Ableism in Education: A Case Study of a Student with Multiple Disabilities

Journal title, journal issn, volume title.

This phenomenological case study examines the journey of one female with multiple disabilities and how she achieved success in school against difficult odds. It relies on an overview of the disability movement, related legislation from the 1960s to present, and compares the theoretical models of disability. This framework of historical, political, medical, social, and ableist approaches to disability sets the stage for the study which relies on extensive open-ended interviews, a document review, audio recording of an Individual Education Program (IEP) meeting, and a researcher journal to elucidate the role of ableism in education. Data sources for the research included interviews with the student, her family, and her teacher/tutor, as well as a review of her individualized education plans and medical notes. A research journal that draws on the author's 15 years of experience as her interpreter and as a family friend was also used.

The research begins with an examination of the disability rights movement which has led to disabled people moving into mainstream society. An explanation of how the effect of ableism in schools impacts students with disabilities is provided. The relevant legislative acts and policies in education are reviewed to explain how they were established to assist students with disabilities to become financially and socially independent after graduation from high school. Finally, this dissertation will introduce ways educators can effectively end an ableist attitude toward students with disabilities in order to assist students with disabilities obtain greater opportunities after graduation from high school.

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case study for multiple disabilities

Disability as Diversity

A Case Studies Companion Guide

  • © 2021
  • Leslie Neal-Boylan 0 ,
  • Lisa M. Meeks   ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3647-3657 1

Mansfield Kaseman Health Clinic, Chevy Chase, Rockville, USA

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Department of Family Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, USA

  • The information is critically needed, as this is a first-of-its kind publication
  • Case studies are connected to case law and OCR decisions for health science programs
  • Applicable across healthcare professions

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Table of contents (15 chapters)

Front matter, medical student cases, the student with a learning disability: clarissa connors, a medical student with undiagnosed adhd and a learning disability.

  • Kristina H. Petersen, Stacy C. Jones, Lisa M. Meeks

The Student with a Physical Disability: Tammy Thomas, a Clinical Year Medical Student with Quadriplegia

  • Christopher D. Connolly, Maya M. Hammoud, Charlotte H. O’Connor

The Student with a Sensory Disability: Conrad Barker, a Rising Third-Year Medical Student with Hearing Loss

  • Michael S. Argenyi, Alicia Booth, Christine Low

The Student with a Psychological Disability: Rhonda Rapp, a Fourth-Year Medical Student with Depression and PTSD

  • Lisa M. Meeks, Hilit F. Mechaber, Samantha Schroth, Rahael Gupta, Joseph F. Murray

The Student with a Chronic Health Condition: Hillary Hampton, a Second-Year Medical Student with Crohn’s Disease

  • Nichole L. Taylor, Charlotte H. O’Connor

The Student with Cancer: Marc Fernandez, a Fourth-Year Medical Student with Cancer

  • Nichole L. Taylor, Catherine Moore, Suzanne Hawks

Nursing Student Cases

The student with a learning disability: mee sook smith, a nursing student with a learning disability in an associate degree program.

  • Leslie Neal-Boylan, Patricia Lussier-Duynstee, Christine Low

The Student with a Learning Disability: Maxwell Mason, a Nursing Student with a Learning Disability in a Baccalaureate Degree Program

  • Patricia Lussier-Duynstee, Charlotte H. O’Connor, Leslie Neal-Boylan

The Student with a Physical Disability: Sam Stone, a Nursing Student with a Missing Limb

  • Leslie Neal-Boylan, Patricia Lussier-Duynstee, Jan Serrantino-Cox

The Student with a Sensory Disability: Anna Howard, a Deaf Nursing Student

  • Stacey M. Carroll, Carrie Morgan Eaton, Marie Lusk

The Student with a Psychological Disability: Melanie Mathews, a Nursing Student with Suicidal Ideation

  • Leslie Neal-Boylan, Michelle D. Miller, Jan Serrantino-Cox

The Student with a Chronic Health Condition: Susan Nacht, a Nursing Student with Narcolepsy

  • Sharron E. Guillett, Elizabeth Kane

Focused Topic Cases

The student using medical marijuana.

  • Leslie Neal-Boylan, Charlotte H. O’Connor

The Student Who Brings an Animal to Class

  • Patricia Lussier-Duynstee, Christine Low, Elisa P. Laird, Leslie Neal-Boylan

The Student Who Fails the Medical Board Exam

  • Kristina H. Petersen, Lisa M. Meeks

Back Matter

  • Case studies
  • Disability services

About this book

Editors and affiliations.

Leslie Neal-Boylan

Lisa M. Meeks

About the editors

Leslie Neal-Boylan, PhD, APRN, CRRN, FAAN

Solomont School of Nursing

University of Massachusetts

Lowell, MA, USA

[email protected]

Lisa M. Meeks, PhD, MA

Department of Family Medicine

The University of Michigan Medical School

Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

[email protected]

Bibliographic Information

Book Title : Disability as Diversity

Book Subtitle : A Case Studies Companion Guide

Editors : Leslie Neal-Boylan, Lisa M. Meeks

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-55886-4

Publisher : Springer Cham

eBook Packages : Medicine , Medicine (R0)

Copyright Information : The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021

Softcover ISBN : 978-3-030-55885-7 Published: 01 November 2020

eBook ISBN : 978-3-030-55886-4 Published: 31 October 2020

Edition Number : 1

Number of Pages : XIV, 158

Number of Illustrations : 1 b/w illustrations, 1 illustrations in colour

Topics : Health Administration , General Practice / Family Medicine

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With Severe and Multiple Disabilities in Inclusive Physical Education : A Multiple Case Study

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The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of peer-mediated and teacher – directed instructions on the activity engagement time of students with severe and multiple disabilities (SMD). The data were obtained during inclusive general physical education sessions under two kinds of instructional support conditions for three students with SMD: (a) teacher-directed, and (b) peer-mediated. Instructional behavior data showed that during peer-mediated support conditions the instructions provided by tutors were more frequent than instructions provided by teachers during teacher-directed conditions. Physical behavior data indicated that peer-mediated conditions resulted in similar levels of physical behaviors for all students with SMD when compared to teachersdirected conditions. Also, for all students with SMD the activity engagement time data was higher in conditions where peer tutors were involved.

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Ableism in Education: a Case Study of a Student with Multiple Disabilities

Ableism in Education: a Case Study of a Student with Multiple Disabilities

Ableism in Education: A Case Study of a Student with Multiple Disabilities

Ellen Therese Reilly

Dissertation submitted to the faculty of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

in partial fulfillment for the degree of

Doctor of Education

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Kami M. Patrizio, Chair

Walter D. Mallory

William J. Glenn

Carlyn E. Floyd

October 28, 2014

Falls Church, VA

Keywords: Ableism , Student with Multiple Physical Disabilities, Deaf, Education, Special

A BST R A C T

This phenomenological case study examines the journey of one female with multiple disabilities and how she achieved success in school against difficult odds. It relies on an overview of the disability movement, related legislation from the 1960s to present, and compares the theoretical models of disability. This framework of historical, political, medical, social, and ableist approaches to disability sets the stage for the study which relies on extensive open-ended interviews, a document review, audio recording of an Individual Education Program (IEP) meeting, and a researcher journal to elucidate the role of ableism in education. Data sources for the research included interviews with the student, her family, and her teacher/tutor, as well as a review of her individualized education plans and medical notes. A research journal that draws

RQWKHDXWKRU¶V\HDUVRIH[SHULHQFHDVKHULQWHUSUHWHUDQGDVDIDPLO\IULHQGZDVDOVRXVHG

The research begins with an examination of the disability rights movement which has led to disabled people moving into mainstream society. An explanation of how the effect of ableism in schools impacts students with disabilities is provided. The relevant legislative acts and policies in education are reviewed to explain how they were established to assist students with disabilities to become financially and socially independent after graduation from high school.

Finally, this dissertation will introduce ways educators can effectively end an ableist attitude toward students with disabilities in order to assist students with disabilities obtain greater opportunities after graduation from high school.

A C K N O W L E D G E M E N TS

When I started this journey, I continually heard that it could prove to be quite challenging.

Little did I know back then that my personal and professional life would undergo so many changes that impacted this journey. Fortunately for me, I had so many people there to support me along the way so I could finally reach the end of this journey.

First, I want to thank the professors who taught me about leadership in education. Dr.

Patrizio pushed me to beyond my ability. She challenged me to do better and be better. She understood I had a story inside me to tell and she pulled it out of me. Dr. Glenn and Dr. Mallory provided me with their expertise, patience, and experience and with every class and conversation they challenged me to think beyond the obvious. To Dr. Floyd, for being my friend during the whole process and for listening to all my frustrations, successes, and ideas, thank you.

One of the main reasons for completing my doctorate was because I knew it would make my parents so proud. When I was accepted into the Educational Leadership Program at VA

Tech, the proudest person of all was my father. I looked forward to sharing what I learned in class with my Dad and have him give me feedback on my papers. On September 19, 2011, I lost my father to a heart attack. All I wanted was my father to see me graduate and that was taken away from me. I continued through the program because I knew my father would expect me to finish and finish strongly. This dissertation and degree are dedicated to my father. I know he was with me during it all and he is proud.

A special thanks to my Mom who patiently listened to me and understood that I had a lot on my mind when I was trying to finish my classes and writing. She knew it was hard on me, but she made sure I took care of myself. Thanks to my brothers for their encouragement and belief that I could get it done. Thanks to my wonderful nieces and nephews who I am so proud

of. To my loyal dog, Joy Ful, who was literally by my side through the whole process. I cannot forget to thank the ladies in my cohort. You are each so special and I cannot thank you enough for all of the support.

Finally to Karen and her family. Thank you for allowing me to share your story and be a part of your life. Karen, you are an amazing young lady and you make so many people want to be a better person because of who you are. Keep smiling and keep moving forward. You have a life that can teach so many people about the importance of perseverance, of being kind to one another, and the need for having a great family to support you along the way.

T A B L E O F C O N T E N TS

ABSTRACT ...... ii

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ...... iii

LIST OF TABLES...... x

CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ...... 1

Historical Context: The Disability Rights Movement in America ...... 2

The Early Ages ...... 3 1920sȂ1950s ...... 4 1960sȂ1970 ...... 5 1970s to the Present ...... 5 Disability Versus Impairment ...... 7

Language and Identity ...... 8

Lingering Effects of the Medical Model ...... 8

Social Model ...... 10

Educational Implications ...... 11

Research Questions ...... 11

Significance of the Study ...... 12

Overview of the Study ...... 12

Definition of Terms ...... 12

Overview of the Study ...... 15

CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ...... 16

Research Questions ...... 17

The Disability Rights Movement in America: The Fight for Civil Rights ...... 17

Societal Values: Devalued and Diminished Expectations ...... 19

Ableism and People with Disabilities ...... 19 Devaluation and Diminished Expectations of People with Disabilities ...... 20 Legislation for Equal Educational Opportunity and Outcomes ...... 23 From Section 504 to the ADAAA ...... 28

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act: Background and Purpose ...... 35 Advances of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act ...... 36 Shortcomings of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act ...... 37 The Americans with Disabilities Act: Background and Purpose ...... 37

Educational Advances of ADA ...... 38 Educational Shortcomings of the ADA ...... 39 The Path from the ESEA and the EAHCA to IDEA and NCLB ...... 41

EAHCA/IDEA: Background and Purpose ...... 46

Educational Advances of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)...... 48 Educational Shortcomings of IDEA ...... 48 NCLB: History and Purpose ...... 49

Educational Advances of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) ...... 50 Educational Shortcomings of NCLB ...... 51 Closing the Achievement Gap for Students with Disabilities ...... 52

The Reality of Policy in U.S. Education ...... 54

Impact of IDEA and NCLB ...... 56 Impact of IDEA and NCLB on Students with Disabilities...... 57 Impact of IDEA and NCLB on Teachers ...... 59 Impact of IDEA and NCLB on Accountability and Testing ...... 60 Devalued and Diminished Expectations of Students with Disabilities ...... 61 Ending the Ableist Attitude in Schools ...... 63 Educating Students about Disabilities ...... 64 Summary ...... 65

CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY ...... 68

Purpose of the Study ...... 68

Design ...... 69

Narrative Inquiry ...... 70 Life History ...... 71 Participant Selection ...... 71

Confidentiality ...... 72

The Role and Background of the Researcher ...... 72

Gaining Access and Entry to the Setting ...... 75 Accessing the Cultural Context ...... 75 Data Collection ...... 76

Data Source 1 ...... 77 Data Source 2 ...... 79 Data Source 3 ...... 79 Data Source 3 ...... 87 Data Source 5 ...... 89 Data Analysis ...... 89

Data Transcription ...... 90 Data Compilation ...... 91 Translation of ASL Interviews ...... 91 Reliability and Validity ...... 92 Peer Review ...... 94 Summary ...... 95

CHAPTER 4 FINDINGS...... 96

Overview of the Problem ...... 98

Finding A: Ableism Exists in the School Setting ...... 99

ƒ”‡ǯ• •‘Žƒ–‹‘ ...... 99 Ableism and School and Family Relations ...... 106

Finding B: Resources Needed for Success...... 123

An Effective School Leader ...... 123 Supportive Adults ...... 130 Strong Personal Qualities ...... 135 Summary of Findings ...... 140

CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION, IMPLICATIONS, AND CONCLUSIONS ...... 141

Summary of the Study ...... 141

Overview of the Problem ...... 141 Statement of Purpose and Research Questions ...... 142 Review of the Methodology ...... 143 Major Findings Supported by the Literature ...... 144

Discussion Regarding Federal Legislation ...... 145 Discussion Regarding Devalued and Diminished Expectations ...... 150 Major Findings Not Supported by the Literature ...... 150

Impact of Ableism on the Family ...... 151 Responsibility for Her Own Education ...... 152 Unexpected Findings ...... 153

Conclusion Regarding the Findings ...... 154

Implications ...... 154

Disability-oriented Education for Teachers ...... 154 Disability-oriented Education for Students ...... 156 Recommendations for Further Research ...... 158

Concluding Remarks ...... 159

The Tutor's Concluding Remarks ...... 159 The Mother's Concluding Remarks ...... 159 The Researcher's Concluding Remarks...... 160 The Student's Concluding Remarks ...... 160

REFERENCES ...... 162

APPENDICES ...... 170

’’‡†‹šƒ”‡ǯ•‘•‡– ‘” ...... 171

’’‡†‹šƒ”›ǯ•‘•‡– ‘” ...... 174

’’‡†‹šŽƒ‹”‡ǯ•‘•‡– ‘” ...... 177

Appendix D List of Interviews and Meetings ...... 180

Appendix E Reflexive Journal Protocol...... 181

Appendix F Calendar of Data Collection Activities with Analytic Tool Notations ...... 182

L IST O F T A B L ES

1. Educational Attainment in the Year 2011±Ages 21-64 Years 2

2. Disability Employment Statistics ± August 2014 ± U.S. Department of Labor 22

3. Policy Passed with the Intent of Equality of Opportunity 25

4. Comparison of ADA 2001 and ADAAA 2008 34

5. Comparison of IDEA and NCLB 57

6. Documents Analyzed 78

7. Interview Schedule with Karen 87

8. Incidents in First Grade of Broken Trust Between Family and School 113

9. 6FKRRO3HUVRQQHO¶V'HVFULSWLRQVRI.DUHQ¶V$WWLWXGH 127

10. Standards of Learning 140

C H APT E R 1 IN T R O DU C T I O N

In the 1960s, the Disability Rights Movement (DRM) began to work toward the civil rights for people with disabilities, to end isolation, and to bring awareness about disability issues to the general public (Baird, Rosenbaum, & Toombs, 2009; Longmore, 2009). The goal of the

DRM was to end the medicalized view of disability; which views people with disabilities as marginalized citizens (Longmore, 2009). To this end, the DRM fought for people with

GLVDELOLWLHV¶ULJKWVLQVFKRROVDQGLQWKHZRUNSODFH7KH\sought to have American citizens recognize that people with disabilities cannot change or, in most situations, alter their disability

(Longmore, 2009). Further, they tried to raise awareness about how American society can accept people with disabilities as they are (Longmore, 2009) and end ableist attitudes towards people with disabilities.

The goal for people with disabilities is to be able to live independently, be economically self sufficient, and participate fully in society (IDEA, 1990). Many people with disabilities are doing so. There are approximately 54 million people with disabilities in the United States (Baird et al.,

2009). In 2012, of people with disabilities between the ages of 21 through 64, 22.2% have less than a high school diploma, 34.4% have attained a high school diploma or the equivalent, 31.0% attended college or received an associate degree, and 12.4% earned a college degree or higher.

