Graduation Term


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Special Education

Committee Chair

Mark Zablocki


Inclusion of students with emotional disturbances (ED) is encouraged nationally through litigation and legislation. Despite this fact, 38.1% of the students with ED spend less than 40% of their day in a regular education classroom due to several barriers. Research has demonstrated that one of the barriers to inclusion exists in general education teachers’ attitudes towards the inclusion of students with disabilities. The purpose of this research study was to use a qualitative design to study the perspectives of general education teachers at the elementary level in an urban Illinois school district towards the phenomenon of the inclusion of students with ED. In order to accomplish this, five participants were interviewed to provide data for the study.

The findings of this research study show that there are mixed perspectives among elementary, general education teachers towards the inclusion of students with ED. Participants feel that it made them a stronger teacher and benefited students with ED through social modeling. They were concerned, however, about the work environment and safety for others. Participants felt there were four main barriers to the inclusion of students with ED: (a) safety, (b) student behaviors, (c) time, and (d) information. However, these barriers could be addressed through providing the supports of planning, professional development and training, and staff. From the review of literature and these findings, I developed a list of recommendations for policies and practice and implications for further study.


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