Self-Contained Special Educators’ Perceptions toward Including Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities in General Education Classes

Olivia Fudge Coleman, John McDonnell, Jessica Bowman, Carrie Eichelberger, Joanna Ryan, Lyndsey Aiono Conradi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Teachers’ perceptions play a critical role in defining and giving meaning to new initiatives and policies in schools. However, very little is known about the perceptions of self-contained special educators responsible for students with significant cognitive disabilities (SCD) pertaining to the inclusion of students with SCD in general education classes and how those perceptions impact educational programming. In this qualitative study, the authors conducted semi-structured interviews with 21 special educators responsible for students with SCD who taught in self-contained classes within traditional public schools. The interview was designed to explore special educators’ perceptions pertaining to including students with SCD in general education classes and possible personal and environmental factors that may influence their perceptions. The findings suggest that self-contained special educators responsible for students with SCD are tentatively supportive of including their students in general education classes. However, several factors (e.g., lack of support, student abilities and skills, general educator attitudes) and reservations appeared to impact special educators’ decision-making pertaining to including their students with SCD in general education classes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-307
Number of pages17
JournalExceptionality
Volume31
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs grant H325160064, The University of Utah Leadership Education Project (ULEP).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Taylor & Francis.

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