Of people with disabilities in the year 2012, there were 10.2% with less than a high school diploma, 25.5% who attained a high school diploma or the equivalent, 32.6% who attended college or received an associate degree, and 31.7% who earned a college degree or higher

(Erickson, Lee, & Von Schrader, 2012). Table 1 displays the educational attainment of individuals with and without disabilities. Currently, the unemployment rate for the adults with

disability is double that of the non-disabled adult (U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor

Statistics, 2013).

Table 1 Educational Attainment in the Year 2011±Ages 21-64 Years

People People Diploma with Disabilities without Disabilities Less than high school 22.2% 10.2% High school/equivalent 34.4% 25.5% Attended college/Associates 31.0% 32.6% College/higher 12.4% 31.7%

Having all students, disabled and non-disabled, attend college benefits not only individuals but also society as a whole (Baum & Payea, 2013). A person who has a higher level of education earns, on average, 73% more than a high school graduate, and the unemployment rate is lower for those who have a higher level of education (Baum & Payea, 2013). Legislation was passed in 1973 to provide equal educational opportunities and outcomes for people with disabilities (National Council on Disability, 2004). Since then, doors have been opened and people with disabilities have entered schools; 40 years has passed, however, and an educational academic achievement gap still remains for students with disabilities (National Council on

Disability, 2008).

Historical Context: The Disability Rights Movement in America

Approximately 20% of our population is disabled; making the disabled the largest minority in America (Switzer, 2003). Disability can happen to anyone at any time; it does not discriminate (Shapiro, 1994; Switzer, 2003). Most people have a family member, or know a friend, who has a physical or mental disability. Plus, as medicine improves and people begin to live longer, the number of people with impairments increases (Kudlick, 2003; 2¶%ULHQ;

Shapiro, 1994; Switzer, 2003, p. 5; Taylor, 2004). Over 40 years ago, Congress began providing

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&RPPLVVLRQRQ([FHOOHQFHLQ6SHFLDO(GXFDWLRQ $VDUHVXOWRI&RQJUHVV¶VDFWLRQV

³VSHFLDOHGXFDWLRQKDVEHFRPHRQH of the most important symbols of American compassion,

LQFOXVLRQDQGHGXFDWLRQDORSSRUWXQLW\´ S Due to legislation that has been passed in the last 40 years, our schools serve the needs of millions of students who are disabled with the goal of their becoming productive, independent citizens upon graduation (Taylor, 2004).

Yet historically, children with disabilities have not received an appropriate public education (Yell, 1998). In fact, even though every state instituted compulsory attendance for children by the year 1918, public schools continued to exclude students with disabilities from the classroom. Parents and advocates of children with disabilities have been credited with taking on the fight to have children with disabilities accepted into the public school system. It was not until the 1970s that federal legislation was passed to allow students with disabilities into the public classroom, and it was not until the 1990s that legislation was passed to require equal education for students with disabilities (Yell, 1998). I explore the origins of these struggles in the sections ahead.

The Early Ages

Historically, conflicting societal attitudes about how people with disabilities fit into society have existed. The Greeks believed people who had a deformity, mental or physical, were morally bad (Goffman, 1963). However, into the Middle Ages people with disabilities were cared for financially by their families or by the townspeople (Braddock & Parrish, 2001). It was not until the 1890s that medical professionals began to understand that many disabilities were not caused by lack of moral integrity, but rather due to the spread of infectious diseases resulting

4 from unsanitary living quarters, inappropriate hygiene, and the unsafe working conditions in factories (Hickel, 2001). Through education, people began to learn it was not immorality that caused illness or disability. Wartime solidified this idea because people did not fault soldiers for their misfortune when they were injured during combat (Hickel, p. 241).

1920s±1950s

The 1920s ushered in the concept of eugenics, that is, a belief that by getting rid of people with disabilities society might be ³¶improving the quality of the stock¶´ 6ZLW]HU p.36). Any person who had any kind of mental or physical disability was considered feebleminded (Switzer, 2003). People of the time period believed that the feebleminded should not marry nor should they produce children, EHFDXVH³&HUWDLQIDPLOLHVVKRXOGEHFRPHH[WLQFW¶´

(Switzer, 2003, p. 37). In the 1927 court case Buck v Bell, the Supreme Court allowed the sterilization of feebleminded people until the law was repealed in 1968 (National Council on

Disability, 1997, 2010; Switzer, 2003).

Through this period of eugenics, people who were mentally or physically disabled were being institutionalized 2¶%ULHQ . The Rehabilitation Movement began in the 1950s, its goal being was that people with disabilities could improve themselves 2¶%ULen, 2001). The experts of the time believed if people with disabilities maintained a better attitude, they could be mainstreamed into the American society. However, it was still up to people with disabilities to adjust to the norms established by society 2¶%ULHQ . The belief of the rehabilitation

H[SHUWVZDV³GLVDEOHGSHRSOHVKRXOGDFFRPPRGDWHVRFLHW\UDWKHUWKDQH[SHFWLQJVRFLHW\WREXLOG

DFFRPPRGDWLRQVWKDWZRXOGLQFOXGHWKHP´ S 8OWLPDWHO\WKHRehabilitation

Movement created the idea that anyone who had an impairment could be normalized if the person tried to conform to the norms of the society; hence, the concept of ableism emerged.

Bogdan and Biklen (1977) defined DEOHLVP RULJLQDOO\NQRZQDVKDQGLFDSLVP DV³DVHWRI assumptions and practices that promote the differential and unequal treatment of people because

RIDSSDUHQWRIDVVXPHGSK\VLFDOPHQWDORUEHKDYLRUDOGLIIHUHQFHV´ S 

The 1960s ushered in the idea of independent living. People with disabilities believed in self-help, and they believed it was the attitudes of the abled that impeded people with disabilities

IURPUHDFKLQJWKHLUJRDOV 2¶%ULHQ2001). People with disabilities began to self-advocate for independent living and did not want the medical professionals making decisions for them.

Instead, WKH\ZDQWHG³FRQVXPHUFRQWUROVHOI-reliance, and economic rights´ (Baird et al., 2009, p.

138). Ed Roberts, a paraplegic student, led the way for change when he was accepted into the

University of California at Berkley. Against the odds, he was accepted into the university while living at the campus hospital. After his acceptance into the university, other people with disabilities began applying to universities thus beginning the independent living movement

(Baird et al., 2009). Just as African-Americans, women, and the transgendered began to push for their civil rights, people with disabilities joined the fight for their own civil rights as citizens who wanted to end discrimination against them (Switzer, 2003). It was the 1960s when the DRM began to show that it was ³VRFLRSROLWLFDOREVWUXFWLRQVQRWSK\VLFDORUPHQWDOLPSDLUPHQWVWKDW restrict SHRSOHZLWKGLVDELOLWLHV´ 2¶%ULHQ2001, p.2). It became increasingly apparent that the attitudes of the abled held people with disabilities EDFNIURPLQGHSHQGHQFH 2¶%ULHQ 

1970s to the Present

By the 1970s, people with disabilities came together to fight for civil rights and to gain access to public schools (Baird et al., 2009). In 1973 the first piece of legislation, the

Rehabilitation Act, prohibited discrimination against any qualified individual with a disability

(Baird et al., 2009). Shortly thereafter, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act

(EAHCA) was passed to ensure students with disabilities had equal access to public schools

(Baird et al., 2009). In 1990, EAHCA was renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Education

Act (IDEA) and called for a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) for all students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment (Baird et al., 2009). Finally, in 1990 the

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), modeled after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, was signed into legislation to provide people with disabilities a broader range of civil rights (Baird et al.,

2009). While these laws were passed to provide people with disabilities equal access in society, many barriers impeded people with disabilities from fully participating in society remained

(Baird et al., 2009). The obstacOHVSHRSOHZLWKGLVDELOLWLHVIDFHGZHUHGXHWR³RQJRLQJLJQRUDQFH

DQGODFNRISXEOLFDZDUHQHVV´(Baird et al., 2009, p. 139). Statutory mandates did not end discrimination, stereotypes, or social exclusion of any race, gender, or disability (Scotch, 2009).

This remains true, even today.

A possible solution to end ableist attitudes is through educating people about the abilities people with disabilities do have (Scotch, 2009). Presently, people with disabilities are seeking their own culture and identity in society (Baird et al., 2009; Longmore, 2009). They are defining their own identity, taking pride in their disability, and promoting a positive image of themselves while working toward having society accept them as they are - disabled (Baird et al., 2009).

There is a long history of misconceptions and stereotypes about people with disabilities.

U.S. history shows an increasing awareness of the causes, needs, abilities, and rights of those with disabilities. Federal legislation, activist associations, and the emergence of disability studies reflect this increasing awareness. However, history illuminates the apprehension of putting policy into practice for people with disabilities.

Disability Versus Impairment

Labeling a person as an individual with a disability is an ongoing dispute. Initially, a

GLVDELOLW\ZDVLGHQWLILHGE\DSHUVRQ¶VODFNRI³PRELOLW\YLVLRQRUKHDULQJ±defects or organic

FRQGLWLRQV´ 6ZLW]HUS (DFKGLVDELOLW\ZDVFDWHJRUL]HGE\LGHQWLI\LQJWKHLOOQHVVDQG a solution was provided to improve the functionality of the person with the disability. For example, a deaf person was fitted for a hearing aid, a blind person received a service dog, and a paralyzed person was provided a wheelchair (Switzer, 2003). This categorization of disabilities led to a separation and isolation of the disabled community. Instead of banding together to face the common obstacles they faced daily, they were categorized by their different illnesses; which separated people with disabilities (Switzer, 2003).

Currently under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), persons are considered disabled if they fall into one of the three primary terms used to categorize a person as disabled: functional activities, activities of daily life, and instrumental activities (Switzer, 2003).

Functional activities are such things like ³ZDONLQJVHHLQJKHDULQJ´ S  Examples of daily activities include cooking, getting out of bed, and toileting. Examples of instrumental daily activities are paying bills, shopping for oneself, and taking on daily household chores. When a person cannot perform these types of activities, they are considered to be an individual with a disability (2003). The difference between a disability and an impairment is that a disability in a person is a social construction while impairment is a physical factor (Braddock & Parrish, 2001).

To be more specific, impairment is the actual medical condition that limits the body from full participation into society (World Health Organization). The use of the term disability is the limitation society places on the individual with an impairment. In other words, disability is not a defect, ³EXWDFXOWXUDODQGPLQRULW\LGHQWLW\´ 6LHEHUV2008, p. 4).

Language and Identity

Currently, WKHWHUP³GLVDEOHG´LVcommonly being embraced and used in a positive fashion by people with disabilities (Rauscher & McClintock, 1997). Historically this has not always been the case. In the 19th and early 20th centuries words such as crippled, deaf and dumb, and deformed were used to describe people with disabilities (Rauscher & McClintock, 1997). In the late 20th century, words that were used, such as retarded and handicapped, were deemed unacceptable as a result of the actions of the DRM (Rauscher & McClintock, 1997). Currently, there has been a push to view the person first and the disability second (Yell, Rogers, & Rogers,

1998),WLVDFFHSWDEOHWRXVHWKHWHUP³SHUVRQZLWKa GLVDELOLW\´RU³GLVDEOHGSHUVRQ´

Throughout this dissertation, person/individual/people/ student/ children with disabilities will be used.

There are people with disabilities who view themselves as being disabled by society due to the social structures and the environmental structures that have been built (Rauscher &

McClintock, 1997). If society was built with people with disabilities in mind, people with disabilities hold the belief that they could contribute to society both socially and economically.

People with disabilities view themselves equal to other oppressed groups who have suffered from discrimination (Rauscher & McClintock, 1997). The roots of this oppression run deep in the U.S. psyche.

Lingering Effects of the Medical Model

Two models of disability can be used to understand the discrimination people with disabilities experience. Before the 1960s, the medical model was the predominant view of how people with disabilities should be regarded by society. The medical model states that people with disabilities should be cured of their impairment and made to be more normal like other

9 people in society (Switzer, 2003):KHQWKHVHLOOQHVVHVDUHHUDGLFDWHGWKHQWKH³VRFLHWDO

SUREOHP´SHRSOHZLWKGLVDELOLWLHVEULQJZLOODOVREHHUDGLFDWHG 6ZLW]HUS 'XHWRWKLV medicaOYLHZSRLQW³KLVWRULDQVPD\KDYHQHJOHFWHGGLVDELOLW\KLVWRU\EHFDXVHWKH\YLHZWKH

H[SHULHQFHRIGLVDELOLW\IURPDPHGLFDOSHUVSHFWLYH´ /RQJPRUH 8PDQVN\S 

According to the medical model viewpoint, the only way for persons with a disability to be accepted into society or to adapt to society is to cure the disability or correct the way they function in society (Longmore, 2009).

From a medical standpoint, WKH³medical model defines disability as an individual defect lodged in the person, a defect that can be cured or eliminated if the person is to achieve full

FDSDFLW\DVDKXPDQEHLQJ´ 6LHbers, 2011, p. 3). Disability theorists have a different perspective on disabilities, purporting that the physical and social environment needs to be fixed, not the person with a disability (Siebers, 2008). Disability, to them, ³LVQRWDSK\VLFDORUPHQWDO

GHIHFWEXWDFXOWXUDODQGPLQRULW\LGHQWLW\´ 6LHEHUV08, p. 4). Disability theorists do not want to eradicate the disease, instead they want to understand and name how people who have a disability are treated differently in society (Siebers, 2008). Disability studies seek to demonstrate that people who do not have full control of their mind or body still have a right to a full life and should not be looked down upon as less than human (Siebers, 2008, pp. 3-4).

7KHPHGLFDOPRGHOLVRODWHVSHRSOHZLWKGLVDELOLWLHVE\ODEHOLQJWKHPDVD³GHIHFWLYH person, duplicating the history of discrimination and shame connected to disability in the social world, aQGLWDIIHFWVWKHDELOLW\RISHRSOHZLWKGLVDELOLWLHVWRRUJDQL]HSROLWLFDOO\´ 6LHEHUV08, p.72). It has not kept up with the changing times, new legislation, the changing population, or the identities people with disabilities have formed with people of like disabilities. In essence, the medical model has led to the continued institutional discrimination of people with disabilities in

³KHDOWKFDUHVRFLDOVHUYLFHVHGXFDWLRQSULYDWHFKDULW\DQGSXEOLFSROLFLHV´ /RQJPRUHSS

143-144). The DRM fought against the medical model through legislation that provided necessary accommodations and prohibited discrimination against people with disabilities

(Longmore, 2009). 'XHWR³FKDQJHVLQWKHHFRQRPLFDQGVRFLDORUJDQL]DWLRQRIVRFLHW\´

(Campbell, 2009, p. 99), the social model has in recent times taken on more predominance among disability theorists. Policies have been passed, laws have been signed, and now the focus of the DRM is on the values of our disabled American citizens (Longmore, 2009). People with

GLVDELOLWLHVYDOXH³QRWVHOI-sufficiency but self-determination, not independence but interdependence, not functional separateness but personal connection, not physical autonomy but

KXPDQFRPPXQLW\´ /RQJPRUHS 

Social Model

The fight against the medical model has led to the realization that people with disabilities are American citizens who deserve and can demand their equal rights and acceptance into society

(Longmore, 2009). Since the 1970s GLVDELOLW\WKHRULVWVKDYHEHHQ³SXVKLQJZith increasing strength for disability to be seen as a form of social oppression, and the appropriate response is

RQHRIFLYLOULJKWVUDWKHUWKDQPHGLFDORUVRFLDOFDUH´ :LOOLDPV2001, p. 125). To people with disabilities, it is the discrimination they face that is the most debilitating, not their impairment

(Longmore, 2009). The social model rose from the politics of disability research, seeking to unearth and challenge ³WKHVWUXFWXUDOH[FOXVLRQRIGLVDEOHGSHRSOH´ *RRGOH\ p.23).

