Date of Award

Spring 1995

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Services - Urban Education

Committee Director

Stephen W. Tonelson

Committee Director

Jane Hager

Committee Member

Robert A. Gable

Committee Member

Robert H. MacDonald

Committee Member

Allen G. Sandler

Committee Member

Stephen G. Greiner


This research was conducted in a large urban elementary school where six students with severe and profound disabilities (SPD) were integrated fully in age-appropriate classrooms. The purpose of the research was to collect evidence regarding the effectiveness of this full-integration program. The results were as follows: (1) Reading and math achievement scores were not affected by the presence of an SPD student in the classroom except for in grade 4 where apparently math achievement was affected adversely. (2) Fourth graders in classes with a fully-integrated SPD student had more positive attitudes about persons with disabilities than students in the control classes. (3) Parents and students responded positively to questions about the program. The results of a staff questionnaire were mixed with responses indicating a need for effective communication, training, and voluntary participation. (4) There was initial positive social interaction between SPD students and their general education peers that was sustained throughout the school year. (5) Analysis of acquisition of adaptive behavior skills revealed a decline in daily living skills. (6) There was no significant difference between the proportion of IEP objectives mastered by SPD students when these students were integrated fully and when they were in self-contained classrooms. (7) Teachers in classes with a fully-integrated SPD student planned lessons for small groups and individual students more frequently than teachers in control classes. Additionally, the teachers in the experimental classes initiated individual instruction more often than the control teachers and 50% of these initiations were with the SPD students.

These findings underscore the many factors which must be considered when integrating SPD students in general education environments. Additionally, this analysis provides mixed results which point to the need for further research.


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