• 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.
    • Are They Over-Represented? Culturally Diverse Students In Special Education: A Meta-Synthesis

      DeWilde, Lillian A. (University of Alaska Southeast, 2014)
      This meta-synthesis of the literature on over-prevalence of culturally diverse students represented in special education examines the possible reasons why there are more non-white students receiving special education services then previous years. Specific areas researched include looking at culturally relevant educational practices. Additionally, addressing the identity and self-esteem issues that may occur from being placed in special education. This meta-synthesis meshes the author’s experiences as a special education teacher, parent, and an Alaskan Native woman. The author’s intent is to also explore preventative practices to insure that culturally diverse students are not placed in special education unnecessarily.
    • Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for All Students: A Meta-Synthesis

      Harmon, Casey (University of Alaska Southeast, 2018)
      This meta-synthesis investigates the increasingly powerful and promising fields of artificial intelligence and machine learning as these technologies filter into the sphere of education. Smart technologies have been quickly gaining momentum in our society and have piqued the interest of many educators and administrators that are considering early adoption and applications of these new and promising technologies that may be able to offer teachers, administrators, and students new ways to access information and student learning. However, it is not without some resistance toward these technologies, that we consider their diverse applications in classrooms. This research of 43 articles address the applications, caveats, biases, and possibilities that these new, smart technologies using artificial intelligence and machine learning can offer to improve the education of students with and without disabilities.
    • Autism: An Evolutionary Etiology: A Meta-Synthesis

      Titus, Cristina Bruketta (University of Alaska Southeast, 2014)
      This meta-synthesis attempts a detailed look at how Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) evolved from Kanner’s initial identification in 1943 to today’s current understanding. Emphasis will be placed on characteristic change, prevalence increase, causality, and evolution of treatments, techniques, and methods. Equal weight will also be placed on what the best overall treatments, techniques, and methods should be used with an individual with autism.
    • Background and Interventions for Students with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: A Meta-Synthesis

      Geagel, Kelley (University of Alaska Southeast, 2018)
      I have many reasons why I decided to focus my attention on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder for my thesis. Individuals with FASD can benefit from many of the same strategies that other individuals could benefit from. Due to lack of brain development in some individuals the severity or the need for services could vary.
    • 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
    • The Bias, Stigma, and Social Construct of a Disability Label: A Meta-Synthesis

      Wallace, Karen (University of Alaska Southeast, 2014)
      The current climate in education is moving toward more inclusive education which means more and more students with a special education need are attending class in the general education classroom with a general education teacher. Sadly, many general education teachers in these inclusive classrooms are not prepared to have students with special education needs in their classroom because they do not have the knowledge or experience teaching these exceptional students. Research suggests teachers hold a bias toward students with a special education label and have preconceived notions of how these students will perform in their classroom. It is unfortunate for these students because at this time is when they need help the most. School is not only about learning what a person needs to know, but also when children learn about themselves and their peers. Research suggests that students given special education labels tend to have more difficulty due to the label they are given. This presumption of a label sets students up to interacting with teachers based on the label. This meta-synthesis of the literature on labels, bias, stigmatization, and the social construct of the disability label investigates how students with special needs, and the people around them, respond to the special needs label.
    • 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.
    • Building Resiliency: A Meta-Synthesis

      Stalder, Rebecca (University of Alaska Southeast, 2017)
      This meta-synthesis of the literature on children who experience trauma, and what we can do in the school setting to support children and teach them to build and shore up their resiliency factors. It takes a closer look at what is working, what educators can do to support children, and assist their families overcome the impact of trauma in their lives.
    • Chess Instruction in the Mathematics Classroom: Implications for Critical-Thinking and Academic Skills: A Meta-Synthesis

      Gates, Russel L. (University of Alaska Southeast, 2015)
      Chess instruction during the school day or in a club format has been shown to increase achievement in mathematics, science, and reading comprehension. Students of all achievement levels experience positive growth in achievement within a relatively short period of time. Critical thinking skills, perseverance, and motivation to learn are also increased with the implementation of chess instruction. This meta-analysis of the literature on chess instruction and critical thinking skills investigates the increasing mathematics, science, and reading comprehension for students, particularly those who experience learning disabilities.
    • Chronic Childhood Trauma: Symptoms and Impact: A Meta-Synthesis

