Recent Submissions

  • Working with Individuals with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: A Meta-Synthesis

    Rehmer, Shelby (University of Alaska Southeast, 2014)
    This meta-synthesis of the literature on working with individuals with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) examines the characteristics of individuals with FASD and the need for supports and services for these individuals in the classroom. There are behavior characteristics unique to FASD and these behaviors coupled with sensory processing deficits lead to distinctive challenges for individuals with FASD. Early identification, supports and services are critical to address challenges for individuals with FASD in the classroom, yet are often unavailable or unidentified.
  • Universal Design for Learning as a Method for an Inclusive Classroom: A Meta-Synthesis

    Ross, Carrie (University of Alaska Southeast, 2018)
    The movement for students with special education needs to have access to the general education curriculum, to be educated with nondisabled peers, and to learn in the least restrictive environment has been ongoing and continues to be an issue in education today. Although past and current education laws support and encourage the inclusion of students with special education needs, many states and school districts still struggle to move to inclusion models, reform the school system, and provide appropriate support and training to teachers on best practices for teaching in an inclusive setting. This meta-synthesis looks at one possible model as an effective method for implementing inclusion. The model being considered and analyzed is known as Universal Design for Learning (UDL).
  • Limited Evidence Based Practices in Special Education: What’s a Teacher to Do?: A Meta-Synthesis

    Capp, Robyn (University of Alaska Southeast, 2016)
    Since the enactment of No Child Left Behind, there has been a push for scientifically based methodologies in education. While the same holds true for special education, the progress is notably slower than in the general education field. Research in regards to Evidence Based Practices (EBPs) in special education is extremely limited. Furthermore, the individualization of special education and the variation in which each individual presents their disability require that educators not use one approach to meet the needs of all students. Given the limited availability, educators must familiarize themselves with the characteristics of EBPs to make informed instructional decisions. EBPs must be implemented with fidelity. Furthermore, they must monitor student progress and be responsive to each individual’s needs. It is clear that education is in the midst of a scientific based reform. The availability of research is limited, and additional research will need to be conducted in the future.
  • The Importance of Play and Developing Executive Functions in Early Childhood Education: A Meta-Synthesis

    Riesenberger, Jesse (University of Alaska Southeast, 2015)
    This meta-synthesis reviews literature on the development of executive functions in early childhood education. This paper focuses on the use of play in the early childhood classroom and the research supporting the use of play as a teaching tool. The author included studies that addressed both typically developing children and children with developmental delays. Papers reviewed had a focus on ages 3-5 with the exception of longitudinal studies which included older participants. The author includes her professional view of this subject and how the literature included in this paper will be used to support her early childhood program.
  • Use of Response to Intervention in Social, Emotional and Behavioral Domains: A Meta-Synthesis

    Ragland, Hannah (University of Alaska Southeast, 2014)
    The use of Response to Intervention (RTI) was formalized with the passage of revisions to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in 2004. This reform bill provided Special Education programs direction on an emerging approach to assess and recommend students for special education services, RTI. The intent of RTI was to address concerns with the previous model of Special Education qualification for learning disabilities based on discrepancies in IQ achievement. The discrepancy model gave clear criteria for identifying students with special needs, but quickly became known as the “wait to fail'' model. Rather than delaying identification of students with special needs until the point they were failing, RTI provided a method for early identification of struggling students, and research-based academic interventions to address problems prior to Special Education referral.
  • Teachers’ Perceptions of Inclusive Practices for Students with Emotional/Behavioral Disorders: A Meta-Synthesis

    Prewitt, Taylor (University of Alaska Southeast, 2019)
    The term inclusion has been tossed around the educational world for several decades now. In 1975 when the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, mandated that all children with special needs should be educated in their least restrictive environment (LRE) with their general educated peers, schools began to create special schools and self-contained classrooms for students with disabilities. In the 1980’s there was a movement to create a more inclusive and unified model of special education. Separate education was no longer equal and with the Regular Education Initiative’s (REI) attempt to correct the limitations of IDEA by creating one system of general education in which students with disabilities were to be supported within general education classrooms, the push for inclusion began. One major argument against full inclusion came from those who worked with students with emotional and/or behavioral disorders
  • Brain Based Disorders Related To White Matter Integrity

    Pine, Tom (University of Alaska Southeast, 2013)
    Although students with reading and math deficits seem to be on the rise, and referrals for special education continue to grow, research in neuroimaging over the last 10 to 15 years has identified root causes to most of these problems and researchers are beginning to develop interventions to greatly reduce the negative results of these disorders. Structural integrity of the brain’s white matter is in many ways connected to most difficulties in learning, and brain based disorders. Researchers are developing computer software designed to allow students to practice skills at home. In doing this, students will induce activation of specific region of the brain intended to strengthen white matter integrity and lessen the negative effects of many brain based disorders. These interventions have already been proven effective for brain damage from cancer and cancer treatments, TBI, attention deficits, autism, dyslexia and other reading deficits, and math related disorders.
  • Disproportionality in Special Education: What Does the Future Hold?