Unlike the meGLFDOPRGHOWKH³VRFLDOPRGHOORRNVDWKRZVRFLHW\KDVEXLOWVRFLDODQGSK\VLFDO barriers for people with impairments´(Albrecht, Seelman, & Bury; 2001, p. 11). It has fundamentally altered how society views those with disabilities (Albrecht, Seelman, & Bury;

Educational Implications

Schools advocate for the acceptance of diversity of students due to race and gender, but schools do not acknowledge disability issues as they pertain to ableism (Johnson, 2003; Storey,

2007). Still, educators continue to maintain practices that do not allow students with disabilities equal access to the curriculum and to hold back students with disabilities from reaching their academic potential (Ashby, 2010; Hehir, 2002). Ableist assumptions can occur in the school setting because of the negative stereotypes of students with disabilities (Hehir, 2002). In addition, educators need to develop an understanding of how students with disabilities complete tasks efficiently and how they learn differently (Storey, 2007). As a result of ableist assumptions, there is often a lack of appropriate educational supports for students with disabilities, leaving students with disabilities less than fully included in the classroom (Ashby, 2010; Hehir, 2002).

From the viewpoint of the DEOHLVWWKH³KLGGHQFXUULFXOXPRIHGXFDWLRQ´ $VKE\S 350) is to make the student with a disability as comparable to an abled-bodied student as possible

(Ashby, 2010; Hehir, 2002). Due to this ableist belief/mentality, Hehir (2002) contends this

³SHUYDVLYHQHVVRIDEOHLVWDVVXPSWLRQVLQWKHHGXFDWLRQRIWKHVHFKLOGUHQQRWRQO\UHLQIRUFHV prevailing prejudices against disability but may very well contribute to the low levels of

HGXFDWLRQDODWWDLQPHQWDQGHPSOR\PHQW´ S. 4).

Research Questions

This case study will answer the overarching question: What can the experiences of a multi-disabled, medically fragile student and her family reveal about the role of ableism in education?

The study will also answer the following question:

What do the participants' experiences suggest about the need for disability-oriented education in schools today?

Significance of the Study

This case study of a student with multiple disabilities is intended to inform educators and the general public that students with disabilities are capable of being successful in school and in the workforce. It is also intended to diminish the ableist attitude towards people with disabilities in schools and in day-to-day interactions by raising awareness of the lived experiences of those with multiple disabilities. It is through education that this devaluing attitude can cease to exist in our country.

Overview of the Study

In this study, I conducted a case study while employing the methods of narrative inquiry and elements of life history to explore the experiences of the elementary school years of one student with multiple disabilities. A case study was used to add to our knowledge so educators may better understand an individual or group of individuals (Yin, 2014). I interviewed a female, who was born with a degenerative disease to share her story as it unfolded throughout her elementary school years. I also interviewed two other individuals who were involved in her life during this time. I followed the life history method anG³UHVWRULHG´WKHLQWHUYLHZVWRVKDUHKHU life with educators in order for them to learn from her experiences (Creswell, 2007).

Definition of Terms

Ableism²³a pervasive system of discrimination and exclusion that oppresses people who have mental, emotionDODQGSK\VLFDOGLVDELOLWLHV´ 5DXVFKHU 0F&OLQWRFN, p. 198).

American with Disabilities Act of 1990²WKHSXUSRVHRIWKH$'$LV³to provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities; to provide clear, strong, consistent, enforceable standards addressing discrimination against individuals with disabilities; to ensure that the Federal Government plays a central role in enforcing the standards established in this chapter on behalf of individuals with disabilities; and to invoke the sweep of congressional authority, including the power to enforce the fourteenth amendment and to regulate commerce, in order to address the major areas of discrimination faced day-to-day by people ZLWKGLVDELOLWLHV´ 86&$†HWVHT 

American Sign Language (ASL)²The National Institute on Deafness and Other

&RPPXQLFDWLRQ'LVRUGHUV 1,'&' GHILQHV$6/DV³a complete, complex language that employs signs made by moving the hands combined with facial expressions and postures of the body. It is the primary language of many North Americans who are deaf and is one of several communication options used by people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing´

(http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/pages/asl.aspx).

Cued Speech²The National Cued Speech Foundations states that cued speech is a visual

PRGHRIFRPPXQLFDWLRQLQZKLFKPRXWKPRYHPHQWVRIVSHHFKFRPELQHZLWK³FXHV´ to make the sounds (phonemes) of traditional spoken languages look different. Cueing allows users who are deaf, hard of hearing or who have language / communication disorders to access the basic, fundamental properties of spoken languages through the use of vision´

(http://www.cuedspeech.org/).

Free, appropriate public education (FAPE)²According to Section 504, ADA, and IDEA, schools must meet the needs of students with disabilities while educating them along-side their non-disabled peers as much as possible during the school day. If a student with a disability is not

14 educated along-side his/her non-disabled peer, schools must show that the general education

SURJUDPFDQQRWPHHWWKHVWXGHQW¶VQHHGVVDWLVIDFWRULO\ 6PLWK 

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1990 (IDEA)²successful in ensuring children with disabilities and the families of such children access to a free appropriate public education and in improving results for children with disabilities (20 U.S.C. §1400 et seq.).

Individual Education Program (IEP)²WKHFRXUWVFDOOWKH,(3³WKHGHFLVLRQPDNLQJ

GRFXPHQW´ 1DWLRQDO&RXQFLORQ'LVDELOLW\S ,WLVDQeducational tool that allows teachersSDUHQWVDQGWKHVWXGHQWWRSDUWLFLSDWHLQWKHVWXGHQW¶VHGXFDWLRQDOSODQ,WLVDSODQWKDW protects the well-being of the student (National Council on Disability, 2005).

Reasonable Accommodation²³3XUSRVHVRI7LWOH,RIthe $'$DVLQFOXGLQJµPDNLQJ existing facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities; and job restructuring, part-time or modified work schedules, reassignment to a vacant position, acquisition or modification of equipment or devices, appropriate adjustment of examinations, training materials or policies, the provision of qualified readers or interpreters, and

RWKHUVLPLODUDFFRPPRGDWLRQVIRULQGLYLGXDOVZLWKGLVDELOLWLHV¶´>86&†  1DWLRQDO

Council on Disability, 2008, p. 46].

Rehabilitation Act of 1973²³The purposes of this Act are to empower individuals with disabilities to maximize employment, economic self-sufficiency, independence, and inclusion and integration into society, through statewide workforce investment systems implemented in accordance with title I of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 that include, as integral components, comprehensive and coordinated state-of-the-art programs of vocational rehabilitation; independent living centers and services; research; training; demonstration projects; and the guarantee of equal opportunity; and to ensure that the Federal Government

15 plays a leadership role in promoting the employment of individuals with disabilities, especially individuals with significant disabilities, and in assisting States and providers of services in fulfilling the aspirations of such individuals with disabilities for meaningful and gainful emSOR\PHQWDQGLQGHSHQGHQWOLYLQJ´ 3XE/-112, 87 § 35 et seq).

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act²³No otherwise qualified individual with a

GLVDELOLW\LQWKH8QLWHG6WDWHV«shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving FHGHUDOILQDQFLDODVVLVWDQFH«´(Section 504 of the Rehabilitation

Act of 1973, as amended, 29 U.S.C. 794).

Chapter 1 introduced the problem, provided a historical context to the problem, presented the purpose and the significance of the study, gave an overview of the methodology, and provided a definition of terms that will be used in this study. Chapter 2 provides the significance the disability rights movement had on people with disabilities and legislation and describes the legislation that has been passed over the past 40 years to ensure equal outcomes and opportunities for people with disabilities. Chapter 2 concludes with literature describing how to end the ableist attitude in schools today. Chapter 3 outlines the research design, methodology, and data analysis to be used in this study. Chapter 4 and 5 presents the findings and makes recommendations based on those findings.

C H APT E R 2 R E V I E W O F T H E L I T E R A T UR E

The Disability Rights Movement (DRM) has brought about improvements in the quality of life for people with disabilities since its inception in the 1960s (National Council on Disability,

2010), and has had three particularly noteworthy outcomes. First, the DRM made disability a civil rights issue, prompting the creation of a public policy to benefit people with disabilities

(National Council on Disability, 2010). Second, it helped end the isolation of disabled people and allowed them to join society as citizens who are able to obtain employment, procure a public education, and access public places (National Council on Disability, 2010). Third, it has brought public awareness about people and issues related to those who live with disabilities (Kimberlin,

2009; Longmore & Umansky, 2001; National Council on Disability, 2010).

However, even with the passing of legislation and heightened public awareness, people with disabilities still faced discrimination in their everyday life at work and in school (Baird et al., 2009; Scotch, 2009). In schools around the country, students with disabilities have twice the dropout rate of their abled peers, and the matriculation rate of students with disabilities entering

FROOHJHLVORZHUWKDQWKHLUDEOHGSHHUV 3UHVLGHQW¶V&RPPLVVLRQRQExcellence in Special

Education, 2002). For people with severe or visible disabilities, it is still a trying experience to obtain employment (Rosen, 2014). Even with the implementation of public policy that is beneficial to people with disabilities, the elimination of disability discrimination has not taken place (Ramey, 2007; Hehir, 2005; Scotch, 2009). Many Americans with disabilities reported the barriers they face have been attitudinal barriers such as pity for being disabled, fear of becoming disabled, admiration for the hardships people with disabilities face every day, and stereotyping of people with disabilities (National Council on Disability, 2007; Shapiro, 1994).

This literature review will provide a brief social history of the DRM in the US and an explanation of the two main conceptual models that inform public perceptions of people with disabilities. It then will present an analysis of disability related legislation, drawing on the social and medical models to illustrate how gaps between legislative intent and reality play out in the field of education today for people with disabilities. The review relies on this legislative analysis to show the major issues facing people with disabilities in the field of education. It then turns to contemporary research in the field of disability studies in education to frame the main research questions for this study.

The main research question is: What can the experiences of a multi-handicapped, medically fragile student and her family reveal about the role of ableism in education?

The second question is: What do the participants' experiences suggest about the need for disability-oriented education in schools today?

The Disability Rights Movement in America: The Fight for Civil Rights

In the decision Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), the Supreme Court

UXOHG³WKDWVHSDUDWHEXWHTXDOZDVLQKHUHQWO\XQHTXDO´ Brown v. Board of Education, 1954, p. 7).

The decision declared students could not succeed in life without the opportunity to receive an

HGXFDWLRQ³RQHTXDOWHUPV´ :HEHU0DZVGOH\ 5HGILHOG, 2010). Prior to this decision, students who were disabled, physically and mentally, were excluded from education. However,

WKH6XSUHPH&RXUW¶VUXOLQJLQBrown v. Board of Education motivated families of children with disabilities to advocate for their children to attend school and receive an equal education (Weber et al., 2010). Along with the civil rights movement of the 1960s, the return of disabled young soldiers from the Vietnam War, and the independent living movement of the disabled of the

1970s gave rise to the Disability Rights Movement (DRM) 2¶%ULHQ; National Council on

Disability, 1997, 2010). In the early days of the movement, the activists focused on alleviating problems, particularly the everyday struggles society created for people with disabilities and their families. However, disability advocates began to recognize the need to discuss, listen to, and understand the struggles of the disabled and their families (Ferguson & Nusbaum, 2012).

Disability theorists recognized the role of social oppression and advocated for an agenda that demanded civil rights instead of medical or social care for the disabled (Williams, 2001).

The DRM represented a shift from traditional ways of thinking about people with disabilities. Prior to the civil rights movement of the 1960s, disability was generally medicalized.

People with disabilities were perceived as impaired with illnesses that needed to be cured

(Siebers, 2008; Switzer, 2003). This medical model isolated, and in some cases still isolates, people with disabilities (Siebers, 2008). It labeled them ³GHIHFWLYH,´WKHUHE\³GXSOLFDWLQJWKH

KLVWRU\RIGLVFULPLQDWLRQDQGVKDPHFRQQHFWHGWRGLVDELOLW\LQWKHVRFLDOZRUOG´DQGDIIHFWLQJ

³WKHDELOLW\RISHRSOHZLWKGLVDELOLWLHVWRRUJDQL]HSROLWLFDOO\´ 6LHEHUV08, p. 72).

Medicalization creates problems in the lives of people with disabilities and the disability of the person. ,QKLVERRN6KDSLUR  VWDWHGWKH'50LV³WKHQHZWKLQNLQJE\GLVDEOHGSHRSOHWKDW there is no pity or traged\LQGLVDELOLW\DQGWKDWLWLVVRFLHW\¶VP\WKVIHDUVDQGVWHUHRW\SHVWKDW

PRVWPDNHEHLQJGLVDEOHGGLIILFXOW´ S 

Members of the DRM, however, focused on sociopolitical issues surrounding disabilities instead of individualV¶LPSDLUPHQWV(Gabel, 2009). In the social model disabled people are minorities who experience ³PDUJLQDOL]DWLRQGLVHQIUDQFKLVHPHQWGLVFULPLQDWLRQVWLJPDWL]DWLRQ

DQGVWHUHRW\SLQJ´ *DEHO 2009, p. 3). In other words, the social model frames disability as a civil rights issue, likening the disabled to other marginalized groups who have fought for civil

19 rights because of their race, gender, or sexual orientation (Shapiro, 1994). In the US, proponents of the social model advocated for using the collective voices of the disabled to make political and social change instead of curing the disability of the person (Johnson, 2003). In this way, the social model contradicts the medical model; problematizing society instead of the individual with the disability (Johnson, 2003).

As a result of the DRM, disabled Americans and their families were given a voice in the public arena and started to fight for their rights in the work place, and in schools, buoyed by the belief it was able-bodied people holding WKHPEDFN 2¶%ULHQ  Given the DRMs social orientation to disabilities and the political context of the civil rights movement, it is hardly surprising the DRM coincided with the creation of disability-related policy. Disability-related policy began to address discrimination against people with disabilities. However, people with disabilities still faced discrimination in the world around them (Scotch, 2009).

Societal Values: Devalued and Diminished Expectations

Ableism, a foundational theoretical construct in the field of disability studies, provides a holistic lens through which to examine assumptions, beliefs, and values about people with disabilities. In so doing, ableism brings into clear relief the culture of devaluation and diminished expectations that plague persons with disabilities and their families. An examination of the gaps in disability studies scholarship, particularly in the field of education, frames research on disability and special education research in school settings. This analysis highlights the need for better understanding of the experiences of students with disabilities and their families.

Ableism and People with Disabilities

American disability theorists ascribed to the social model and sought to focus on

VRFLHW\¶VGHILQLWLRQRIGLVDELOLW\ 7D\ORU2004). Notable amongst disability scholarship is

Bogden and Biklen¶V(1977) work on ableism; ZKLFKHVWDEOLVKHGWKHIRXQGDWLRQ³«IRUWKLQNLQJ about so-called handicapped people as societally created rather than as a natural or objective

FRQGLWLRQ´ S  In so doing, they problematized society instead of problematizing people with disabilities. This paradigm, originally called handicapism, is now commonly referred to as ableism.

Ableism is ³DVHWRIDVVXPSWLRQVDQGSUDFWLFHVWKDWSURPRWHs the differential and unequal

WUHDWPHQWRISHRSOHEHFDXVHRIDSSDUHQWRUDVVXPHGSK\VLFDOPHQWDORUEHKDYLRUDOGLIIHUHQFHV´

(Bogdan & Biklen, 1977, p. 14). Generally speaking, ableism is enacted by the ³NLQGVRI policies and practices that discriminate DJDLQVWSHRSOHZLWKGLVDELOLWLHV´ %RJGDQ Biklen, 1977, p. 15). From the ableist perspective, these norms maintain the stereotypes that diminish disabled people. Ableism occurs when social biases happen against people with disabilities because their bodies function differently than what is considered to be normal (Albrecht, Selman & Berry,

2001). There are two important outcomes of these stereotypes. First, the lives of people with disabilities are devalued because they function differently than most people in society (Campbell,

2009). Second, because they function differently, people with disabilities are subject to lowered expectations (Campbell, 2009). Both of these outcomes act to prevent people with disabilities from fully experiencing life in mainstream society (Campbell, 2009).

Devaluation and Diminished Expectations of People with Disabilities

3HUVSHFWLYHVRIGLVDELOLW\JURXQGHGLQWKHVRFLDOPRGHODGGWRWKHDEOHLVWV¶SRVLWLRQ

VXJJHVWLQJYLHZSRLQWVRIVWHUHRW\SLQJ³do more than discriminate; WKH\RSSUHVV´ (Gabel, 2009, p.

