Educators use the terms "non categorical," "cross-categorical," "multi categorical" and "mixed ability" to describe special-education classrooms containing students with a wide variety of special needs and capabilities. While certification requirements differ among the states, teachers in noncategorical classrooms must have special education training.
Requirements and Rationale
The purpose of the noncategorical class is to give special-needs students the close attention they require so they can return to the inclusive classroom. Students in such classrooms may exhibit moderate behavioral problems or have disorders, such as autism or related problems, that contribute to social and communication challenges. Classes may be small -- a dozen students or fewer. Experienced educators give these cross-categorical classes more differentiated instruction.
Noncategorical Classroom Teachers
Some schools now offer certification for teachers working in noncategorical classrooms. Students at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville take 18 credits and focus on three disability areas and study special-education law, inclusion techniques and assessment. Fairmont State University in Fairmont, West Virginia, offers a similar program with coursework in teaching reading and math as well as working with students' behavioral problems. Practicum experience typically rounds out such programs.
- Teacher SOL: Multi-Categorical or Non-categorical Special Educator
- National Education Association: NEA "Idea Brief" #6
- Sutter County Superintendent of Schools: Special Education Non-categorical
- University of Wisconsin-Platteville: Cross-categorical Special Education (801) Program
- Fairmont State University: Multi-categorical Special Education -- Education Majors -- Course Sequence
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