Graduation Year

2008

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ed.D.

Degree Granting Department

Special Education

Major Professor

Ann Cranston-Gingras, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

James King, Ed.D.

Keywords

Special education, Behavior disorders, Disabilities, General education, Least restrictive environment

Abstract

This study examined the experiences of teachers who included students identified as having emotional disturbance in their classes while participating in a teacher support program. A secondary analysis of data collected throughout the duration of the support program was conducted to identify core issues teachers faced as they included students with emotional disturbance in their classes. The first stage of analysis involved pre-existing data from the support program. Data were organized into four periods which chronologically represented the teachers' experiences.

From this data eight core themes were identified: concerns about the lack of instructional adaptations made for students with emotional disturbance; appropriate consequences for disruptive behavior in general education; type of additional student information teachers wanted; student readiness for inclusion; the need for a supportive environment; training needs for inclusion; class size pertaining to the number of students with ED in general education classes; and teacher feedback about the support program. To provide clarification and elaboration of these core issues, stage two consisted of a focus group of eight teachers who participated in the program. Identified strengths that contributed to the success of the support program included the role of the coordinator as support person for both students and teachers and the benefits of having a supportive environment for students with emotional disturbance to return to for extra assistance.

Major conclusions from this study suggest that student readiness for inclusion, teacher support needed during inclusion, and teacher attitudes and beliefs about inclusion are critical components to the inclusion process. Implications for future research include identifying skills needed by students with emotional disturbance to transition to inclusive settings, examining the setting demands of the general education classroom, exploring students' perceptions of inclusion, and identifying effective practices for preparing teachers to work with students in inclusive settings.

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