4). When people see disability as located inside the individual, they assume a dominant attitude over disabled people (Siebers, 2008). In other words, the abled person feels superior to the person with disability. Often, stereotyping occurs at great cost. As Siebers (2008) suggests,

³SHRSOHSHUFHLYHZKHQVRPHRQHLVGLIIHUHQWIURPWKHPEXWUDUHO\DFNQRZOHGJHWKHYLROHQFHRI

WKHLUSHUFHSWLRQ´ S. 55). 7KHDEOHGSHUVRQ¶VSHUFHSWLRQRIWKHGLVDEOHGSHUVRQKDVGDPDJHGDQG hurWWKHZRUWKRIWKHGLVDEOHGSHUVRQ¶VEHLQJIXUWKHULVRODWLQJWKHSHUVRQZLWKWKHGLVDELOLW\

Beliefs about people with disabilities have deep roots in the human psyche. As Freud suggests, violence is perpetrated because of the belief that people who suffer are narcissistic and incapable of loving anything other than themselves (Seibers, 2011). +HQFHE\)UHXG¶V reasoning, when someone who is able first meets someone who is disabled, s/he is inclined to believe that person is self-centered and unloving (Seibers, 2011). This diminishes, stigmatizes, and devalues the person with disabilities, justifying the position of the abled and their inclination to ³OHVVHQDQGODEHOWKLVSHUVRQDVDFULSSOHEDVWDUG[and] PRURQ´ *RIIPDQS 

Goffman (1963) VXPPDUL]HVWKLVSKHQRPHQRQDVWDNLQJ³«RQHSLHFHRIWKHSHUVRQZHILQG

XQGHVLUDEOH´DQGFUHDWLQJ³PRUHXQGHVLUDEOHFKDUDFWHULVWLFV´ (p. 5). In more modern times:

the devaluation of disability results in societal attitudes that uncritically assert that it is

better for a child to walk than roll, speak than sign, read print than read Braille, spell

independently than use spell check, and hang out with nondisabled kids as opposed to

other disabled kids. (Hehir, 2002, p. 3)

Here, it becomes easy to see how GofIPDQ¶VSKHQRPHQRQFRQWULEXWHVWRDFOLPDWHRI diminished expectations for people with disabilities. Disability theorists want everyone to

XQGHUVWDQGWKDWDEOHLVP³DFWXDOO\LQYROYHVSUDFWLFHVDQGDWWLWXGHVWKDWLQGXFHRWKHUIRUPVRI

LPSDLUPHQWDQGLQMXU\´(Campbell, 2009, p. 17). Due to this ableist belief/mentality, Hehir

(2002) contends that ableist assumptions are pervasive in the education of children with

GLVDELOLWLHV7KHDEOHLVWDVVXPSWLRQ³not only reinforces prevailing prejudices against disability

EXWPD\YHU\ZHOOFRQWULEXWHWRWKHORZOHYHOVRIHGXFDWLRQDODWWDLQPHQWDQGHPSOR\PHQW´ Heir,

2002, p. 4).

This is evidenced in the fact that 17.2% of disabled adults who are in the working-age range are employed and 12.8% are unemployed (U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor

Statistics, 2014). An unemployed person is one who is actively seeking work but at the time is not employed. The labor force participation rate is the ratio of the labor force and the national population of the same age range (U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014).

To provide a concrete example, in 2012 there was 1,353,800 people with disabilities out of

12,562,000 people with disabilities between the ages of 21 to 64 who were not institutionalized who were actively seeking employment. In the year 2012, a person with disabilities average median earning was $36,400 while a person without a disability averaged $42,400 (Disability

Statistics, 2014). Table 2 shows that the unemployment rate for people with disabilities is double the rate of people without disabilities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in the year

³SHUVRQVZLWKKLJKHUOHYHOVRIHGXFDWLRQZHUHPRUHOLNHO\WREHKLUHGWKDQWKRVHZLWKOHVV

HGXFDWLRQ´ 86'HSDUWPHQWRI/DERU 2013). However, a person without a disability is more likely to be hired than a person with a disability, no matter their level of education.

Table 2 Disability Employment Statistics ± August 2014 ± U.S. Department of Labor Labor Force Unemployment Labor Force Participation Rate People with Disabilities 19.8% 12.8% People without Disabilities 68.8% 6.0%

Diminished expectations for people with disabilities are relevant when it comes to U.S. schools. While there here have been positive steps towards an equal education for all students,

WKH³DEOHLVWDVVXPSWLRQVRISHUIRUPDQFHFDQOLPLWDFFHVVWRQHHGHGVXSSort and meaningful

HQJDJHPHQWZLWKDFDGHPLFFRQWHQW´ $VKE\S 7KHJRDORIOHJLVODWLRQVLQFHWKH

1970s has been ³WRHPSRZHULQGLYLGXDOVZLWKGLVDELOLWies to maximize employment, economic self-sufficiency, independence, and inclusion and integration into society´ (p. 395 Id. at §

702(b)(1) +RZHYHUZLWKRXWDULJKWWRDQHGXFDWLRQDSHUVRQ¶VFKDQFHVRIOHDGLQJDQ independent life, earning a livelihood, supporting a family, or contributing positively to society can prove to be complicated (National Council on Disability, 2005).

Policy and legislative mandates allowed people with disabilities to enter mainstream society and the school system (National Council on Disability, 2010). But, in many ways, these acts fell short of meeting the needs of people with disabilities because policy did not change public perceptions (Longmore, 2009; Scotch, 2009). Laws alone cannot change the attitudes of people who devalue and diminish the expectations of other people who are not like them

(Campbell, 2009; Scotch, 2009). The review of disability-related legislation in the sections ahead explains how the gap between legislative intent and practical enactment has evolved in the field of disabilities, particularly when it comes to education.

Legislation for Equal Educational Opportunity and Outcomes

People with disabilities still struggle with many facets of life in contemporary society.

The history of the disability rights movement illustrates societal values can cause problems for people with disabilities. Ableism, in particular, contributes to a climate of devaluation and diminished expectations for people with disabilities. The civil rights movement, the ruling in

Brown v. Board of Education, and the return of Vietnam veterans in the late 1960s and the early

1970s ushered in the idea of independent living for the disabled; this encouraged people with disabilities to advocate for self-help which allows them a voice in their own life choices

2¶%ULHQ  Between 1968 and 1990, more than 50 acts were passed into law pertaining to people with disabilities (Longmore & Umansky, 2001).

The sections ahead provide an overview of major legislation passed between 1973 to present, define the legal purpose of each act, and consider advances and shortcomings of the acts as they pertain to the education of students with disabilities. The focus is on how Section 504, the ADA, IDEA, and NCLB have provided students with disabilities the opportunity to receive accommodations under the law and to achieve an education that is equal to their abled peers. In summary, implications of these legislative acts for closing the achievement gap between students with disabilities and students who are able-bodied are included in Table 3

Table 3 Policy Passed with the Intent of Equality of Opportunity

Year Act Legal Purpose Educational Impact 1965 Elementary and Federal legislation passed to provide states and districts x Improved the education for low socioeconomic students Secondary money to serve economically disadvantaged students. (Smith, 2001) Education Act of (Weber, et al., 2010) x Led to NCLB legislation for all 1965 (ESEA

1973 Section 504 of the ³1RRWKHUZLVHTXDOLILHGLQGLYLGXDOZLWKD x Prohibited discrimination on the basis of disability Rehabilitation Act GLVDELOLW\«EHH[FOXGHGIURPWKHSDUWLFLSDWLRQLQEH (Longmore, 2003) denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination x Involved students with disabilities in school and in extra- under any program or activity receiving Federal curricular activities ILQDQFLDODVVLVWDQFH«´ x Paved the way for the ADA (Longmore, 2003) (Weber, et al., 2010, p. 18; 29 U.S.C.A § 794) x Provided no funding to schools (Smith, 2001)

1975 Education for All ³VXFFHVVIXOLQHQVXULQJFKLOGUHQZLWKGLVDELOLWLHVDQG x Mandated school districts to educate students with Handicapped the families of such children access to a free disabilities with their peers Children Act appropriate public education and in improving results (Longmore & Umansky, 2001) (EAHCA) IRUFKLOGUHQZLWKGLVDELOLWLHV´ † D  :HEHUet x Did not guarantee any kind of educational benefit or al., 2010, p. 1, statutes) requirement for eligibility for handicapped children x Provide FAPE for children with disabilities (Weber et al., 2010, p. 44) x Protect the rights of students with disabilities and their parents by providing due process x Implement an Individualized Education Program x Instruct students with disabilities in the Least Restrictive Environment x Provide Federal funding to states to educate students with disabilities (§ 1400 (a)(3))

1990 Americans with Civil rights legislation offered disabled people the x Provided no funding to schools (Smith, 2001) Disabilities Act ability to access employment, transportation, and x Increased access to grade-level curriculum (NCD, 2004) (ADA) businesses - all entities must follow except churches x Educated students with a vast number of varying and private clubs (Rauscher & McClintock, 1997; disabilities by providing students who were found

Year Act Legal Purpose Educational Impact Smith, 2001). disabled a 504 plan (Smith & Bales, 2010) Goal is to end discrimination of people with disabilities EHFDXVHRIWKHLULPSDLUPHQWV 2¶%ULHQ 1990 Individuals with ³,PSURYLQJHGXFDWLRQDOUHVXOWVIRUFKLOGUHQZLWK x Allowed children with disabilities attain higher Disabilities Act disabilities is an essential element of our national education, be self-employed, and lead to an independent (IDEA) policy of ensuring equality of opportunity, full life (Smith & Bales, 2010) participation, independent living, and economic self- x Changed name of EAHCA VXIILFLHQF\IRULQGLYLGXDOVZLWKGLVDELOLWLHV´ †00 x Added Traumatic Brain Injury and Autism to a distinct (a)(1); Weber, et al., 2010, p. 1) disability category x Added transition service requirement to students with IEPs when they turned 16 years old (Yell, et.al., 2006)

1997 Individuals with ³LQFUHDVHGHPSKDVLVRQVWXGHQWRXWFRPHVGDWD x 6WUHQJWKHQHGSDUHQWV¶ role Disabilities Act reduction of paperwork and procedural complexity, and x Emphasized student progress (IDEA) a reduction or consolidation of separately funded x Added mediation services UHVHDUFKWUDLQLQJDQGVXSSRUWSURJUDPV´ (NCD, 2004, x Added disciplinary procedures ³,'($SDUD x Changed IEP requirements regarding x Added transition from high school to post-secondary plan x Added students older than 14 must participate in plan x Required ³SDUWLFLSDWLRQDQGSURJUHVVLQJHQHUDOHGXFDWLRQ curriculum x 5HTXLUHG³SDUWLFLSDWLRn state- or district-wide DVVHVVPHQWV´ x Expected ³LQYROYHPHQWRIJHQHUDOHGXFDWLRQWHDFKHUV´ (Yell, et al., 2006, p. 2; NCD, 2004)

2001 No Child Left ³,QFUHDVHWKHDFDGHPLFSHUIRUPDQFHRIDOOSXEOLF x Expected all students proficient in reading and math± Behind (NCLB) school students, and improve the performance of low- Adequate Yearly Progress SHUIRUPLQJVFKRROV´ x Required highly qualified teachers Require state-wide assessments x Expected safe, drug-free schools, conducive to learning (Yell, et al., 2006) x Expected every student graduate from high school x Implemented evidence based practices

Year Act Legal Purpose Educational Impact x Enacted rigorous accountability system for all states and schools (Yell, et al., 2006, p. 2)

2004 Individuals with To improve the educational outcomes for students with x Aligned NCLB and IDEIA Disabilities Act disabilities and to have meaningful educational x Changed disciplinary process Improvement Act benefits. x Changed dispute-resolution system (IDEIA) (Yell, et al., 2006) x (Yell, et al., 2006, p. 4)

2008 Americans with 3URYLGHµDFOHDUDQGFRPSUHKHQVLYHQDWLRQDOPDQGDWH x Allowed students who do not meet the IDEA definition Disabilities Act IRUWKHHOLPLQDWLRQRIGLVFULPLQDWLRQ¶ of disability but meet the ADA definition of disability are Amendment Act eligible to qualify for special services under Section 504 (ADAAA) Broadened the definition of disability by expanding the (Smith & Bales, 2010; Zirkel, 2009a) list of major life activities covered by ADA x Adopted Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and now (Weber et al., 2010; Zirkel, 2009a) more and more students have a 504 plan x Increased academic achievement (NCD, 2008) x Appropriated funding not provided under Section 504 and the ADA x Increased qualification of students for services under the expanded definition of disability (Zirkel, 2009a) x Opened schools to more liability because students now have more protection (Smith & Bales, 2010) x Addressed the needs of the general education population (Zirkel, 2009a)

2008 No Child Left Close the achievement gap and for every student to x Improved accountability and transparency, graduation Behind (NCLB) ³PHHWDFDGHPLFSURILFLHQF\´ 1&' rates reporting disaggregated, improved parental notification x Increased QXPEHURI³SURILFLHQW´LQHQGRIWKH\HDU exams for students with disabilities(NCD, 2008)

From Section 504 to the A D A A A

Due to federal legislation, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with

Disabilities Act (ADA), Americans with disabilities were given equality of opportunity to access and obtain a public education (Smith & Bales, 2010). Years later, IDEA and NCLB were passed to ensure students with disabilities equity in education by improving the educational achievement and performance of students. They required states and schools to test all students with state academic standards (National Council on Disability, 2008). These two laws hold teachers and

VFKRROVDFFRXQWDEOHIRUVWXGHQWV¶DFDGHPLFSURJUHVVDQGUHVXOWVRQHQGRIWKH\HDUDVVHVVPHQWV

(National Council on Disability, 2004, 2008; Yell, Rogers, & Rogers, 1998). Table 3 on the previous pages provides an overview of the laws passed, and reauthorized, for students with disabilities to receive an equal opportunity to access schooling. It also provides an explanation of the laws passed and reauthorized for students with disabilities to receive an education with equal outcomes. Generally speaking, these laws made educational advances for students with disabilities, but the enactment of these laws often fell short of meeting real, human needs

(Johnson, 2003).

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was the first civil rights statute that offered protection to people with disabilities through Section 504 of the Act (Longmore & Umansky, 2001). For the first time in history, people with disabilities were recognized as a minority group (Ramey, 2007) and Section 504 ³LPSOHPHQWHGDIXQGDPHQWDOUHGHILQLWLRQRIµGLVDELOLW\¶DVDVRFLDOPRUHWKDQD

PHGLFDOSUREOHP´ /RQJPRUHS 7KHSXUSRVHRIWKH5HKDELOLWDWLRQ$FWZDVWR provide opportunities, primarily, through vocational rehabilitation services to people who were

SK\VLFDOO\RUPHQWDOO\GLVDEOHG 5DPH\ &RQJUHVV¶VLQWHQWIRUSDVVLQJWKH5HKDELOLWDWLRQ

Act was ³WRHPSRZHULQGLYLGXDOVZLWKGLVDELOLWies to maximize employment, economic self-

29 sufficiency, indHSHQGHQFHDQGLQFOXVLRQDQGLQWHJUDWLRQLQWRVRFLHW\´ S,GDW† E 1)).

Section 504 prohibited any federally funded program from discriminating against any person with a disability, and, as such, was the first civil rights statute to protect people with disabilities

(Longmore, 2003; Longmore & Umansky, 2001; National Council on Disability, 2005; Smith,

 ,WZDVD³RQHVHQWHQFHSDUDJUDSKSURKLELWLQJDQ\SURJUDPRUDFWLYLW\UHFHLYLQJ86 governmental financial assistance from discriminating against qualified individuals with

GLVDELOLWLHV´ Baird et al., 2009, p. 139). This Act was modeled after the 1972 Title IX

Educational Act and the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and congressional staff members silently added

Section 504 after the original draft (National Council on Disability, 2010; Yell et al., 1998). The section mandates³1RRWKHUZLVHTXDOLILHGKDQGLFDSSHGLQGLYLGXDO«VKDOO«EHH[FOXGHGIRU participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or

DFWLYLW\UHFHLYLQJIHGHUDOILQDQFLDODVVLVWDQFH´ Public law, 93-112, The Rehabilitation Act of

1973). The reason congressional staffers added this phrase was due to concerns that people with disabilities who received vocational rehabilitation would not be hired for employment (National

Council on Disability, 2010). Even though President Nixon signed the Rehabilitation Act into law, his administration failed to develop the regulations associated with Section 504 (National

Council on Disability, 2010). They were not developed and signed until five years later under

3UHVLGHQW&DUWHU¶VDGPLQLVWUDWLRQ 1DWLRQDO&RXQFLORQ'LVDELOLW\ 6HFWLRQZDVDGGHG without a debate or questions from either Congress or the President; however, there was no mechanism to fund the law and it lacked a congressional statement of purpose (National Council on Disability, 2010).

