Conquering the Behavioral Challenges of Special Needs Students

(Grades K-2) / Flex Course

PDI Course Number: 48T04 / UCSD Course Number: EDUC41621


Course Description

Do you find yourself at a loss when it comes to helping your special needs students cope with their behavioral challenges? This online course is designed for K-2 teachers who want to learn how to incorporate a variety of behavior interventions for students who have been diagnosed with disorders such as autism spectrum disorder, emotional and behavioral disorders, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The role of executive functions is examined, including how executive dysfunction can lead to classroom behavior problems. Information on behavior management is shared with a specific focus on a tiered system of behavioral support, implementing IEPs, functional behavior analysis, and behavior intervention plans. Specific strategies are introduced to help teachers support special education students who struggle behaviorally. Teachers will learn the importance of developing routines, utilizing reinforcement techniques, teaching social skills, and the role that effective praise plays in behavior management. Teachers will be introduced to a variety of team-teaching models as a form of collaboration, and they will learn techniques to better involve parents by establishing a robust school-home connection. By the end of this course, teachers will feel more confident using a variety of behavior management strategies, making them better equipped to meet the needs of their behaviorally-challenged special needs students. This course is worth 3 ⅓ semester units/5 quarter units (50 hours of training) from UC San Diego Extension. For detailed information on university credit, click here.

"Loved this course! The course gave me a better understanding of what goes on in my school with students who have special needs and behavior challenges. I will be using and referring to much of the course materials." - Deborah Greiff

Enrollment Options

Course Only

Only $127 with the discount

Course with Credit from UCSD Extension

Only $323 with the discount

This course is worth 3 ⅓ semester units or 5 quarter units of graduate-level credit from UC San Diego.

You have up to one year from the date you are enrolled to complete a flex course.


Print our customized course approval form to share with your school district.



Required Resource Book

This course has a modestly-priced required resource book (available in both new and used versions) that can be purchased through Amazon using the following link. Note that you can begin and participate in your course before the book arrives.

If you are registering for multiple courses, use the following link to access the book list for all PDI courses with direct purchase links through Amazon. PDI Course Resource Book List



UCSD Course Number: EDUC41621
Unit One
  • Understanding Behavior Management
  • The Role of Executive Functions
  • Preventing Poor Behavior Through Classroom Environment
  • Assignment #1: Write an autobiography
  • Test #1
Unit Two
  • Recording Behavior and Record Keeping
  • Reinforcement Techniques
  • Tiered Systems of Behavioral Support
  • Assignment #2: Article reflection
  • Test #2
Unit Three
  • Individualized Education Programs
  • Functional Behavior Assessment & Behavior Intervention Plans
  • Extinction of Problem Behaviors
  • Assignment #3: Share your expertise
  • Test #3
Unit Four
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Emotional and Behavioral Disorders
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Test #4
Unit Five
  • Developing Routines
  • Teaching Social Skills
  • Self-Management Strategies
  • Test #5
Unit Six
  • Effective Praise in the Classroom
  • Collaboration
  • Parent Involvement
  • Assignment #4: Respond to the classroom scenarios with appropriate strategies
  • Assignment #5: Reading/Learning Log (Based on required resource book)


Click here to request a copy of the detailed syllabus

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