    Perez, Liana (University of Alaska Southeast, 2019)
    This meta-synthesis of the literature on disproportionality of minorities in special education examines the profound effects that inappropriately qualifying and placing culturally and linguistically diverse students into special education programs has on our nation. With the most current data showing the continuous increase of minorities in the US school systems, it is crucial that we develop methods and strategies that will help decrease the disproportionate representation of culturally and linguistically diverse students in our special education programs. It is pertinent that educators and administrators examine their own biases, beliefs, practices and policies to ensure social justice, respect and cultural responsiveness are being implemented in each and every classroom and school
  • Working With Students with FASD and Their Families: A Meta-Synthesis

    Palmer, Nichole (University of Alaska Southeast, 2013)
    Although the definition of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder has changed over the years, the amount of Alaska Native children born with prenatal exposure to alcohol remains on the rise. Students diagnosed and undiagnosed remain in classrooms all over Alaska. Teachers struggle to understand and help meet these student’s needs to help them become successful. Connecting and bridging the gap between schools and home remains a challenge. This meta-synthesis investigates how teachers can best help students learn and effective ways to work with families of students with FASD effectively to make the student successful in school and in life.
  • Improving Self-Advocacy Among Students with Exceptionalities through Student-Led IEPs: A Meta-Synthesis

    Ownbey, Rylee (University of Alaska Southeast, 2017)
    This meta-synthesis explores the relationship between developing self-advocacy among students with exceptionalities through student-led IEPs. Students with exceptionalities often have a more difficult time developing and applying skills necessary for exhibiting self-advocacy. By providing students with an authentic opportunity to practice self-advocacy skills within the context of a school environment, educators better allow students to develop an awareness of self including strengths and needs, both of which are necessary to find success both within and outside of the school framework.
  • Educating Students After Acquiring a Traumatic Brain Injury: A Meta-Synthesis

    Noel, Caroline (University of Alaska Southeast, 2012)
    Since the addition of traumatic brain injury, as a specific category, to the Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1990, schools around the United States have become more aware of this complex, unique disability. More students are now being serviced correctly by special education teachers and support personnel, in the educational setting. As more students are entering the education system, under the disability category of traumatic brain injury, and receiving the correct individualized services for their disability, the more students are graduating from high school and going on to be successful in a college education. These individuals are able to have access to accommodations they need in school and possibly for the rest of their lives. This meta-synthesis of the literature on student reentry after a traumatic brain injury, investigates the sudden onset of injury, the academic reentry process, common characteristics as a result of injury, family dynamics caused by an injured member, and the life of an individual, post injury
  • Why RTI? A Closer Look at Response to Intervention: A Meta- Synthesis

    Miner, Alicia (University of Alaska Southeast, 2014)
    In many schools throughout our nation students are falling behind grade level. These students are often not getting the help they need until they are two or more grade levels below what is expected of their peers. Response to Intervention, or RTI, is one approach schools are using to help meet the needs of all students. Response to Intervention is a way to use data and take an individualized approach to learning and teaching. It is a process that needs support, direction, and resources to implement. This meta-synthesis of the literature on Response to Intervention investigates best practices and it also investigates how RTI can be useful in the classroom today.
  • Animal Assisted Intervention for Psychiatric Disorders: A Meta-Synthesis

    McDaniel, Shirley (University of Alaska Southeast, 2018)
    Animal assisted intervention (AAI), which is an umbrella term for all types of animal therapy, is a therapy method that has been utilized for hundreds of years. Though it has gained more recognition in recent years, research is ongoing. Varied studies have been documented on the effectiveness of AAI as a therapy tool for those who have physical, mental, emotional, or social disabilities. This meta-thesis will introduce varied types of (AAI) and share documented studies and reviews, with the primary focus being on AAI’s effectiveness as a therapy tool for those with psychiatric disorders.
  • Parent-Teacher Partnership: Diagnosing the Divide: A Meta-Synthesis