The passing of the regulations of Section 504 was an arduous grassroots movement led by people with disabilities (National Council on Disability, 2010). People with disabilities came

30 together to demand their rights as one group because of the delay in developing the regulations associated with the procedural aspects of the law (National Council on Disability, 2010). Even though President Nixon signed the Rehabilitation Act in 1973, the regulations of Section 504 were not developed under the Nixon administration (National Council on Disability, 2010). In their struggle to have the regulations of 504 signed, people with disabilities formed the first cross-disability organization, the American Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities (ACCD) in

1974 (National Council on Disability, 2010). It was not until April 28, 1978, that Secretary

-RVHSK&DOLIDQRXQGHU3UHVLGHQW&DUWHU¶VDGPLQLVWUDWLRQVLJQHd the regulations for Section 504.

The passing of Section 504 was a turning point for the civil rights of people with disabilities for three reasons. First, with the passing of Section 504, American citizens began to understand people with disabilities wanted their civil rights and did not want to be a group of people who relied on government welfare (National Council on Disability, 2010). Second,

Section 504 marked the first time people with disabilities came together as one group and they defined the disability rights movement when they protested for their rights as citizens (National

Council on Disability, 2010). Third, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) replicated the legal standard for the civil rights of people with disabilities as stated in Section 504 (National

Council on Disability, 2010). Overall, people with disabilities created their credibility as a community who demanded their civil rights as American citizens (National Council on Disability,

In 1978, the same year Section 504 was signed into law, the National Council on

Disability (formerly the National Council on the Handicapped) was formed. This small advisory council became part of the U.S. Department of Education and sought WR³empower individuals with disabilities to achieve economic self-sufficiency, independent living, and inclusion and

31 integration into all aspects of society´ 86&$et seq.). In 1984, the National Council on Disability became an independent federal agency tasked with advising the President,

Congress, and various federal agencies about the impact of federally approved disability legislation on the lives of people with disabilities (National Council on Disability, 2008) and how to increase their independence while decreasing their dependence on government programs

(National Council on Disability, 2010). The National Council on Disability report, Toward

Independence, listed more than forty recommendations and was officially presented on February

1, 1986 (National Council on Disability, 2010). The report called on the government to provide people with disabilities their civil rights and demanded officials enact policies in a manner

DOORZLQJSHRSOHZLWKGLVDELOLWLHVWR³achieve maximum life potential, self-reliance, independence, productivity, and equitable mainstream social participation in the most productive and the least

UHVWULFWLYHHQYLURQPHQW´ 6ZLW]HU2003, p. 13). The report, Toward Independence, stressed the civil rights for people with disabilities would increase accessibility and assist with finding employment (National Council on Disability, 2010).

In August 1987, a member of National Council on Disability drafted another report entitled On the Threshold of Independence, which became the draft of the current ADA

(National Council on Disability, 2010). Members of the disability community looked for sponsorship of the law from various members of the Senate and Congress who supported people with disabilities (National Council on Disability, 2005). Senator Weicker introduced the ADA on the Senate floor on April 28, 1988 (National Council on Disability, 2010). There were great rumblings among senators about the ADA due to the financial cost to the public (National

Council on Disability, 2010). During this time, George Bush was the Vice President under

President Ronald Reagan. Personally, George Bush had members of his family who were

32 disabled. Later, during his acceptance speech at the Republican convention, President Bush

VWDWHG³¶, am going to do whatever it takes to make sure the disabled are included in the mainstream. For too long, they have been left out, but they are not going to be left out anymore¶´

(National Council on Disability, 2010, p. 69).

President George H. W. Bush signed the ADA into law on July 26, 1990, as public law

101-336 (National Council on Disability, 2008, & National Council on Disability, 2010). The

$'$RIVWDWHG³FHQVXVGDWDQDWLRQDOSROOVDQGRWKHUVWXGLHVKDYHGRFXPHQWHGWKDWSHRSOH with disabilities, as a group, occupy an inferior status in our society, and are severely

GLVDGYDQWDJHGVRFLDOO\YRFDWLRQDOO\HFRQRPLFDOO\DQGHGXFDWLRQDOO\´ $'$6HF D   

1990). The ADA took the same wording as Section 504 and expanded the prohibition of discrimination against people with disabilities to the private sector as well (National Council on

Disability, 2010). Unique to the ADA was that it was a civil rights law with financial implications, and it applied to the private and public sectors in society (National Council on

Disability, 2010).

The definition of disability was worded vaguely in the ADA due to the variations of types of disabilities (Ramey, 2007). The courts further narrowed the definition of disability through their rulings (Zirkel, 2009a). Two Supreme Court cases, Sutton v. United Airlines, Inc. (1999) and Toyota Motor Manufacturing v. Williams (2002), limited the qualifications of eligibility under Section 504 and ADA ³E\GHILQLQJDPDMRUOLIHDFWLYLW\DVRQO\DQDFWLYLW\RIFHQWUDO

LPSRUWDQFHWRGDLO\OLYLQJ´ =LUNHODS); which was not the intent of the ADA (Zirkel,

2009a). 7KHPHVVDJHEHLQJVHQWWRWKHVFKRROGLVWULFWVWKURXJKWKHFRXUWVZDV³to avoid the loose use of 504 Plans as consolation prizes for individualized education programs´ =LUNHODS

In September 2008, President George W. Bush passed the American with Disabilities Act

Amendment Act (ADAAA) changing WKHMXGLFLDOLQWHUSUHWDWLRQRIWKHWHUPµLQGLYLGXDOZLWK disability¶ The ADAAA broadened WKHGHILQLWLRQRIµLQGLYLGXDOZLWKGLVDELOLW\¶XQGHU Section

504 and ADA, thus discarding the Sutton and Toyota court cases (Zirkel, 2009a; Smith & Bales,

2010). Additionally, ADAAA is coded as legislation and not as a regulation, further strengthening Section 504 and the ADA (Zirkel, 2009a). Table 4 provides a comparison of ADA

(1990) and ADAAA (2008). The Act did not set out to help the disabled, EXWUDWKHU³UHIOHFWHG and sought to implement a fundamental redefinition of what disability is, of what it means to be disabled in American society´ /RQJPRUH& Umansky, 2001, p. 10). As a result of the ADAAA, it became easier to establish someone as disabled (Federal Register, 2011, and ADAAA, 2008).

Language, resources, enforcement, and enactment of the laws mitigated the impact of the legal gains this triumvirate of laws established for those with disabilities. Closer consideration of each act reflects vestiges of the medical model and corresponding values that contribute to

³WKHORQJVWDQGLQJKLVWRU\RIVHJUHJDWLRQDQGLVRODWLRQ´ 5DPH\S people with disabilities have experienced, particularly as those attitudes manifested in schools.

Table 4 Comparison of ADA 2001 and ADAAA 2008

Americans with Disabilities Act 2001* Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act 2008** Criterion ³substantially limit major life activities such as seeing, ³DSK\VLFDORUPHQWDOLPSDLUPHQWWKDWVXEVWDQWLDOO\OLPLWVRQHRUPRUH 1 hearing, speaking, walking, breathing, performing manual major life activitiHVRIVXFKLQGLYLGXDO´ WDVNVOHDUQLQJFDULQJIRURQHVHOIDQGZRUNLQJ´ Example: ³$QLQGLYLGXDOZLWKHSLOHSV\SDUDO\VLV+,9 Example³PDMRUOLIHDFWLYLWLHVLQFOXGHEXWDUHQRWOLPLWHd to, caring for infection, AIDS, a substantial hearing or visual oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, impairment, mental retardation, or a specific learning walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, GLVDELOLW\´ reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working.´

Criterion ³LQGLYLGXDOVZLWKDUHFRUGRIDGLVDELOLW\´ ³DUHFRUGRIVXFKDQLPSDLUPHQW´ 2 Example: an individual who recovered from a major Example: ³DPDMRUOLIHDFWLYLW\DOVRLQFOXGHVWKHRSHUDWLRQRIDPDMRU LOOQHVVVXFKDV³FDQFHURUDPHQWDOLOOQHVV´ bodily function, including but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions

Criterion ³LQGLYLGXDOVZKRDUHUHJDUGHGDVKDYLQJDVXEVWDQWLDOO\ ³EHLQJUHJDUGHGDVKDYLQJVXFKDQLPSDLUPHQW´ 3 limiting impairment, even though they may not have such DQLPSDLUPHQW´ Example: ³VHYHUHIDFLDOGLVILJXUHPHQW´ Example: ³LIWKHLQGLYLGXDOHVWDEOLVKHVWKDWKHRUVKHKDVEHHQVXEMHFWHG to an action prohibited under this chapter because an actual or perceived physical or mental impairment whether or not the impairment limits or is perceived to limit a major life activity *http://www.ada.gov/q%26aeng02.htm): **(http://www.ada.gov/pubs/adastatute08.htm#12101note

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act: Background and Purpose

Section 504 provided the first civil rights protections for people with disabilities by recognizing them as a minority group (Ramey, 2007). As such, the act represented a shift in how the law viewed people with disabilities (Ramey, 2007). Previous to the passing of Section 504, people were diagnosed as disabled according to medical categories and disabilities were lumped into one medical category (Ramey, 2007). The passing of Section 504 allowed disabilities to be labeled individually which acknowledged that people with disabilities had different needs

(Ramey, 2007). Indeed, at the time the Act was passed, there were many Americans who still believed that a disability was an individual, not a societal issue (Ramey, 2007).

Students with disabilities were assured through Section 504 that they would not be discriminated in education programs receiving federal financial assistance (34 C.F.R. § 104.4

D 6HFWLRQUHTXLUHGµUHDVRQDEOHDFFRPPRGDWLRQV¶WREHPDGHLQDOOSXEOLFSlaces, so long

DVWKHDFFRPPRGDWLRQVGLGQRWFDXVHµXQGXHKDUGVKLS¶RQWKHHQWLW\PDNLQJWKHDFFRPPRGDWLRQ

(Switzer, 2003). While Section 504 applied to employees in the public sector, it also applied to students in the K-12 setting (Zirkel, 2009c).

SecWLRQH[SUHVVO\VWDWHGWKDWVWXGHQWVZLWKGLVDELOLWLHVZHUHWREHHGXFDWHGµDV

DGHTXDWHO\¶DVWKHLUQRQGLVDEOHGSHHUV &)5†-36). As a result, students who qualified as disabled under Section 504 were eligible to receive any necessary educational accommodations. Section 504 was, in large part, the reason students with disabilities were admitted into mainstream classes as individuals with recognized civil rights (Smith & Bales,

2010). However, after the inception of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act in 1973, school districts did not establish policies to implement Section 504 legislation because of the lack of funding of the legislation (Switzer, 2003). As a result, the policy advances did not create wide-

36 sweeping changes as intended by Congress and the people with disabilities who fought, as a unified group, for their civil rights.

Advances of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act

Section 504 had particular implications for schools. To be eligible to receive Section 504 accommodations in schools, students needed to have a mental or physical disability that substantially limited a major life activity (Smith, 2001). For a school to meet the needs of a student with a 504 plan, the school based their decision usLQJ³FRPPRQVHQVHDQGWUHDWLQJ

LQGLYLGXDOVZLWKGLVDELOLWLHVIDLUO\´ 6PLWKS 6FKRROSHUVRQQHOZHUHJLYHQOLFHQVHWR determine if the student met the criteria necessary to receive Section 504 services (Smith, 2001).

Students who did not qualify as a child with a disability under IDEA were able to find assistance if they had a disability as defined by the Section 504 and the ADA (Smith, 2001). Section 504

IRFXVHGRQWKHFLYLOULJKWVRILQGLYLGXDOVZLWKGLVDELOLWLHVDQG³&RQJUHVVDUWLFXODWHGEroader

SURWHFWLRQXQGHUWKHVHODZVJRLQJEH\RQGHGXFDWLRQDOFRQWH[WV´ 5DPH\S 

6WXGHQWVZHUHSURYLGHGD³SODQ´WRDFFRPPRGDWHDQGSURYLGHPRGLILFDWLRQVIRUWKH

VWXGHQW¶VHGXFDWLRQDOQHHGV 6PLWK %DOHV 

7KHVHVHUYLFHVFDOOHGµUHDVRQDEOHDFFRPPRGDWLRQV¶ZHUHSURYLGHGWRSHRSOHZLWK disabilities under Section 504. Reasonable accommodations gave students with disabilities interpreters, extended time on tests, and assistive learning and communication technologies

(National Council on Disability, 2004). The definition of disability under Section 504 and ADA was broader than the definition of disability under IDEA (Smith, 2001; Smith & Bales, 2010).

To this day, students who are not found eligible for services under IDEA receive services under

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Ramey, 2007; Smith, 2001).

Shortcomings of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act

Section 504 was designed to provide students with disabilities an equal educational opportunity. While Section 504 legislated opportunities for people with disabilities simultaneously paving the way for the creation of the ADA, it did not provide funding (Smith &

Bales, 2010). And it was first signed into law, school personnel did not address the underlying issues of equality that plagued students with disabilities at that time (Smith, 2001). Presently,

SDUHQWVDQGVFKRRODGYRFDWHVQRORQJHUDOORZVFKRROVWRLJQRUHWKHLUVWXGHQWV¶ULJKWVXQGHU

Section 504 (Smith, 2001). That being said, more students have been found eligible for services under Section 504 and schools have been forced to learn about the legal requirements and services required to serve the students (Ramey, 2010; Smith, 2001). However, educators were

LQLWLDOO\³ZLWKRXWWKHJXLGDQFHRUUHVRXUFHVWRDGHTXDWHOy provide services in compliance with all

RIWKHVHODZV´ 6PLWK %DOHVS 

The Americans with Disabilities Act: Background and Purpose

The purpose of the ADA was to provide Americans with disabilities equal opportunity and access to mainstream society as well as to end discrimination against the disabled

(Longmore & Umansky, 2001; EEOC/DOJ, 1992). The ADA strengthened the Rehabilitation

Act by requiring private businesses, not just federally funded entities, to make the same physical changes to their buildings to accommodate people with disabilities (Switzer, 2003). The ADA demanded that public and non-religious private schools, businesses, and public places provide environmental modifications such as wheelchair ramps, increased door sizes, elevators in buildings, and telecommunication devices (TTY/TDD) to accommodate individuals with disabilities (Laffe, 2011). Both the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act are civil right statutes, and the ADA defined an individual with a disability exactly the same as Section 504

(Zirkel, 2009b). This definition of an individual with a disability is less restrictive than the definition used in IDEA which has a list of impairments that qualify a student for special education (Zirkel, 2009, March.) On January 1, 2009, the ADAAA was enacted and the new expanded definition changed considerably the interpretative standards for the Section 504 definition of disability for students (Zirkel, 2009b). As a result of this broadened definition, more students became eligible to receive a 504 plan and general education teachers and

DGPLQLVWUDWRUVZHUHQRZIXUWKHUUHVSRQVLEOHIRUVHUYLQJJHQHUDOHGXFDWLRQVWXGHQWV¶ accommodations (Zirkel, 2009b). Furthermore, education teams had to decide the most appropriate avHQXHIRUPHHWLQJVWXGHQWV¶HGXFDWLRQDOQHHGVVKRXOGDVWXGHQWEHIRXQGHOLJLEOH

XQGHUWKH$'$$$¶VGHILQLWLRQRIGLVDELOLW\DQGUHFHLYHDSODQRUVKRXOGWKHVWXGHQWEH

SURYLGHGDQ,(3LIWKHVWXGHQW¶VQHHGVPHWWKH,'($GHILQLWLRQRIGLVDELOLW\ =LUNHl, 2009b).

Educational Advances of A D A

&RQJUHVVRYHUZKHOPLQJO\SDVVHGWKH$'$WRSURYLGHDFFHVVIRUGLVDEOHGSHRSOH³WR ensure the right of Americans with disabilities to move from the margins of society into the

PDLQVWUHDP´ /RQJPRUH 8PDQVN\S). In doing so, Congress recognized that people

ZLWKGLVDELOLWLHVZHUHUHVWULFWHGLQVRFLHWDOSDUWLFLSDWLRQ³EHFDXVHRISUHMXGLFHVDQWLTXDWHG

DWWLWXGHVRUWKHIDLOXUHWRUHPRYHVRFLHWDODQGLQVWLWXWLRQDOEDUULHUV´ 86(TXDO2SSRUWXQLW\

Commission, Section 2, (2)). Allowing students with disabilities to physically enter the school building led to social access for all students (Laffe, 2001). Indeed, students with a variety of abilities are sitting side by side in classrooms today (Smith & Bales, 2010). One might speculate that the changes wrought by ADA contributed to students becoming more sensitive and understanding to the needs of people with disabilities as they learned together (Lafee, 2011).

