabilities, high-functioning autism, or disabilities caused by traumatic brain injury.

Severe Disabilities

Licensure to teach students with severe disabilities prepares candidates to teach students whose difficulties require functional academics and life skills instruction (e.g., communication, social behavior, and daily living activities).  These students may have intellectual disabilities, autism, other health impairments, multiple disabilities, or severe effects of traumatic brain injuries.  Students with severe disabilities are most often taught in self-contained classrooms within the school.  Where appropriate, these students are included in general classrooms; some may attend separate schools designed to meet their special needs.