Our Early Care and Education for Young Children with Disabilities program prepares you to begin working in the growing profession of early intervention and early childhood special education. You will learn how to improve learning outcomes and promote optimal development of young children who have or are at risk for developmental delays or disabilities. Our program provides learning opportunities that emphasize best practices in supporting children’s access and participation in inclusive settings and natural learning environments.

Hands on Practice

You will be involved in immediate, hands-on training in our nationally accredited Child and Family Development Center along with a variety of settings in both preschool special education and early intervention. In these settings you are provided opportunities to work beside highly trained early childhood teachers and professionals, practice the skills you are learning, and complete assignments directly related to your studies.

Include a Certificate to your Degree

This program offers a Young Children with Autism and Exceptionalities certificate that includes classes toward the Associate degree.


The faculty and teaching staff of the CFS department view teaching as both an emotional and intellectual process.  The program aims to develop within students the ability to be curious observers of children and to be thoughtful educators who develop knowledge with children through interactive learning and play.

ECE Conceptual Framework Visual Representation

Graduates are prepared for immediate entry as competent professionals to work in a variety of early childhood settings including Family Centered Early Supports and Services or other early intervention teams, public schools, licensed child care centers, Early Head Start, Head Start, as well as home-based, community-based, or private settings. Some roles in these settings could include intake coordinator, *autism educational assistant, *home visitor, lead teacher in childcare, or *1-1 support aide/paraprofessional. Students wishing to pursue other opportunities in early intervention or early childhood special education may further their education at a four year college/university. The degree also meets the training and education requirements for the State of NH Early Childhood Professional Development System credential of NH Early Childhood Teacher, Level 5. (Refer to the Early Childhood Professional Development System Guide for other criteria for this level.) The degree is offered both face-to-face and online.

Graduates will be able to: 

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of young children’s characteristics and needs to create environments that are healthy, respectful, supportive, and challenging for each child. 
  2. Demonstrate that they know about, understand, and value the importance of creating respectful, reciprocal relationships to support and empower families in their communities. 
  3. Demonstrate their ability to responsibly observe, document, and assess children in a manner that supports young children and families.
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of developmentally effective approaches which emphasize positive relationships and supportive interactions to influence outcomes for individual children. 
  5. Demonstrate their ability to design, implement, and evaluate learning experiences that promote a wide range of academic disciplines to build meaningful curriculum. 
  6. Demonstrate their ability to identify and connect themselves as members of the early childhood profession. 
  7. Demonstrate a variety of Early childhood field experiences.
  8. Demonstrate a basic understanding of relevant professional, legal, and regulatory guidelines for serving every child.
  9. Demonstrate the ability to participate in early intervention and special needs interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary teams. 
  10.  Implement various interventions for young children with ASD and children with disabilities across all developmental domains.

Early Care and Education for Young Children with Disabilities Degree


Course NumberCourse TitleCLLABCR
Fall Semester
#ECE 101CGrowth and Development of the Young Child* ^303
#ECE 155CUsing Children’s Literature to Support Young Children’s Language and Literacy Development^303
 ENGL 101CEnglish Composition404
 MATH 120CQuantitative Reasoning404
Spring Semester
 ASL 104CAmerican Sign Language for Beginners303
#ECE143CTeaching and Learning STEAM^303
#ECE 167CPositive Behavior Guidance and Supporting Young Children with Challenging Behaviors^303
#ECE 270CTeaching Young Children with Exceptionalities303
 PSYC 105CIntroduction to Psychology303


Fall Semester
#ECE 225CAutism Spectrum Disorder303
#ECE 282CPreschool Special Education Practicum274
 ENGL 120MCCommunications or
 ENGL xxxCLiterature Elective303
 XX xxxCGeneral Elective (EDU 201C or EDU 204C suggested)303
 XX xxxCSocial Science Elective ++303
Spring Semester
#ECE 215CInfant/Toddler Development and Programming^303
#ECE 242CChild, Family and Community303
#ECE 283CEarly Intervention Practicum *274
#ECE 290CEarly Childhood Leadership Seminar101
 XX xxxCLab Science Elective+404
#  Indicates major field courses.
¥  Students whose placement test scores suggest difficulty with lengthy and complex assignments are strongly advised to complete the program in 3 or more years.
+  BIOL 100C, CHEM 100C, and PHYS 100C do not meet this requirement.
++  Any course with a prefix of ANTH, ECON, HIST, POLS, PSYC or SOCI (except HIST 104C and HIST 105C).
* NOTE: The two practica for this degree can be offered in both the fall and spring semesters. Course sequence will change depending on the semester in which students take each practicum. Students will work closely with their advisor to assure appropriate course sequence for each practicum.
^ All students taking the following courses ECE 101C, ECE 143C, ECE 155C, ECE 167C and ECE 215C will be charged a $25 Child and Family Development Center Lab fee for each class.