However, this was not always the case, necessarily.

TKHSDVVLQJRIWKH$'$$$LQ³ZDVLQWHQGHGWRµUHVWRUHWKHLQWHQWDQGSURWHFWLRQV¶

RIWKH$'$DIWHUWKH$'$¶VUHDFKKDGEHHQOLPLWHGE\FHUWDLQ6XSUHPH&RXUWGHFLVLRQV´

(National Council on Disability, 2013, p. 28). The new standards under the ADAAA expanded

WKHOLVWRI³PDMRUOLIHDFWLYLWLHV´WRLQFOXGH³FRQFHQWUDWLQJUHDGLQJDQGWKLQNLQJ´DQGLQFOXGHG

³YDULRXVERGLO\IXQFWLRQVLQFOXGLQJWKRVHRIWKHGLJHVWLYHERZHOEODGGHUDQGHQGRFULQH

V\VWHPV´ =LUNHODS $VIRUWKH³VXEVWDQWLDOO\´OLPLWLQJFULWHULDDVWXGHQW¶V disability must now be reviewed without mitigating measures (Smith & Bales, 2010). These measures include auxiliary aids, medications, learned behavior, and health devices, such as hearing aids (Zirkel, 2009a, 2009b).

As a result of the new definition under ADAAA the court system currently focuses on the actions of the school (Smith & Bales, 2010). Courts look at the schools and decide if the school has made reasonable accommodations or discriminated against the student dXHWRWKHVWXGHQW¶V diagnosed disability (Smith & Bales, 2010). Additionally, the courts do not compare the

VWXGHQW¶VDFKLHYHPHQWWRDQDYHUDJHVWXGHQW¶VOHYHORISHUIRUPDQFHQRUGRHVWKHFRXUWORRNDW

WKHVWXGHQW¶V³RZQPLWLJDWLQJPHDVXUHV´ 6PLWK %DOes, 2010, p. 390). Because of the

ADAAA, the focus is now on the school and whether the school made an appropriate accommodation for a student with a disability as defined by ADAAA (Smith & Bales, 2010).

Educational Shortcomings of the A D A

Legislation and policy did not provide funding to make the requisite environmental modifications as set forth by the ADA, nor did they come with fiduciary consequences for organizations failing to comply (National Council on Disability, 2010). Schools have no exceptions to this legislation. When constructing new schools, school districts have been building ADA-compliant schools (Laffe, 2011). However, school districts with older buildings

40 have found it financially difficult to make classrooms, buses, bathrooms, hallways, and playgrounds ADA-compliant (Laffe, 2011; Ramey, 2007).

The ADA does not provide a clear model of who is disabled and what treatment that person with a disability should receive (Scotch, 2009). To provide accommodations to a person

ZLWKGLVDELOLWLHVWKHODZUHTXLUHVWKHIRFXVWREHRQWKDWSHUVRQ¶VLPSDLUPHQWDQGWKHQHHGVRI

WKDWSHUVRQWRIXQFWLRQLQWKHHQYLURQPHQW 6FRWFK 3HRSOH¶VGLVDELOLWLHVYDU\IURPSHUVRQ to person as do their individual needs which leads to issues in the interpretation and implementation of the law (Scotch, 2009). Similarly, when people with disabilities look for employment or go to court for equal rights, the person with disabilities must first prove s/he is disabled, the requested accommodations are reasonable, and the accommodations would not be a

ILQDQFLDOEXUGHQRQWKHLQVWLWXWLRQ 2¶%ULHQ 6LPLODUO\WRREWDLQDFFRPPRGDWLRQVDW schools, students with disabilities have been compared to normal students to measure the expected achievement level of students with disabilities (Smith & Bales, 2010). While people with disabilities have gained many rights and increased access to the world because of ADA, there are still people who refuse to make accommodations for the disabled; this upholds the medical model belief that not all people with disabilities should be allowed equal access

Section 504 and the ADA are to be credited for creating an inclusive culture in our schools today. The graduating class of 2013 had always experienced an inclusive setting in their math, physical education, music, and Advanced Placement (AP) classes (Smith & Bales, 2010).

The IDEA is the third tier of legislation to allow this inclusion to occur in schools. ADAAA broadened the definition of disability under ADA; conversely, IDEA continues to have a narrow definition of disability (Smith & Bales, 2010).

The Path from the ESE A and the E A H C A to ID E A and N C L B

The Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution implies that education is a matter of the states. Compulsory attendance for students began as early as 1840 and by 1918 every state created a law to have all children attend school²all children except children with disabilities

(Yell et al., 1998). The fight to have all students with disabilities receive an education equal to their peers took shape in the 1960s. This was due in part to parents and advocates using the court system to force states to admit students with disabilities into school. The Brown v. Board of

Education decision during the Civil Rights Movement and other court cases led to federal legislation mandating students with disabilities, not only be admitted into school, but also receive an equal opportunity to the same education as their peers (Yell et al., 1998).

In the 1970s, parents led the fight through the courts to have their children included in public schools and receive the regular curriculum as their peers (Switzer, 2003; Yell, 1998). Of the students with disabilities who did attend school, 2.5 to 3 million were not served properly

(Katsiyannis, Yell, & Bradley, 2001). The parents claimed children with disabilities were being segregated in the classroom just as minority children were segregated before the Brown vs.

Board of Education decision Fleischer & Zames, 2001; (Switzer, 2003). In the Brown decision, the court declared that opportunities for an equal education for minority students could not be separate and equal (Yell et al., 1998). The litigation brought forth by parents of disabled children challenged the courts to rule on the equal educational opportunities of disabled children

(Yell et al., 1998).

One such case was the Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Children (PARC) v.

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; which, in January of 1971, brought a class action suit to a

IHGHUDOFRXUW$JURXSRISDUHQWVPDLQWDLQHGWKHLUFKLOGUHQ¶VULJKWVZHUHYLRODWHGXQGHUWKH

Equal Protection of the Laws clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The parents claimed their mentally retarded children did not receive an education that was publicly supported (Yell et al.,

& Fleischer& Zames, 2001).

The next influential court case that occurred soon thereafter in Washington, DC, in 1972 was Mills v. Board of Education. Parents and guardians of seven children with a variety of disabilities brought forth a class action suit representing over 18,000 children who were excluded

Fourteenth Amendment, the suit stated students with disabilities were improperly excluded from school (Yell et al., 1998). The court ruled against the city school board and ruled all children should receive a publicly supported education with the safeguard of due process (National

ODEHOLQJSODFHPHQWDQGH[FOXVLRQ«´DQGLQFOXGHGWKHIROORZLQJVDIHJXDUGV³WKHULJKWWRD hearing with representation, a record, and an impartial hearing officer; the right to appeal; the

ULJKWWRKDYHDFFHVVWRUHFRUGVDQGWKHUHTXLUHPHQWRIZULWWHQQRWLFHDWDOOVWDJHVRIWKHSURFHVV´

(Yell et al., 1998, p. 7). For the next two to three years there were 46 right-to-education cases occurring around the country²all with the same outcomes as PARC and Mills (Yell et al., 1998).

Yet, schools continued to report they could not support students with disabilities due to a lack of funding, inadequate facilities, lack of teacher training, and insufficient instructional materials to

43 educate students with different needs (Yell et al., 1998). There was a need for federal involvement to facilitate the education of students in special education (Yell et al., 1998).

In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Elementary and Secondary

Education Act (ESEA) which was designed to improve the education for lower socio-economic students in America. However, the Act also included funding for states to improve programs educating deaf, blind, and mentally retarded students (Katsiyannis et al., 2001). Every four to five years Congress must either reauthorize funding by amending the law or they must repeal the law due to funding requirements of certain parts of the law (Katsiyannis et al., 2001; Yell et al.,

2006). Due to the PARC and Mills rulings, Congress recognized the need to respond to the demands of parents to educate their children with disabilities and amended ESEA in 1974 by passing the bill called Education of the Handicapped Amendments (EHA) of 1974, P.L. 93-380.

The EHA required states receiving federal funding to provide all students with disabilities a full opportunity to an education (Katsiyannis et al., 2001; National Council on Disability, 2005; Yell,

1998). The EHA eventually became the cornerstone for the Education of All Handicapped

&KLOGUHQ¶V$FW ($+&$ ZKLFKEHFDPHWKHILUVWSLHFHRIOHJLVODWLRQWRSURYLGHVWXGHQWVZLWK

GLVDELOLWLHVDIUHHDSSURSULDWHSXEOLFHGXFDWLRQ .DWVL\DQQLVHWDO3UHVLGHQW¶V

Commission on Excellence in Special Education, 2002; Yell 1998). President Ford signed

EAHCA into law on November 29, 1975. EAHCA provided funding to states once the state submitted a plan explaining the policies and procedures for providing a FAPE to students with disabilities as outlined in EAHCA (Yell, 1998; National Council on Disability, 2005).

Any student who qualified as disabled under EAHCA was provided the right to the

IROORZLQJ³ D QRQGLVFULPLQDWRU\WHVWLQJHYDOXDWLRQDQGSODFHPHQWSURFHGXUHV E EHHGXFDWHG in the least restrictive environment; (c) procedural due process, including parental involvement;

,(3VHWWKHREMHFWLYHVDQGJRDOVIRUWKHVWXGHQW¶VHGXFDWLRQDOSODFHPHQWDQGUHTXLUHG

In 1990, EAHCA was amended and renamed Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

(IDEA). The focus of IDEA was to put the person first; not the disability (Yell, 1998). Hence

WKHZRUGµLQGLYLGXDO¶ZDVLPSOHPHQWHGILUVWDQGWKHZRUGµKDQGLFDSSHG¶ZDVUHSODFHGZLWK child/student/individual with a disability (Yell et al., 1998). Students with traumatic brain injury and autism were added to the list of those who should receive services, and the IEP was expanded to include a transition plan for students with disabilities when children reached the age of 16 (Yell et al., 1998; Yell et al., 2006). Once again, the law was amended and reauthorized

XQGHU3UHVLGHQW&OLQWRQ¶VDGPLQLVWUDWLRQLQ&RQJUHVVQRWHGWKDW,'($KDGEHHQ

1998, p. 11).

7KHPRVWQRWDEOHFKDQJHWRWKH,'($ZDVWKDWVWXGHQW¶VSURJUHVVWRZDUGKLVKHUDQQXDO goals had to be measured and reported accurately, disciplinary procedures were added, mediation procedures were added, and changes to the IEP itself regarding testing requirements, participation in the general education curriculum, and general education teachers involved in the

IEP (Yell, 1998; Yell, et al., 2006). Education of students in America has been state regulated, but control of special education became a federal matter with the passage of EAHCA (Yell et al.,

1998). The federal government became further involved in education with the passage of No

Child Left Behind. IDEA was impacted greatly with the passing of the No Child Left Behind

Act of 2001 (NCLB) and by the recommendations in two different reports by the 3UHVLGHQW¶V

Commission on Excellence in Special Education which were printed in 2001 and 2002 (Yell et al., 2006).

The 3UHVLGHQW¶V&RPPLVVLRQRQ([FHOOHQFHLQ6SHFLDO(GXFDWLRQZDVIRUPHGE\

President George W. Bush to provide a report about the state of special education in America before IDEA was to be reauthorized (Yell et al., 2006). Even with legislation such as ADA and

IDEA, students with disabilities continued to drop out of high school twice as often as general education students and had 50% lower enrollment in post-secondary education as general education students (PUHVLGHQW¶V&RPPLVVLRQRQ([FHOOHQFHLQ6SHFLDOEducation, 2002). This

SRSXODWLRQRIVWXGHQWVZDVFRQVLGHUHGWREH$PHULFD¶VPRVWDW-risk population in our schools.

7KHFRPPLVVLRQWKDWZRUNHGRQWKLVOHJLVODWLRQKHOGWKHEHOLHIWKDW³DFFRXQWDELOLW\IRUUHVXOWV

PDWWHUV´ S 7KHUHSRUWFRQWLQXHGE\stating that special education was too compliance-based;

3UHVLGHQW¶V&RPPLVVLRQ on Excellence in Special Education, 2002). Congress passed NCLB with the intent to provide students with disabilities an opportunity to obtain equal educational outcomes. &RQJUHVVXQGHUVWRRGHGXFDWLRQZDVWKH³VWDUWLQJSRLQWIURPZKLFKDOORWKHUULJKWV

DQGSURWHFWLRQVDUHUHDOL]HGDQGUHLQIRUFHG´ National Council on Disability, 2004 p. 19).

3UHVLGHQW*HRUJH:%XVK¶VVLJQHG1&/%LQWROaw on January 8, 2002. The intent of NCLB was to improve the educational achievement of students in the U.S., and all students were to be proficient in reading and math by the completion of the 2013-2014 school year (National Council on Disability, 2004). All students who were in special education were required to be taught by a

46 highly qualified teacher in a school that was safe and conducive to learning; and, finally, all students would graduate from high school (Yell et al., 2006).

On December 3, 2004, President George W. Bush signed into law the Individuals with

Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) of 2004. The purpose of IDEIA was to improve academic outcomes for students with disabilities (Yell et al., 2006). By amending the

IDEA, Congress stressed the importance that students with disabilities receive a meaningful education and their IEP guaranteed a free, appropriate public education (Yell et al., 2006). This was accomplished by requiring the IEP team to write a statement on how the stXGHQW¶VSURJUHVV toward the annual goals would be measured (Yell et al., 2006).

Due to the accountability systems established in IDEA and NCLB, schools and school districts cannot ignore the education of students with disabilities (National Council on Disability,

2008). Now educators, parents, and community members must acknowledge that students with disabilities can achieve at high levels (National Council on Disability, 2008). Both laws have brought highly qualified teachers into the classroom for students with disabilities and now these students receive the same curricula as their peers (National Council on Disability, 2008). While both laws have made a positive impact on students with disabilities, there are still improvements to be made.

E A H C A/ID E A: Background and Purpose

In 1990 Congress made amendments to the EAHCA and, in the process, changed the name to Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Congress stated in IDEA:

Disability is a natural part of the human experience and in no way diminishes the right of

individuals to participate in or contribute to society. Improving educational results for

children with disabilities is an essential element of our national policy of ensuring

equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-

sufficiency for individuals with disabilities (IDEA, 20 U.S. §1400; Weber, et al., 2010, p.

IDEA (IDEA, 20 U.S. §1400) is codified as Title 20 which provided an explanation as to why the EAHCA was amended even though IDEA KDG³EHHQVXFFHVVIXOLQHQVXULQJFKLOGUHQ with disabilities and the families of such children access to a free appropriate public education

DQGLQLPSURYLQJHGXFDWLRQDOUHVXOWVIRUFKLOGUHQZLWKGLVDELOLWLHV´ ,'($20 U.S. §1400;

Weber et al., 2010, p. 1 %XW\HDUVODWHU&RQJUHVVUHFRJQL]HG³WKDWWKHLPSOHPHQWDWLRQRI this title [20 USCS §§ 1400 et. seq.] has been impeded by low expectations, and an insufficient focus on applying replicable research on proven methods of teaching and learning for children

ZLWKGLVDELOLWLHV´ ,'($20 U.S. §1400; Weber et al., 2010, p. 1). The purpose of IDEA was to have children with disabilities be able to attain education beyond high school, to be able to find employment, and to live a self-sufficient life (IDEA, 20 U.S. §1400; Weber et al., 2010, p. 4).

IDEA recognized students with a disability if they had the followiQJFRQGLWLRQV³PHQWDO

UHWDUGDWLRQKHDULQJLPSDLUPHQWV LQFOXGLQJGHDIQHVV «VSHHFKRUODQJXDJHLPSDLUPHQWV«

YLVXDOLPSDLUPHQWV LQFOXGLQJEOLQGQHVV «VHULRXVHPRWLRQDOGLVWXUEDQFHV«RUWKRSHGLF impairment, autism, traumatic brain injury, other health impairments, or specific learning

GLVDELOLWLHV´ ,'($20 U.S. §1400; Weber et al., 2010, p. 1). To qualify for protection under

,'($WKHLPSDLUPHQWPXVW³FUHDWHDFOHDUDGYHUVHHIIHFWRQWKHFKLOG¶VDFDGHPLFDFKLHYHPHQW´ or the child may qualify by having a specific disease (Smith & Bales, 2010, p. 392). The student with a disability continues to be protected under IDEA no matter the achievement level of the child in school (Smith & Bales, 2010).

