B.S.Ed. in Special Education, Learning Behavior Specialist I emphasis


Special Education

Visual Disabilities 

There are two Special Education degree options:

Bachelor of Science in Education degree with an emphasis in Visual Impairments in the Department of Special and Early Education 

Students in this emphasis are prepared to work as certified special education teachers with children with visual disabilities, as an orientation and mobility specialist with children and adults with visual disabilities, or as a rehabilitation teacher with adults who have visual disabilities.

Bachelor of Science in Education degree with an emphasis in Learning Behavior Specialist I (LBSI) in the Department of Special and Early Education 

Students in this emphasis are prepared to work in the classroom with individuals with a wide array of disabilities from kindergarten through age 21.

What will I study?

Teacher candidates will learn how to work with students who have a variety of disabilities and abilities, how to teach all students, and how to integrate students into schools and community organizations. They will also learn effective ways to incorporate common core standards and curriculum with individual education plans as well as learn how to use assistive technology. Check out the Catalog Program Information.


The most common minor associated with LBSI majors is Deaf Rehabilitation. The most common endorsements associated with LBSI and Vision majors are English as a Second Language endorsement, Early Childhood Approval (LBSI majors only), and Social Science endorsement (LBSI majors).

What are some interesting classes I might take?

Our methods courses are directly related to clinical experiences where candidates apply evidence-based practices learned in the classroom to real-life educational settings:

  • Consultation and Collaboration Skills for Special Educators
  • Linking Student Characteristics to Educational Interventions
  • Social/Emotional Behavior Support and Management
  • Communication Systems Used By Persons with Visual Impairments
  • Instructional Systems for Use of Low Vision in Educational Settings

What hands-on learning opportunities are available?

Hands-on learning is an integral part of the Special Education curriculum and may include these courses:

SESE 370 - Educational Interventions for Students with Diverse Abilities - teacher candidates receive early exposure to services in special education in settings such as community programs like the Penguin Players, etc.

SESE 461 - Assistive Technology for Individuals with Autism and Multiple Disabilities. Working in the COE Assistive Technology Lab, students learn a variety of low- and high-tech applications for students with disabilities.

Additionally, the College of Education offers the Educate program, giving students a classroom immersion experience locally, in the U.S., or globally.

What can I do with this degree?

Special Education teachers with a Learning Behavior Specialist I emphasis mostly work in schools with students who have a wide array of disabilities but are also employed by group homes, residential treatment centers and early intervention centers.

Those who specialize in Visual Impairments are frequently employed by school districts to work with students in their schools who have visual impairments.

Special Education Occupational Outlook


Contact special education advisor Barb Amberg at bamberg@niu.edu or 815-753-8359.

Program for Learning Behavior Specialist I

Program for Vision

What's the next step?

Request more information or apply!