• Selective Mutism: The Child Silenced by Social Anxiety. A Meta-Synthesis

      Merrill, Kellie (University of Alaska Southeast, 2012-06-11)
      This meta-synthesis explores the subject of selective mutism across multiple age groups. Selective mutism is present in a very small percentage of students. Given the small number of students that have this disorder there is limited resources and professional collaboration options available for teachers. The low incident rate of selective mutism often leads to students being forgotten about in the classroom setting. Teachers do not know how to help them overcome their disorder and the students are not able to ask for the help they need. This exploration into selective mutism reviewed 30 articles on the topic and attempted to provide identifying characteristics of the disorder as well as interventions for educators to implement while working with students selective mutism.
    • Transition Planning for Secondary Students with Learning Disabilities: A Meta-Synthesis

      McKim, Howard (University of Alaska Southeast, 2012-06-11)
      Despite increasing legal requirements in planning and documentation, transition outcomes for secondary LD students continue to fall short of pre-graduation expectations. As students move from the supportive and controlled environment of public school education systems to the less structured world of work or post-secondary education, a myriad of skills, supports, and coordinated efforts are needed for optimal outcomes. As the number of students qualifying for services continues to rise, analysis of the shortcomings and successes of the current special education transition strategies is becoming increasingly important. This meta-synthesis of the literature on transitioning secondary LD students investigates the realities of secondary transition planning and the difficulties in implementation.
    • Managing Students' Emotional Behavioral Disorder Inside and Outside of the Classroom: A Meta-Synthesis

      Fielding, Estelita D. (University of Alaska Southeast, 2012-06-11)
      This metasynthesis of the literature focuses on managing students with emotional/behavioral disorders (EBD) inside and outside of the classroom. Students with EBD require large amounts of time and attention, often unplanned and in response to disruptive behaviors. Students with EBD can take a heavy emotional and physical toll on teachers, staff and peers involved with them, and instruction time for other students can be shortened or delayed due to disruptive behaviors. School districts find retention more difficult when students with EBD are present due to the high stress factor. When teachers and staff have the appropriate preparation and tools, however, students with EBD can be successful in an inclusive school setting with minimal disruptive behavior. Furthermore, as they make progress, they can practice self-management techniques to achieve more independence.
    • 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.
    • Long-Term Benefits of Early Intervention Services: A Meta-Synthesis

      Barnes, Elizabeth (University of Alaska Southeast, 2013)
      The role of universal preschool programs is being debated in public and political arenas. There is concern that the cost of providing such programs is not in the public's best interest. While they are few, the longitudinal studies into the cost/benefit of such programs show that investments into early childhood interventions and education yield a return to students, taxpayers, and society. These benefits include: a savings in the cost of education through lower retention rates and special education placement, an increase in tax revenue through higher wages, and a savings through lower costs for the welfare and criminal justice systems. This meta-synthesis explores the studies that support the above findings, as well as ways in which current preschool programs can be improved to provide better long-term outcomes for children.
    • Intellectual Disabilities, Post Secondary Education, and the Law: A Meta-Synthesis

      Harsch, James William (University of Alaska, 2013)
      Regular students contemplating a collegiate education are not hindered by the myriad of obstacles that a student with a cognitive disability experiences. This meta-synthesis explores the availability of collegiate programs for the intellectually disabled, the barriers that they encounter, and the supports available to aid the disabled in their chosen journey. Forty relevant articles were examined to ascertain the colleges with programs, the impediments to admission, and the needed remedies to the barriers. Most collegiate programs developed for the disabled are expensive and in short supply. They are not actively participated in due to the expense, the regulations, and the barriers that the disabled experience. Although there are many agencies and governmental regulations in place which at first seem to support and encourage the disabled to attend college, this is in error and numerous changes need to be instituted to the programs and to their availability in order for the cognitive disabled to fully experience the college life.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Writing Difficulties of Students with Learning Disability: A Meta-Synthesis

      York, Kimberly (University of Alaska Southeast, 2013)
      This meta-synthesis of the literature of special education students with handwriting difficulties analyzed factors that affect handwriting. A number of students with learning disabilities have handwriting difficulties. Legible handwriting continues to be an important skill for children to develop in elementary school and difficulty with this area can affect any child’s proficiency at school work. Many factors affect handwriting proficiency. Many areas of the brain are accessed when handwriting activities take place. With purposeful and sequential handwriting instruction including occupational therapy as well as evidence-based practices was the key areas that helped students improve their handwriting skills in addition to on-task behavior. This meta-synthesis of the literature on special education students with handwriting difficulties investigates the challenges of handwriting.
    • 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.
    • Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders in Inclusive Settings: A Meta-Synthesis

      Curry, Isaac (University of Alaska Southeast, 2013-04-25)
      Looking at students with emotional and behavioral disorders (E/BD) through the general educator’s eyes is often overwhelming and frustrating. Some of the behaviors that accompany students with E/BD are anti-social and pervasive to the general education setting. The category of E/BD is defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education and Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA) as: (A) An inability to learn which cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors; (B) An inability to build or maintain satisfactory relationships with peers and teachers; (C) Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances; (D) A general pervasive mood or unhappiness or depression; or (E) A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems. (IDEA, 2004) There are several strategies suggested throughout the literature on E/BD that can be implemented to minimize the general educators’ feelings of frustration.
    • Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome and Child Development: A Meta-Synthesis

      Blasingame, Jane (University of Alaska Southeast, 2014)
      Exposure to acute stress and maltreatment during the first forty-eight months of life may result in a chain reaction of chemical and biological changes negatively impacting the growth and development of the brain. Especially affected is the neurohormonal structure of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal or HPA axis, which regulates stress hormones. Corpus callosum, the left neocortex, hippocampus, and amygdala are major brain structures which are adversely affected by chronic acute stress. Psychiatric disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may result from severe stress, neglect and maltreatment especially when acute stress comes about during critical periods of developmental.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Response to Intervention Effective Practices: A Meta-Synthesis

      Clement, Tracy (University of Alaska Southeast, 2014)
      The purpose of this meta-synthesis is to assess the effectiveness of the Response to Intervention (RtI) framework. This paper reviewed research articles and other literature that explored effective practices within the RtI program, in an effort to properly implement interventions, and expedite the identification of a learning disability. After reviewing the research it was concluded that the RtI process, if implemented correctly could benefit students who are at risk academically and behaviorally. The research indicates that there are many components to RtI, including fidelity of instruction, proven curriculum, effective leadership, and regular progress monitoring, training and professional development. All of these factors are key to the efficiency of the RtI program. Some other components identified for the consideration of an effective RtI program was teacher collaboration, teacher self-efficacy and teacher perceptions; the inclusion of the family were also noted as important.
    • Response to Intervention and Students with Emotional and/or Behavior Disorder: A Meta-Synthesis

      Price, Vicki R. (University of Alaska Southeast, 2014)
      The reauthorization of IDEA in 2006 mandated RTI programs would be implemented for students with academic and behavioral problems. The multi-tiered approach uses assessments, data collection, and observation to develop and employ appropriate supports and interventions. Students with EBD benefit from RTI data collected using PBIS. Professional development is essential for the success of PBIS. The data collected from RTI using PBIS helps IEP teams who provide support to students with EBD, to develop goals and objectives by designing instructional strategies to help students develop pro-social behaviors. This meta-synthesis of the literature of RTI/PBIS and students with EBD reviews the ways data collected using these interventions are used for professional development and instructional strategies
    • 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.
    • 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.