Educational Advances of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (ID E A)

IDEA can be largely credited for schools providing an inclusive education (Smith &

Bales, 2010) and for increased access to education for students with disabilities (Katsiyannis et al., 2001; National Council on Disability, 2004 Katsiyannis et al., 2001). By including students with disabilities into the general education classroom, the state assessments scores of students with disabilities have increased and the graduation rates have also increased (National Council on Disability, 2008). Under IDEA, students were guaranteed a free, appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment and provided an IEP. Unlike other legislation, IDEA provided funding to schools to ensure the needs of students with disabilities were met and costs were kept low by placing students in the least restrictive setting (National Council on Disability,

2004). The most powerful component of IDEA is the IEP (National Council on Disability, 2005).

The IEP team included the parent(s), a general education teacher, the student, and other instrumental advocates ensuring appropriate programs and goals are being provided to the student with the disability (National Council on Disability, 2004, 2005). Another layer of protection for students was the monitoring by the Department of Education to ensure every state

ZDVFRPSOLDQWZLWK,'($ 1DWLRQDO&RXQFLORQ'LVDELOLW\ ,'($KDV³IXOILOOHGLWV

SULPDU\JRDORISURYLGLQJDFFHVVIRUVWXGHQWVZLWKGLVDELOLWLHVLQSXEOLFVFKRROVDFURVV$PHULFD´

(National Council on Disability, 2004).

Educational Shortcomings of ID E A

IDEA was a law that protected the individual rights of the students (National Council on

Disability, 2008). In regards to accountability for students, however, IDEA fell short. It was not until NCLB was passed that schools and teachers were held accountable for student learning achievements (National Council on Disability, 2004).

More than 30 years have passed since IDEA was enacted and while the name has changed, the idea of ableism has not changed. This law has allowed school personnel to remove students with disabilities from the mainstream classroom due to decisions made by the schools

UHJDUGLQJVWXGHQWV¶SODFHPHQWV )HUUL &RQQRU 0DQ\SHRSOHDQGHGXFDWRUVEHOLHYHWKDW by placing students with disabilities in the regular education classroom, it slows the pace of the class (Ferri & Connor, 2005). Time, resources, and lack of training are other reasons why teachers and community members are concerned about mainstreaming students with disabilities

(Ferri & Connor, 2005). The school system mirrors the belief systems of society, and society chooses to separate the able from the disabled (Ferri & Connor, 2005).

N C L B: History and Purpose

NCLB was created to assist schools and districts to become successful in educating all students and to improve academic achievement of all students (National Council on Disability,

2008; Yell et al., 2006). It was recognized as a complement to IDEA because NCLB required students with disabilities to participate in state assessments and provided accountability for student outcomes (National Council on Disability, 2004). The intent of NCLB was to close the achievement gap for all students and, by doing so, require schools to provide students with disabilities access to the same curricula as the general education population (National Council on

'LVDELOLW\ 7KHREMHFWLYHRI1&/%ZDVWRFUHDWH³UHIRUPVWRLPSURYH$PHULFD¶V

VSHFLDOHGXFDWLRQV\VWHP´DQGZRXOGFKDQJH³LWIURPDFXOWXUHRIFRPSOLDQFe to a culture of

DFFRXQWDELOLW\IRUUHVXOWV´ 3UHVLGHQW¶V&RPPLVVLRQ on Excellence in Special Education, 2002, p.

Educational Advances of No Child Left Behind (N C L B)

The legislation for NCLB impacted students with disabilities due to the four pillars established by this statute. NCLB was based on the following:

x accountability for results, x emphasis on doing what works based on scientific results, x expanded parental options, and x H[SDQGHGORFDOFRQWURODQGIOH[LELOLW\ 2¶1HLOO%HMRLDQ Reid, 2005; National Council on Disability, 2004, para. 1).

NCLB focused on closing the achievement gap for all students and by doing so required schools to provide students with disabilities access to the same curricula as the general education

SRSXODWLRQ 1DWLRQDO&RXQFLORQ'LVDELOLW\ 0XFKRI1&/%¶VVXFFHVVFDQEHDWWULEXWHGWR providing students with disabilities a more rigorous curriculum, an improved attitude of teachers

WRZDUGVVWXGHQWVZLWKGLVDELOLWLHV¶DELOLWLHVWRVXFFHHGLQWKe general education classroom, and the increased number of highly qualified special education teachers (National Council on

Disability, 2008). Since NCLB was founded, both graduation rates and certificates of attendance have increased (National Council on Disability, 2008).

In its recommendation to the President and Congress, the National Council on Disability

VXJJHVWHGWKH\µVWD\WKHFRXUVH¶ 1DWLRQDO&RXQFLORQ'LVDELOLW\³&RQFOXVLRQVDQG

5HFRPPHQGDWLRQV´SDUD )URPWHVWVFRUHUHVXOWVDQGLQWerviewing educators, the National

Council on Disability committee understood the changes that were occurring in schools

(National Council on Disability, 2004). NCLB required states to collect data on every student which allowed schools to set up interventions for students who were at-risk of not passing state exams (National Council on Disability, 2004). As a result of NCLB, class sizes have been reduced, students in the lower grades made improvements in math and reading, and parents were

51 able to use the GDWDWRPDNHHGXFDWHGGHFLVLRQVDERXWWKHLUFKLOG¶VHGXFDWLRQ %HMRLDQ 5HLG

 $QRWKHUFKDQJHWKDWRFFXUUHGLQVFKRROV³LQYROYHVFKDQJLQJDWWLWXGHVEHOLHIVDQGYDOXHV

DERXWDOO\RXQJSHRSOHEHLQJDEOHWRDFKLHYHDWKLJKVWDQGDUGV´ 1DWLRQDO&RXQFil on Disability,

³&RQFOXVLRQVDQG5HFRPPHQGDWLRQV´SDUD :KLOHWKHUHZHUHSHRSOHZKREHOLHYHG students with disabilities could not attain this high standard, more educators have seen the evidence from test results that show students with disabilities can achieve at higher levels

(National Council on Disability, 2004). The attitudes of educators began to favor the ability of our disabled students and encourage NCLB to keep academic expectations high (National

Council on Disability, 2004).

Educational Shortcomings of N C L B

While NCLB is based on accountability for results, scientific research in finding what works in the classroom, parental options are expanded, and more local control and flexibility

%HMRLDQ 5HLG2¶1HLOO WKHUHDre still disabled students who are not meeting this ideology of a normal student (Bejoian & Reid, 2005). Bejoian & Reid (2005) contend that

NCLB supports the medical model and the ableist belief because the legislation defines what is considered the educational norm for all students. By showing that disabled students do not meet the norms of the state test scores, disabled students have been further set apart from their peers

DQGWKHLUWHDFKHUV¶HGXFDWLRQDOH[SHFWDWLRQV %HMRLDQ 5HLG 

The dropout rate for students with disabilities increased as a result of high stakes testing

(National Council on Disability, 2008) and disabled students unable to pass end-of-the-year state exams could not graduate with more than a certificate of attendance (Hehir, 2002; National

Council on Disability, 2004). Ashby (2010) states that, just because the curriculum has been brought to the student, it does not mean that the student has been granted the same access or

52 demonstrated their understanding of the material. One size does not fit all in education (Yell et al., 2006). Students learn at different paces, but NCLB forces students to learn at the same pace and in the same way (Bejoian & Reid, 2005). NCLB has been criticized for not allowing alternative methods of PHDVXULQJVWXGHQWV¶XQGHUVWDQGLQJRIPDWHULDOVDQGHOLPLQDWLQJWKH opportunity of using work-EDVHGSURJUDPVWRPHDVXUHDVWXGHQW¶VPDVWHU\RIDVXEMHFW 1DWLRQDO

Council on Disability, 2004). However, data from test results show that schools need to:

x provide students more academic support, x have highly qualified teachers in every classroom, and x have every teacher and administrator believe every student can learn the grade level curriculum (National Council on Disability, 2008). The National Council on 'LVDELOLW\FRQFOXGHV1&/%¶VVXFFHVVGHSHQGVRQ³KRZSHRSOHWUXO\

SHUFHLYHWKHEDUULHUVWRLQFOXVLRQ´EXWDOVRWKHSHUFHSWLRQRISHRSOHWRZDUG³WKHHGXFDWLRQRI

VWXGHQWVZLWKGLVDELOLWLHVFRXOGEHWKHJUHDWHVWEDUULHURI1&/%´ ³$FFRXQWDELOLW\´SDUD.

Closing the Achievement Gap for Students with Disabilities

More than 40 years have passed since Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act was signed into law as the first legislation for people with disabilities. In many ways, policy has been successful at legislating opportunities. Section 504, ADA, IDEA, and NCLB have positively impacted the lives of people with disabilities (National Council on Disability, 1997, 2008, 2010).

Students with disabilities have entered the classroom and are graduating at higher rates, more people with disabilities are facing less discrimination in the work place, access to public and private facilities has been vastly increased, attitudes towards people with disabilities have improved, and people with disabilities have reported an overall improvement in their quality of life (National Council on Disability, 2008).

A history of shortcomings in the process of legislative enactment, support, and enforcement of these laws has resulted in the situation we face in schools today²a consistent achievement gap between students with disabilities and their abled peers (National Council on

Disability, 2012). Legally giving students with disabilities the right to a free, appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment does QRWJXDUDQWHHWKH³FRPSOLDQFHPRQLWRULQJ

DQGHQIRUFHPHQWRIWKHVHODZV´ National Council on Disability, 2005, p.19). In other words,

Congressional legislation intended to provide students an equal education for the purpose of allowing them to live a self-sufficient lifestyle upon graduation does not predict the actuality of the intent. Statistics continue to show, in spite of Section 504 and ADA, the majority of disabled people are not finding an independent and productive lifestyle. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 19.3% of the disabled work force is employed while 69.3% of the non-disabled work force is employed. Further, as of June 2014, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities was 12.9% while the unemployment rate for people without disabilities was 6.1% (U.S.

Department of Labor, 2014). There is still a gap. This same line of thinking holds true for students with disabilities in schools. /HJLVODWLQJWKDWHYHU\FKLOGFDQ³DFKLHYHWRWKHKLJKHVW

VWDQGDUG´DVGHILQHGE\WKHVWDndards, tests, and lock-step district scope and sequence documents that have resulted from NCLB mandates does not guarantee that it will be so for every child (National Council on Disability, 2005).

Laws do not change deeply seeded societal beliefs about the reasons people with disabilities require assistance, or legislate awareness or understanding about the nature of human differences (Scotch, 2009). Attitudes play a role in reality. Research from the American

Sociological Association finds that a studHQW¶VDELOLW\WRPRYHRQWRSRVW-secondary education is

GXHLQSDUWWRVFKRROV¶³FROOHFWLYHO\KHOGH[SHFWDWLRQVIRUVWXGHQWVXFFHVV´ 0XKDPPDG

S $QGZKHQWDNHQDORQJVLGHWKHDVVHUWLRQWKDW³HGXFDWRUV¶SHUVRQDOEHOLHIV\VWHPVPD\EH the most poZHUIXOYDULDEOHVSHUSHWXDWLQJOHDUQLQJJDSVLQRXUSXEOLFVFKRROV\VWHP´

(Muhammad, 2009, p.14), it is easy to question what role educators beliefs about disabilities play in the education process for students with disabilities. Policies are not able to address societal attitudes. As the National Council on Disability (2004) suggests, "attitudinal barriers are

VRPHWLPHVWKHELJJHUGLVDELOLW\WKDQWKHGLVDELOLW\LWVHOI´ ³$FFRXQWDELOLW\´SDUD 

Laws cannot put an end to bigotry. Policy enacted by Congress has led to an improved lifestyle and access to opportunities; however, there is still a need for improvement. We have passed laws to end discrimination and provide each person with equal opportunities. However, even though African Americans, women, the transgendered, and people with disabilities have fought for their civil rights, they continue to face day-to-day challenges as they live their lives.

Disability theorists and disability rights leaders continue to strive to end ableism in this country.

The National Council on Disability recognizes ³SHRSOHZLWKGLVDELOLWLHVFRQWLQXHWRIDFH personal, social, and economic disadvantages and barriers that prevent access to the same

RSSRUWXQLWLHVDV$PHULFDQVZLWKRXWGLVDELOLWLHV´ National Council on Disability, 2011, p.17).

The Reality of Policy in U.S. Education

In this section, I explore themes impacting the research on disability-related education, consider an explanation of how society devalues and diminishes the education of disabled people, and discuss how to rid society of its ableist attitude toward people with disabilities. The goal of disability studies is to provide ³a vehicle to examine social attitudes, beliefs, and assumptions about disability´ Ferguson & Nusbaum, 2012, p. 76) and promote understanding of ³disability

DVDVRFLDODQGSROLWLFDOFDWHJRU\YHUVXVVRPHWKLQJWRGLDJQRVHLGHQWLI\DQGODEHOLQGLYLGXDOV´

(p. 76). The foundational paradigm of special education is positivism; which disability scholars

55 oppose. Disability scholars believe the positivistic approach of special education has led to the

VXSSRUWRIWKHPHGLFDOPRGHORIGLVDELOLW\E\VWDWLQJWKDWGLVDELOLWLHVDUHSULPDULO\D³ELR-

SK\VLFDOSKHQRPHQRQFRQVLVWLQJRIDGHILFLWFRQGLWLRQZLWKLQDQLQGLYLGXDO´ Connor, Peters,

Gabel, & Owen. (2012), 2012, para. 1).

The Disability Rights Movement (DRM) laid the groundwork for the passage of legislation to provide people with disabilities equal educational opportunities and outcomes in

America. The first piece of legislation to allow students with disabilities equal access into school was signed 40 years ago. While students with disabilities have been integrated into the school system, the struggle for equality and for opportunities for the disabled continues in our society and schools today (Rauscher & McClintock, 1997). And while Section 504 and ADA opened the doors to an education for students with disabilities, it was IDEA and NCLB that set the equality of academic expectations and outcomes for disabled students and holding teachers accountable for the educational outcomes of students with disabilities (Vaughn, 2008). Both

IDEA and NCLB are credited with allowing students with disabilities access to the general education curriculum. In addition, IDEA recognized the importance of the parent as an essential

UROHLQVWXGHQW¶VHGXFDWLRQDQGUHTXLUHGDSDUHQWWREHSDUWRIWKHHGXFDWLRQDOWHDPDORQJZLWK their special education student (National Council on Disability, 2008). IDEA was signed into law before NCLB, but NCLB has been given credit for forcing states to comply with IDEA

(National Council on Disability, 2008). Though students with disabilities end-of-year state assessment scores have increased, data does not attribute these increases to IDEA and NCLB.

Instead, these two pieces of legislation set the achievement standards for schools for educating students with disabilities (National Council on Disability, 2008).

Impact of ID E A and NC L B

Overall, the impact of IDEA and NCLB for students with disabilities has been significant and positive (National Council on Disability, 2008). Since the passing of IDEA and NCLB, there has been a marked improvement in the attitudes of teachers towards students with disabilities, academic expectations for students with disabilities has been raised, all students now have access to a more rigorous curricula, and all teachers of students with disabilities are required to be highly qualified, not only in special education, but, also, in the content area

(National Council on Disability, 2008). Furthermore, reading and math scores for students with disabilities at the elementary school level have increased since the passing of NCLB (National

Council on Disability, 2008). However, students with disabilities at the high school level have not seen the same success (National Council on Disability, 2008). While teachers, parents, school districts, and state officials recognize the positive effects for students with disabilities, the two laws still have shortcomings; which, in turn, affect achievement of students with disabilities in the classroom (National Council on Disability, 2008). To ensure students with disabilities are able to attain higher standards teachers recognize more supports need to be put into place). This is especially true now that students must pass end of the year exams to graduate (National

Council on Disability, 2008). As a result there is too much emphasis on results of assessments and not enough attention on skills students need (National Council on Disability, 2008)

IDEA is noted as being the civil rights law for students with disabilities while NCLB is the law that makes people adhere to the law (National Council on Disability, 2008). IDEA collects data about the student through the IEP and is able to offer instructional strategies to

VXSSRUWWKHVWXGHQW¶VQHHGV National Council on Disability, 2008, p. 17). The two laws have the same goal to raise the academic achievement of students with disabilities. While the two laws

57 bolster and supplement each other, IDEA and NCLB need to become more compatible with each other (National Council on Disability, 2008). A concern among educators is the need for the two laws to use common terms, forms, graduation time frame, and data reporting instruments

(National Council on Disability, 2008). 7KHWZRODZVQHHGWRKDYHD³WZLQIRXQGDWLRQ´RIKLJK expectations for students with disabilities as well as differentiated learning and instruction for teachers and students with disabilities (p.18). Table 5 summarizes the differences between IDEA and NCLB.