CL – Number of lecture/classroom hours per week for the course
LAB – Number of simulation laboratory, laboratory or clinical hours per week for the course
CR – Number of credit hours for the course

Specific Admission Requirements

  1. NHTI placement testing (see NOTE below); and
  2. Satisfactory interview with Child and Family Studies program faculty

NOTE: Applicants whose placement scores indicate the need for ENGL 100C and/or RDNG 100C or who have a low LASSI score may enroll as ECE* students within the General Studies program. ECE* students:

  1. are advised by Child and Family Studies faculty;
  2. begin their first semester of study with ENGL 100C and/or RNDG 100C along with GST 102C (Study Strategies);
  3. observe and participate at the campus Lab School with children to become familiar with the environment, children, and teaching staff for a period of not less than 15 hours. Documented hours will be sent from the Lab School to the Department Chair of Child and Family Studies for consideration towards matriculation into the Early Childhood Education program;
  4. complete a Change of Program Form to formally matriculate as an Early Childhood Education major upon successful completion of their first semester.

Program Specific Requirements

  1. Lab Hours – All students will spend designated hours each week with infants, toddlers, preschoolers, or kindergarteners while taking early childhood courses.  These hours will be considered a component of class participation and additional CFDC lab video viewing fee applies for the following classes taken (ECE 101C, ECE 143C, ECE 155C, ECE 167C, ECE 188C, and ECE 215C).  NHTI has an NAEYC accredited child care center/lab school (The Child and Family Development Center) to meet the needs of these required lab hours.  All students are expected to use the Child and Family Development Center unless they work full-time in a licensed child care center or are 100% online and live at a distance from the NHTI campus that prohibits coming to the CFDC. (CFDC lab video viewing fee still applies)
  2. Upon acceptance into the program, students must complete the following paperwork (either for participation at CFDC or documentation from their placement in an approved child care center – working full time or 100% online):
  • A complete set of electronic fingerprints completed by the Department of Safety;
  • Submission of a criminal record check, the background check must come back clear or non-disqualifying; please note that the cost associated with completion of the fingerprinting and criminal record check is the responsibility of the student;
  • Completion of the licensing Child Care Personnel Health Form by a licensed health provider indicating that the student is in good physical health and has no mental or emotional disturbances that would prohibit him/her from caring for children in a group setting;
  • Signed confidentiality form
  • Student must be aware of the Health, Character, and Technical Standards required for this program (here in PDF), and must sign this document stating your understanding of what is required;
  • Other related documents distributed by the Department Chair

*Out of state students who are taking classes 100% online will need to complete their state’s fingerprinting and background check, complete their state’s child health care form, and complete any other paperwork that is required by child care licensing in their state.

  1. Students must have their own transportation to and from NHTI approved practicum sites in their senior year (students living on campus without transportation may complete their practicum at the CFDC.)
  2. Students must have a flexible schedule that allows them to spend weekday mornings and/or afternoons at their practicum site while taking classes.  There are no evening or weekend practicum placements.  Students should be prepared to plan any work hours around their course schedule (including child care lab and practicum hours) knowing that these hours will change each semester.
  3. All students must have access to a digital camera and video-capturing device to complete homework assignments.  The CFS department cannot award a degree unless faculty have seen students working effectively with young children in practicum.  100% online students will be video-taping themselves in action with young children during practicum to share with their practicum teachers on-line.

Early Childhood Education Scholarship Program

The Community College System of NH in partnership with the Division for Children, Youth, and Families (DHHS)to offer tuition assistance to child care providers who are entering or are currently in the field of Early Care and Education.  If you provide family child care, or work at least part time in a child care setting in New Hampshire, you may be eligible to received tuition assistance for Early Childhood Education courses offered through the CCSNH. Additional information may be accessed here.

Student must be aware of the Health, Character, and Techical Standards required for this program (here in PDF), and must sign this document stating your understanding of what is required;

NHTI reserves the right to amend its technical standards at any time and impose them on all current students.

“I first chose NHTI’s early childhood program for children with disabilities because it specifically worked with my desired age group and focus of children with exceptionalities.  I quickly fell in love with my classes, the individual support I received from my teachers, and the opportunity to not only observe but eventually work at the lab school on campus.  NHTI allowed me to have a full rounded experience through my studies in a classroom and in the field.  I later attended a four-year university and felt more than prepared to complete my bachelor’s degree.  I recommend NHTI to anyone that I talk to looking to pursue their degree in early childhood education.” 

– Emma Heath (class of 2015)


of students qualify for financial aid