      Wojtalewicz, Brinna (University of Alaska Southeast, 2014)
      This meta-synthesis reviews literature on childhood trauma. While we’re beginning to learn more about this vitally important subject, there are still steps that need to be taken. We know that trauma affects millions of kids in the United States. We know that if we address, the effects of many forms of trauma can be undone, or at least eased. We, as a nation, are not placing importance and value on the treatment of trauma in our children. Included in this meta-synthesis are examples of trauma symptoms, explained in terms of what we may see. Also, the importance of early identification of symptoms and treatment despite a possibility of not having a clinical diagnosis.
    • Deconstructing Asperger Syndrome: A Meta-Synthesis

      Herron, Douglas (University of Alaska Southeast, 2015)
      This meta-analysis of the literature examines the unique attributes of Asperger’s syndrome (AS), the uncertainty that has been created with the newly revised Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM-5), and what these changes mean. The purpose of this meta-analysis is to use the analysis as a platform to question and “deconstruct” the pre-conceived notions and beliefs about the disorder. Asperger’s syndrome is conceptualized as a disability. This way of thinking can cause one to miss the hidden strengths or abilities that those with Asperger’s syndrome possess. What is often considered a disability may in fact be viewed as ability.
    • The Disproportional Representation Dilemma: A Meta-Synthesis

      LeFevere, April D. (University of Alaska Southeast, 2013)
      A disproportionate number of students, with specific identifiable characteristics like ethnic background, race and socioeconomic conditions are being erroneously referred and placed in special education and left out of programs for the gifted and talented due to problems within the systems of both regular and special education. With a shifting in the representations of the majority ethnic group and overall increases in the number of minorities attending public school, a system built with one norm (White, middle class) and matching leadership is unable to meet the needs of a diverse population of children. Teacher training programs and district in-services for current staffs need to address the diversity teachers will face in classrooms. New ways are needed to identify and measure abilities in order to help address individual student needs along a continuum of progress to build programs based on student strengths and not deficits identified through biased means. This paper is a metasynthesis of the literature surrounding the dilemma of disproportionate representation in special education with a specific focus on over representation.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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.
    • Educational Technology: Benefits, Challenges and Effective Practices for Students Experiencing Learning Disabilities.

      Stout, Kristine (University of Alaska Southeast, 2016)
      This meta-synthesis examines the use of technology with special education students experiencing learning disabilities. The primary areas of examination are benefits, challenges and effective practices. During the review of the literature there were nine themes that were evident amongst the 39 articles. These themes related to the benefits, challenges and effective practices for use of technology with students experiencing learning disabilities. The emerging themes that are identified as being benefits to students and teachers who use technology are motivation and interest, accommodation potential, and ease of use. Challenges that came up as emerging themes are training, matching technology to student need, generalization, and technical issues. The effective practices that emerged most prominently were student data driving decision making and evidence or research based practices.
    • The Effects of Early Intervention for Children Birth to Five: A Meta-synthesis

      Musgrave, Jonas (University of Alaska Southeast, 2015)
      This meta-synthesis analyzes the effectiveness of early intervention among children with developmental delays ages’ birth to five years old. The meta-synthesis will examine the parents' involvement in their child’s education, and how parent involvement affects the child’s development. Lastly, the analysis will reveal how early intervention is implemented in a home-based program, in a school-based program, and in which setting does the child flourish the most
    • Factors contributing to post school employment for students with special needs: A Meta-Synthesis

      Haas, Tina (University of Alaska Southeast, 2019)
      As the number of students qualifying for special education services continues to grow and the demands on districts to serve these students continues to change, it is important to investigate what is working. To help these students transition out of high school and into the working world, the transition plan that includes employability (the quality of being suitable for paid work) is an area that should be investigated. The work-based learning programs that have success are the ones we should emulate as it pertains to our growing population of students we serve with special needs. Additionally, it would be helpful to know what other factors contribute to a students’ success in being employed after high school. This meta-synthesis of the literature on success factors and successful school-to-work curriculum models will help guide those of us in this field to start to engage in and begin to implement or support these different components.
    • FASD

      Sampley, Tina (University of Alaska Southeast, 2017)
      Regardless of our current knowledge base on the consumption of alcohol during pregnancy, the mistake continues to be made with the result being children born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. As these children move through their public education, it is often the case that their challenges are not met and they do not receive adequate help to overcome their difficulties with academics and social skills. When these students begin to transition into their adult lives, secondary conditions often arise from our failure as a support network to intervene on their behalf earlier on. This meta-synthesis of the literature on individuals with FASD investigates the current realities of the difficulties surrounding prenatal alcohol consumption as it relates to children, their families and communities.