Date of Award

Summer 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Communication Disorders & Special Education


Special Education

Committee Director

Robert A, Gable

Committee Member

Stephen W. Tonelson

Committee Member

Linda Bol


Despite longstanding acknowledgement regarding the effectiveness of behavior specific praise for students with emotional disabilities, there continues to be an underuse of this strategy with this population. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of a tiered training intervention on teachers' use of behavior specific praise during the small group reading instruction of elementary students with emotional disabilities. A multiple baseline design was used across two groups of teacher and student participants as the means of investigating the effectiveness of the training model on teachers' use of behavior specific praise and the associated student outcomes. Similar to previous studies, results indicated that a brief approach to teacher training may be effective in increasing teachers' use of behavior specific for students with emotional disabilities during small group reading instruction. Future research is needed to explore increasing teachers' maintenance of this strategy, the effect of behavior specific praise on the academic achievement of students with emotional disabilities, and the challenges of conducting research in an applied setting for students with emotional disabilities.