LDA is a Different Path

LDA is the first Alternative initial and additional special education licensure program in Minnesota. Instead of enrolling at a college or university to become a teacher, you can take courses and receive recommendation for an ABS Special Education License at LDA. Minnesota’s Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board approves of LDA’s program.

Why choose an Alternative program?

A diverse group of local experts developed our program, which includes administrators, teachers, faculty and parents. The design is purposeful, practical, and personal, providing both face-to-face rigorous coursework and 1:1 mentoring. Teacher candidates will have a variety of hands-on learning experiences and the support of a residency-based program with a mentor.

Read more about our Approach.

A Local Leader in Special Education

Founded in 1967, LDA Minnesota is a non-profit organization that has been a leader in the community for students with disabilities, advocating, assessing, and advancing the field. At LDA Minnesota, we know special education. LDA’s faculty understand special education teachers’ challenges. Their own experiences and continued close ties in the field give them a recognition of what it takes to do the action of teaching so you get exact preparation for what you’ll encounter in your own classroom. And they are backed by the professional resources of LDA Minnesota, which for more than 50 years has been supporting the field of special education in Minnesota.

We are thrilled to partner with INDIGO Education, a Minnesota-based nonprofit organization dedicated to special education leadership, innovation and best practices in special education.  INDIGO, founded over 20 years ago, serves public charter and non-traditional schools statewide, providing training, resources and results-driven special education.

Learn more at a virtual Information Session

Our Focus on Race and Equity

During the midst of the Civil Rights Movement in 1967, LDA was founded. This was a time when rights for students with either learning differences or learning difficulties, and what is today special education, were just beginning.  

57 years later, we’ve built into our ABS Licensure Program a focus on racial equity. All of our teacher candidates take the Intercultural Developmental Inventory (IDI) and receive follow-up individual and group coaching. Our intentional commitment to culturally responsive pedagogy can be seen throughout the program, from course content to our community partnerships. All in all, we have a goal to end racial disparities in special education, and our candidates will prepare to be leaders in the movement.

Why an ABS License?

This flexible special education license qualifies you to work across multiple disability areas. Special education teachers with Academic and Behavioral Specialist (ABS) licensure give their school districts more staffing flexibility in terms of providing services to students with mild to moderate needs in the areas of academic, behavior, social/emotional, communication, and functional performance.

ABS licenses prepare you to provide evaluation and specially designed instruction to children and youth from kindergarten through age 21 who are eligible for special education services in the primary disability areas of:

  • Autism spectrum disorders (ASD)
  • Developmental cognitive disability (DCD)
  • Emotional or behavioral disorders (EBD)
  • Other health disabilities (OHD)
  • Specific learning disability (SLD)

Learn more about the coursework

Convenient and Affordable

We schedule our courses for weekday evenings and weekends during Fall, Spring, and Summer sessions.  As a nonprofit, LDA raises funds to help keep our teacher candidate costs low.  Classes take place online once a week and one Saturday a month in a synchronous class session.

Application Information

We seek teacher candidates who share our passion for helping children with learning and attention challenges to achieve their potential in school and life.

How to Apply

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