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Demand leads to new degree at ASU

PHOENIX — School districts across Arizona asked for it and Arizona State University is delivering.

Dr. Cory Cooper Hansen of ASU said the school has introduced the state’s only bachelor’s degree program leading to certification in both early childhood education and special education.

“Most children who have special needs are identified in those early childhood years,” said Hansen, an associate professor and early childhood program coordinator. “And the sooner we can get intervention the more effective we can be.”

She said early intervention is particularly effective with language. Speech therapy at a young age is more effective because children’s brains are more receptive and they’re developing language skills.

Hansen said the focus on special education can help all Arizona families.

“So, maybe you have a typically developing child who needs some reinforcement in social skills, let’s say. All the sudden you have a teacher who has studied how to meet a range of social skills development. And, so your child is going to be getting that expertise.”