Graduation Year


Document Type

Ed. Specalist



Degree Name

Education Specialist (Ed.S.)

Degree Granting Department

Psychological and Social Foundations

Major Professor

Linda Raffaele Mendez, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Phyllis Jones, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Daphne Thomas, Ph.D.


Inclusive Education, Students with Disabilities, Home/School Collaboration, Qualitative Research


This study examined the perspectives that mothers of children with Down syndrome (Ds) hold regarding the most appropriate educational environments for their children. Environments for students with Ds may be classified as inclusive (fully included within a general education classroom with complete access to the general curriculum and typical peers), integrated (self-contained within a general education school, with some interaction with typical peers), or segregated (separate school for students with intellectual disabilities, or InD). A qualitative research design using semi-structured interviews and a follow-up focus group was used to gather thick, rich descriptions of mothers’ perspectives of these different types of settings, including academic (e.g., reading, math) and non-academic (e.g., self-esteem, peer relationships) outcomes for their children. Mothers of children of different ages (N=6) were recruited to allow for examination of how of mothers’ perspectives may change over time or vary with the child’s age. Findings yielded information that can be used to help parents and educators understand mothers’ perspectives on the risks and benefits of different types of educational environments for youth with Ds.