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“The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible.”              

- Arthur C. Clarke

Early Childhood Special Education Assistive Technology (EC-SEAT) Project

A Specialization within the M.Ed. in Early Childhood Special Needs Option

EC-SEAT: Early Childhood Special Education Assistive Technology programResearch shows assistive technology has the potential to promote learning, development, communication, and participation of young children with disabilities in social and classroom settings by allowing greater independence in daily life. The EC-SEAT project provides professional preparation in early childhood special education and assistive technology using an interdisciplinary approach.

View the EC-SEAT blog!The University of New Hampshire Department of Education will distribute educational awards funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education to 40 graduate students. This funding supports study toward a master degree in early childhood education: special needs, NH teacher certification in early childhood special education and a graduate certificate in assistive technology.

The curriculum promotes hands-on learning in community settings by partnering with local schools and agencies to integrate the iPad as a teaching tool with young children. EC-SEAT Scholars are linked with community mentors to support the learning and AT needs of young children Birth to 3rd grade. EC-SEAT scholars are prepared to become highly skilled evidence-based special educators and practitioners for early childhood centers, early intervention centers, and elementary schools serving children with special needs.

Who Should Apply

The program is designed for individuals who are at various stages of professional education, enrolled in the M.Ed. in Early Childhood Special Needs Option at the University of New Hampshire, with high priority given to applicants from underrepresented groups, including:

  • Students from social, cultural, and racial minorities
  • Self-advocates and/or family members of individuals with special needs
  • Practicing professionals who are interested in learning more about supporting the educational needs of young children with special needs and their families


Interested students must have:

  • A bachelor's degree, an upper-level course in childhood development, and 200 hours of supervised work with children in order to be considered.
  • Students must apply and be accepted into the UNH Graduate School's master's in Early Childhood Special Needs Option."

Program Requirements

A sample full-time schedule of course offerings is depicted below. Courses with an asterisk (*) may be waived through transcript evaluation, reducing the requirements to 44 credits. Courses are typically taught after 4pm with some online, so enrollment is feasible for practicing professionals and full or part-time students.

Fall J-Term Spring Summer
Year 1
  • Diversity and Child Development (4cr)
  • Inclusive Curriculum for Young Children (4cr)
  • Introduction to Young Children with Special Needs (4cr)
  • iPad Support for Children Disabilities (3cr)
  • Sociocultural Perspectives on Teaching and Learning (4cr)
  • Curriculum for Young Children with Special Needs: Evaluation and Program Design (4cr)
  • Intro to Teaching Reading (4cr)*
Supporting Families of Individuals with Exceptionalities (4cr)
Assistive Technology (4cr)
Year 2
  • Internship and Seminar in Early Childhood Education (3cr)
  • Teaching Social Studies (2cr)*
  • Assistive Technology and Sensory, Communicative, and Cognitive Disabilities (4cr)
  • Math with Technology in Early Education (2cr)*
  • Internship and Seminar in Early Childhood Education (3cr)
  • Teaching Science (2cr)*
  • Leadership and Advocacy in Early Childhood Education (4cr)
  • Comprehensive Exams

Financial Aid

EC-SEAT scholars will receive a $20,000 educational award and an iPad for coursework and teaching (funded by the U.S. Department of Education). EC-SEAT Scholars commit to working in early childhood special education 2 years for every one year of funding. Typical service obligation is 2 years.

How to Apply

If you meet the criteria above and are interested in applying, contact program coordinator, Carrie Portrie (information below). Applications will be accepted anytime and admissions decisions made promptly on a rolling basis. For more information about the program and the application process, contact:

Carrie Portrie, M.Ed
UNH Education Department
Morrill Hall, Room 6
Durham, NH 03824

Links & Additional Resources