    Martin, Jennifer (University of Alaska Southeast, 2014)
    Relationships between educators and parents are a requirement of IDEA 2004. Often these interactions have been characterized by misunderstanding, tension, and parents’ contentions that teachers do not have the best interests of their child as a focus. This causes a divide in the parent-school relationship. As times have changed, this divide has as well…it has grown. So what are the reasons that the divide continues to grow? What causes parents to distrust teachers and schools or become un-involved in their child’s education? What causes teachers to distance themselves from parents? What can we do about it? This meta-synthesis delves into these questions of the parent/teacher divide, and the implications of what schools need to do to fix the ever-widening gulf. The research suggests that there are many ways that we can bridge this divide. However, to make this happen, schools need to be proactive, family-centered, and be willing to work with parents outside of regular school hours. Both school and parents need to be able and willing to look at their own feelings and preconceived notions about school and parent involvement.
  • Inclusion Opinions for the Classroom: A Meta-Synthesis

    Lubken, Carmyn (University of Alaska Southeast, 2018)
    Despite all the information available about inclusion, teachers are still not receiving adequate training and support on how to efficiently execute inclusive practices within their schools. This lack of quality training and preparation, results in inclusion being met with sour attitudes and unrefined implementation. In addition, students are often not represented or given a voice on their feelings towards inclusion. This meta-synthesis of the literature on inclusive education investigates the realities of powerfully carrying out and supporting inclusive practices for the special and general education teachers and students in the general education classroom.
  • Best Practices for the Inclusion of Special Education Students: A Meta-Synthesis

    Lindquist, Christina (University of Alaska Southeast, 2015)
    This meta-synthesis of literature explores how successful a variety of inclusive practices may be in educating students with special needs. The general and special education teachers’ education and attitude related to inclusion greatly influences the success of the inclusive programs they design and employ for the students they teach. The inclusive program should include a variety of strategies for engaging the student and helping the student to have successful academic and behavioral outcomes
  • Is There a Place for Cursive Handwriting in the Elementary Classroom? A Meta-Synthesis

    Lennon, Holly (University of Alaska Southeast, 2013)
    Everyone will agree that some sort of handwriting is a necessary skill for every person to obtain. People use some form of writing as a way to communicate their thoughts to others. The style of handwriting a person uses is most often based on what they learned in primary and secondary school so what is taught is very important. Throughout the decades the style of handwriting taught in schools has changed in order to reflect the needs of society. Today in the United States every child starts school learning manuscript , but there is no consistency as to if cursive or the use of a keyboard is introduced. This meta-synthesis of the literature on handwriting explores whether or not cursive handwriting and/ or the use of a keyboard should be taught to elementary students as well how fluent, accurate and neat each style is.
  • Inclusion Or Pull Out? What Is The Answer

    Kowal, Kelly (University of Alaska Southeast, 2018)
    This meta-synthesis of the literature on inclusion and pull-out settings for students with disabilities helps find what might be the least restrictive environment for their education. The past laws and the current mandates of IDEA (2004) help guide us to what should be inclusion settings for all students with disabilities and what the access to general education curriculum should look like. However, the lack of training, knowledge and support often restrict and limit the success of students in the inclusion movement present in some special education programs and schools of today. When these students are not given an opportunity, with a team decision, and are placed in their least restrictive environment (LRE), we as an education system cannot claim there is a clear answer if inclusion works. Nor, can we find the best answer for educating all students.
  • Educating Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder at a Secondary Level: A Meta-Synthesis

    Knoebel, James (University of Alaska Southeast, 2014)
    This meta-synthesis reviews literature on current practices being employed for working with students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at a secondary level. Specific areas addressed within this meta-synthesis include the characteristics of students with that are higher functioning on the autism spectrum, the inclusion of students with ASD, limitations to including students with ASD into general education classes, and the perceptions of all of the stakeholders (students, parents, educators) in regards to educating this population at a secondary level. Additionally, effective interventions were explored to determine the best practices to utilize as part of an arrangement of supports that create quality learning experiences. This meta-synthesis intertwines the findings from the research studies with the author’s experiences as a professional working with students with autism spectrum disorder.
  • Left-handedness in Special Education: A Meta-Synthesis

    Kinzer, Vera B. (University of Alaska Southeast, 2017)
    Left-handers are disadvantaged, but despite the fact that universal design favors right-handedness, left-handedness may be associated with cognitive advantages. Left-handedness is considered a fairly normal human condition that has persisted throughout history, and is currently represented in about 10% of the population. Our modern idea regarding hand preference is rooted in the split-brain theory, which involves the contra-lateral control of the left and right hemispheres over opposite sides of the body. Technology has advanced brain research about handedness and brain organization, and this research should help advance early recognition and more successful intervention in the areas of a student’s behavior, learning disorder, and/or other health impairments (that affect their brain functioning, such as traumatic brain injury or fetal alcohol syndrome disorder). This meta-synthesis is an analysis of the literature on left-handedness: It is an attempt to answer whether left-handedness is relevant in special education today.

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