CEC Initial and Advanced Specialty Sets

One of the premises upon which the professional field of special education is based is that there is specialized knowledge and skill that professionals must master to educate individuals with exceptionalities. Historically, these sets of knowledge and skills were organized by exceptionality, e.g. learning disabilities, gifts and talents, developmental disabilities, etc. Later, functional disciplines were added, e.g. administration, early childhood special education, technology, etc.

In developing Specialty Sets, CEC rigorously validated the knowledge and skills (Specialty Sets) needed for safe and effective practice of the various professional disciplines. In its validation of specialty sets, CEC uses a rigorous process (Validation Studies Resource Manual) to document the professional knowledge base, including empirical research, disciplined inquiry, informed theory, and the wisdom of practice in an accompanying Literature Report. These Specialty Sets are composed of two parts: the knowledge and skills that are shared across all special education disciplines combined with the knowledge and skills idiosyncratic to each the respective disciplines.

Special education preparation program faculties are the primary users of the Specialty Sets to map their professional programs with the items in the respective Specialty Set that most closely aligns to the role(s) for which the program is designed to prepare candidates. Special education program faculties differentiate their courses of study for the ages, setting, issues, instructional technologies, curricula, etc. using the latter part of the Specialty Sets. 

For guidance selecting the appropriate specialty set for a preparation program see Initial and Advanced Specialty Sets Flowchart.

For the schedule of when each specialty set was last (re)validated see Validation Studies Schedule 07 2013

Specialty Sets Inform the CEC Preparation Standards

In 2002 CEC synthesized the essential elements of the Specialty Sets into the CEC Content Standards for use by special education preparation program faculties in developing and aligning their program assessments. In 2012 CEC organized the CEC Preparation Standards into seven standards with not more than twenty-eight elements.

The seven initial and advanced CEC Preparation Standards with the major elements describe the specialized knowledge and skill common across all special education disciplines essential to practice safely and effectively at initial and advanced levels. However, in reviewing program recognition reports CEC uses the idiosyncratic content, issues, vocabulary, interventions, settings, etc. of the respective Specialty Sets to inform the CEC Preparation Standards. Faculty in special education preparation programs will use either the initial or advanced CEC Preparation Standards as informed by the appropriate Specialty Set to reflect the content, issues, vocabulary, interventions, settings, etc. specific to the respective set. Understanding Specialty Set coding is a brief explanation of the history of the specialty sets along with how the specialty set items are coded.

The following drafts of the initial and advanced specialty sets are reorganized from the ten Content Standards organization into the seven Preparation Standards organization for the convenience of faculty working on CEC Program Recognition. 

Initial Specialty Sets

Draft Initial Special Education Blind and Visually Impaired Specialty Set

Draft Initial Special Education Deaf and Hard of Hearing Specialty Set

Draft Initial Special Education Deafblind Specialty Set

Draft Initial Special Education Developmental Disabilities and Autism Specialty Set

Draft Initial Special Education Early Childhood Specialty Set

Draft Initial Special Education Emotional and Behavior Disorders Specialty Set

Draft Initial Special Education Gifted and Talented Specialty Set

Draft Initial Special Education Individualized General and Independence Curriculum Combined Specialty Set

Draft Initial Special Education Individualized General Curruculum Specialty Set

Draft Initial Special Education Individualized Independence Curriculum Specialty Set

Draft Initial Special Education Learning Disabilities Specialty Set

Draft Initial Special Education Physical Health Disabilities Specialty Set

Advanced Specialty Sets

Draft Advanced Special Education Academic Intervention Specialist Set

Draft Advanced Special Education Administrator Specialist Set

Draft Advanced Special Education Behavior Intervention Specialist Set

Draft Advanced Special Education Deaf and Hard of Hearing Specialtist Set

Draft Advanced Special Education Developmental Disabilities and Autism Specialtist Set

Draft Advanced Special Education Diagnostician Specialist Set

Draft Advanced Special Education Early Childhood Specialist Set

Draft Advanced Special Education Gifted and Talented Specialist Set

Draft Advanced Special Education Inclusion Specialist Set

Draft Advanced Special Education Learning Disabilities Specialist Set

Draft Advanced Special Education Technology Specialist Set

Draft Advanced Special Education Transition Specialist Set