Holistic Special Education is the process of understanding and mediating a child’s needs within the larger ecosystem of self, family, community and culture.  Holistic Special Education is an empowerment model based on the understanding that every child has the potential and is capable of becoming the hero of his or her own life story.

Program Goal

This Holistic Special Education Certificate will provide you with an initial understanding of holistic special education. This course will help you explore how you can empower your learner to be a self advocate who is self aware, self-determined and has the skills to design and meet their own life’s goals.

Who will benefit most from this certificate course?

This certificate course has been developed for educators, parents, and mentors who are involved in the teaching and learning process with students who have been labeled as having a learning exceptionality (disability).

The Lessons

The lessons are shared as a series of conversations with the participants. Each session will last 90 minutes and offered as a video conference on Zoom. Each session will provide you with basic information on the topic, readings for further research, and address your individual needs within the field.

Learning Outcomes

This certificate course is designed to provide learners the following knowledge and skills:

  • Lesson 1- Understanding the learner within a larger ecosystem
  • Lesson 2- Empowering the learner within their ecosystem- Observing for Learning
  • Lesson 3- Connecting content, curriculum and developmental needs
  • Lesson 4- How to assess learning and empowerment
  • Lesson 5- Co-creating a learning map or individualized learning plan
  • Lesson 6- Who are you holistically?- Ethics, values and motivations
  • Lesson 7- Creating a supportive ecosystem for yourself and your learner

Program Duration (12 hrs)

10.5 hours of direct contact
1.5 hours of outside reading and assignments

Assignments and Assessment

To qualify and receive a course certificate learners must complete the following:

  • online participation, reflection journal
  • submit holistic self assessment and growth plan (final learning outcome)

Cost of Certificate Course



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renee poindexter

Liz Simpson

Liz is a veteran educator who started her career over thirty years ago as a special education teacher. That experience taught her that all children are learning all the time. Perhaps not the same things and not at the same time, but all are learning all the time. Her experiences have taught her to study children while they are learning and you will learn how to help them when they are struggling. She returned to school 15 years ago to complete a doctorate in Educational Psychology. Her research is centered on how students learn using technology and video games and the nature of the student-teacher relationship in environments where the student is leading the learning. She is particularly interested in how teachers define their role and how to best prepare teachers to learn with the child. Her strength is in teaching human development, learning theory and pedagogy.


Main Interests

  • Special Education/Support Education and Empowerment
  • Developmental Stages of Becoming a Teacher
  • Self Determination and Empowerment for all students
  • Equine Facilitated Learning
  • Learning in Technology-based environments