Table 5 Comparison of IDEA and NCLB

IDEA NCLB Orientation Process oriented Outcomes oriented Unit of Analysis Individual student System or group of students What is measured? Range of skills Core academic skills Teach according to ability Type of Law Civil Rights Compliance (National Council on Disability, 2008, p. 93)

Impact of ID E A and NC L B on Students with Disabilities

One of the most positive results of the passing of IDEA and NCLB is that students with disabilities are no longer disregarded in the classroom (National Council on Disability, 2008).

Teachers are held accountable for the results of the IEP because the passing of IDEA and NCLB ensures that students with disabilities are receiving the same curricula as students in the general education setting (National Council on Disability, 2008). Prior to the passing of IDEA and

NCLB, teachers taught the curriculum they felt fit and there was no accountability for the

VWXGHQWV¶DFDGHPLFRXWFRPH (National Council on Disability, 2008). Now the general education classrooms are open to students with disabilities (National Council on Disability, 2008). Not

58 only are students with disabilities receiving the same curricula as general education students, but also more and more students with disabilities are sitting in the general education classroom

(National Council on Disability, 2008). As a result teachers, administrators, and community members are able to see the academic abilities of students with disabilities (National Council on

Disability, 2008). Because the curricula are the same, general education teachers and special education teachers collaborate and interact more which National Council on Disability sees as one of the biggest gains for students with disabilities and, for that matter, for all students (2008).

Although there has been a shift to a better understanding of the purpose of special education and why students have IEPs, there is still a negative label that comes with being a special education student (National Council on Disability, 2008). It is the IEP that can separate students from other students in the classroom (National Council on Disability, 2008). There is a vast list of disability categories, and there are educators and community members who just do not understand the categories of disability (National Council on Disability, 2008). Plus, there are educators who believe that accommodations written on the IEP, or provided for in the classroom, give students with disabilities special treatment over general education students (National

Council on Disability, 2008).

Regarding the end of the year assessments required by NCLB, teachers of special education believe the focus is on the test and that students with disabilities are not receiving life skills to help them advance into the next stage of their lives (National Council on Disability,

2008). According to the National Council on Disability, there is a perception that some students with disabilities focus too much on passing a math and language arts end of the year exam and

QRWRQ³RFFXSDWLRQDODQGWHFKQLFDOVNLOOVHPSOoyability skills, behavioral and attitudinal skills,

DQGSDUWLFXODUO\IRUVWXGHQWVZLWKGLVDELOLWLHVOLIHVNLOOV´ 2008, p. 80). This leads to the concern

59 of graduation requirements for students with disabilities. IDEA allows for students with disabilities to focus on the goals set on the IEP and allows flexibility of time to graduate

(National Council on Disability, 2008). Students with disabilities are allowed to work on their

IEP goals until they reach the age of 22 (IDEA, 20 U.S. §1400). On the other hand, NCLB measures the success of students based on time (National Council on Disability, 2008). The expectation of NCLB is to have every student complete high school in the traditional four years

(National Council on Disability, 2008). States across the country have developed tiered requirement graduation diplomas; which indicates that students with disabilities are not being challenged in school the way general education students are (National Council on Disability,

Impact of ID E A and NC L B on Teachers

NCLB requires that every special education teacher be highly qualified (National Council on Disability, 2008). Teachers are required to be certified both in special education and the content area in which they teach. The purpose of this requirement is to have well trained teachers who have the pedagogical knowledge as well as the content knowledge to support students with disabilities. There is an argument against requiring special education teachers to be highly qualified in the content area (National Council on Disability, 2008). The belief is that a special education teacher should break down the content for the students with disabilities and work with the general education team teacher who is the expert in the content knowledge

(National Council on Disability, 2008). Because teachers need to meet the highly qualified standard requirement, there has been a loss of special education teachers in the field of education and the predictions are that it will only get worse (National Council on Disability, 2008).

Schools that are in lower socio-economic neighborhoods are being especially hard hit by this

60 requirement due, in part, WRKLJKHUHGXFDWLRQ¶VODFNRISUHSDUDWLRQIRUWHDFKHUVHQWHULQJWKHILHOG

(National Council on Disability, 2008). The preparation of teachers has not kept up with the changing demands on teachers (National Council on Disability, 2008). All teachers, special education and general education, need to be trained in instructional strategies for students who are performing below expectations (National Council on Disability, 2008).

Impact of ID E A and NC L B on Accountability and Testing

In the study completed by National Council on Disability (2008), teachers stated they did not believe students with disabilities would meet the standards set forth by NCLB. Teachers and administrators reported that NCLB made the school day about testing and prepping students for tests (NCD, 2008). Teachers believed their creativity in the classroom was being thwarted due to the focus on the test (NCD, 2008). In addition, teachers felt they were not able to focus on the life skills that are essential for students with disabilities (NCD, 2008). On the other hand, it was the belief of the parents, state officials, and educational DGYRFDWHVWKDW³KROGLQJKLJK expectations for lower achieving students was critical and that the law would help change

FXOWXUDOEHOLHIV´ National Council on Disability, 2008, p. 22). In the end, schools have been held accountable for the academic progress of students with disabilities and NCLB has shone a light on the fact that students with disabilities can be academically successful (National Council on Disability, 2008).

Due to the implementation of IDEA and NCLB, parents have become partners in their

FKLOG¶VHGXFDWLRQThrough the passing of IDEA and NCLB, parents have become better

LQIRUPHGDERXWWKHLUFKLOG¶VHGXFDWLRQ (National Council on Disability, 2008). The issue parents have with the end-of-the-year assessment is that the assessments do not provide information about their individual child (National Council on Disability, 2008). While parents and educators

61 do agree that testing information should be disaggregated by subgroups, the breakdown of scores does not allow parents to compare WKHLUFKLOG¶VDELOLW\WRRWKHUV; nor can they compare how one school is doing in comparison to another school (National Council on Disability, 2008). The study by the National Council on Disability shows that parents are confused by the data from the end-of-the-year exams because the assessments do not show if their child is making academic progress; nor does it provide instructional strategies to assist the student to make academic progress (National Council on Disability, 2008). The resources the U.S. Department of

Education provides parents are limited in assisting parents to gain a better and clearer

XQGHUVWDQGLQJRIWKH³FODVVURRPFXUULFXOXPDQGLQVWUXFWLRQ´ National Council on Disability,

2008, p. 91).

Devalued and Diminished Expectations of Students with Disabilities

Diminished expectations JUHDWO\LPSDFWWKHHGXFDWLRQRIVWXGHQWVZLWKGLVDELOLWLHV¶ +HKLU

2005). There have been positive steps towards providing an equal education for all students; however, student performance can be limited to accessing the academic content by teachers who maintain an ableist assumption and do not provide appropriate support and/or engagement in the material (Ashby, 2010). The policy analysis that has been presented to this point suggests that there is a history of legislation seeking WR³WRHPSRZHULQGLYLGXDOVZLWKGLVDELOLWLHVWRPD[LPL]H employment, economic self-VXIILFLHQF\LQGHSHQGHQFHDQGLQFOXVLRQDQGLQWHJUDWLRQLQWRVRFLHW\´

(Rehabilitation Act of 1973, P. L. 93-112). However, without an equal education, the chances of students with disabilities leading an independent life are lessened with each passing year.

Students come to schools with a variety of issues; some of these issues are visible while others are invisible. However, students with communLFDWLRQRUSK\VLFDOGLVDELOLWLHV³IDFHVRFLDOVWLJPD

UHMHFWLRQDQGGLPLQLVKHGRSSRUWXQLWLHV´ $VKE\S 7KHGHILQLWLRQRIµQRUPDO¶LV

62 socially constructed and it inhibits students with disabilities from receiving appropriate access and opportunities in school (Ashby, 2010).

For students with disabilities to truly receive an equitable education, educators must first recognize that ableism does exist in schools (Hehir, 2005). Schools have opened the doors and allowed equal access for every student, but now schools must recognize how expected norms exclude certain students (Ashby, 2010). Inclusive classrooms began to be formed around the country in the 1970s and into the 1980s. Students with disabilities were admitted into the mainstream classrooms for purely social reasons; to the general public this was acceptable

(Ashby, 2010). Due to the changes in legislation in the 1990s, students with disabilities were placed in the mainstream classroom for academic reasons (Ashby, 2010). Parents and teachers objected to having students with disabilities placed into the general education classroom (Ferri &

Connor, 2005). Teachers felt unprepared to teach students with disabilities because of a lack of training in college preparation programs, and they thought students with disabilities would start

UHFHLYLQJOHVVVHUYLFHVUHVXOWLQJLQµFKDRV¶LQWKHFODVVURRP )HUUL &RQQRUS 

Editorial pieces from 1987 to 2001 showed WKHSHUFHSWLRQRIVWXGHQWVZLWKGLVDELOLWLHVZDV³so radically different from non-disabled children that their needs either could not or would not be

DGGUHVVHGLQJHQHUDOHGXFDWLRQFODVVHV´ )HUUL &RQQRUS . Similar to societal beliefs about having people with disabilities join the mainstream of society, schools segregated

VWXGHQWVZLWKGLVDELOLWLHVWRNHHSWKHP³RXWRIWKHVFKRROVDQGFODVVHVRIWKRVHZLWKPRUHSRZHU´

Schools are institutions that support WKHDSSHDUDQFHRIµQRUPDOF\¶ (Ashby, 2010). In relation to education Storey (2007) summarizes abOHLVPDV³WKHEHOLHIWKDWLWLVEHWWHURUVXSHULRU not to have a disability than to have one and that is better to do things in the way that

QRQGLVDEOHGSHRSOHGR´ S 6FKRROVSXWRQDQDSSHDUDQFHWKDWVSHFLDOHGXFDWLRQFODVVURRPV are equal; however, they are not (Ferri & Connor, 2005; Storey, 2007). Students are reviewed case-by-FDVHDERXWWKHLUGLVDELOLWLHVDQGWKHIRFXVRIWKHVWXGHQW¶VVFKRROGD\LVRQFKDQJLQJWKDW disability to become more like their peers (Hehir, 2002). Students with disabilities do not

UHFHLYHDQHTXLWDEOHHGXFDWLRQGXHWR³,QRUGLQDWHVHJUHJDWLRQORZH[SHFWDWLRQVIDLOXUHWR

SURYLGHDFFRPPRGDWLRQVDQGPLVJXLGHGDWWHPSWVWRµFXUH¶GLVDELOLWLHV´ +HKLUS 

To have students with disabilities receive an equal education schools need to acknowledge that ableism does exist in schools (Hehir, 2005). This means schools need to accept and acknowledge that every child does not communicate in the same way and schoolwork can look different than their peers (Ashby, 2010). The goal of educators should be to end this negative stereotype of people with disabilities and to steer them towards a road of self-advocacy, empowerment, and equality (Hehir, 2005).

Ending the Ableist Attitude in Schools

To begin teaching about ableism one must start at the root of ableism²fear (Rauscher &

McClintock, 1997). Legislation required more interaction among the disabled and the non- disabled, but now a closer look needs to be taken at the attitudes of people inside the school. As a student with 'RZQVV\QGURPHVKDUHGZLWK+HKLU  ³7KHUHDUHDOONLQGRINLGVDWP\

VFKRRO%ODFNNLGV3XHUWR5LFDQNLGVJD\DQGOHVELDQNLGV0HJDQXVHVDZKHHOFKDLU0DWW¶V

GHDIDQG,KDYH'RZQ¶VV\QGURPH,W¶VDOOGLYHUVLW\´ S 7KHRYHUDOOJRDOLVWR deal with disability with a frank and honest approach (Hehir, 2005). Students who are deaf should not be

FDOOHGµKHDULQJFKDOOHQJHG¶DQGVWXGHQWVZKRKDYHDQLQWHOOHFWXDOGLVDELOLW\VKRXOGQRWEH

GHHPHGDVµVSHFLDO¶ +HKLUS 

Ableist assumptions can occur in the school setting because of some educatorV¶belief in the negative stereotypes of students with disabilities (Storey, 2007). The impact of this ableist assumption on students with disabilities is great and, as a result, there is a lack of appropriate educational support for students with disabilities; the student is not being fully included in the classroom (Ashby, 2010; Hehir, 2002) even though laws have been passed to guarantee full inclusion. From the viewpoint of the ableist, WKH³KLGGHQFXUULFXOXPRIHGXFDWLRQ´ $VKE\ p.350) is to make the student with the disability as normal to an able-bodied student as possible

(Ashby, 2010; Hehir, 2002). By educating teachers and students in schools today, the path to ending ableism in society is started (Hehir, 2002).

6FKRROVKDYHWKHRSSRUWXQLW\WRHQGDEOHLVPE\KDYLQJD³*UHDWHURSHQQHVVDERXW

GLIIHUHQFHDQGGLYHUVLW\´DQGXQGHUVWDQGLQJWKDW³VWXGHQWVZLWKGLIIHULQJQHHGVDQGDELOLWLHVFDQ and should learn from and with each RWKHU´ $VKE\S (GXFDWRUVPXVWXQGHUVWDQG

WKDWWKHUHDVRQLQJIRUSDVVLQJOHJLVODWLRQVXFKDV,'($DQG1&/%ZDVWR³FKDQJHPLQGVYDOXHV and cultures so that we believe all students can achieve to the highest standards and that we adults are FRPPLWWHGWRKHOSLQJWKHPPHHWWKRVHVWDQGDUGVLQHYHU\ZD\ZHNQRZKRZ´

1DWLRQDO&RXQFLORQ'LVDELOLW\³,QWURGXFWLRQ´SDUD $GPLQLVWUDWRUVLQVFKRROVDOVR need to develop the instructional capacity of teachers and to set the tone throughout the school for high academic expectations for every student in the school (National Council on Disability,

2004, 2008).

Educating Students about Disabilities

To teach students about ableism it is best to start with a group that is mixed²abled and disabled, a variety of cultures, and individuals who know people with disabilities (Rauscher &

McClintock, 1997). All participants need to be willing to share their feelings about disability,

65 their fears of becoming disabled, and suppress their anger toward disabled people due to the reminder that they too may become disabled (Rauscher & McClintock, 1997). The goal is to have people recognize their personal fragility and strength; this will lessen the fear when interacting with people with disabilities (p. 202). Allowing the able-bodied participants the ability to interact with the disabled participants will also lessen their apprehension and will lead to greater acceptance of the disabled (Rauscher & McClintock, 1997).

Schools are missing the opportunity to provide disability diversity lessons for their students and community (Ashby, 2010). Disability advocates support the idea that disability studies should be incorporated into science, literature, and history classes (Taylor, 2004).

Students with disabilities need to see role models in their school and this can be achieved by having staff members with disabilities, such as teachers and administrators (Shapiro, 1994). It is important to teach students that disability will impact every person directly, or indirectly, at some time in their life and that people with disabilities are mainstreamed into our society (Taylor,

2004). The goal of ADA, IDEA, and NCLB is to have every student become self-sufficient and productive citizens. It is the responsibility of the schools to see that students are educated about ableism and the ability of people with disabilities to ensure an equal outcome for everyone

(Ashby, 2010; Hehir, 2002; Story, 2007). Finally, it is the responsibility of the schools to educate students to understand every citizen in America has equal rights²no one is above

DQRWKHUSHUVRQEHFDXVHRIWKHLUUDFHJHQGHURUDELOLW\,WLVWLPH³WRFKDQJHQHJDWLYHDWWLWXGHV

WKDWUHVXOWLQGLVFULPLQDWLRQSUHMXGLFHDQGVHJUHJDWLRQ´ 6KDSLUR4, p. 13).

The perception of people with disabilities by able-bodied people in society has not changed in spite of legislative and policy mandates (Hehir, 2005; Scotch, 2009). Discrimination

66 against people with disabilities is still commonplace (Ramey, 2007). Disability theorists want to

³raise the consciousness of others to their plight, to have their oppression recognized and brought to an end, and to feel good about themselves, even though people do not feel good about

GLVDELOLW\´ 6LHEHUV08, p. 35). Legislation has been passed with the intent to end discrimination against people with disabilities; however, history has shown through other minority groups that it takes more than laws to change attitudes (Scotch, 2009). Disabled people cannot change or rid themselves of their disability, as ableists would suggest (Siebers, 2008).

Ableism, like racism, sexism, and heterosexism, IRFXVHV³RQWKHSHRSOHZKRDUHGLVFULPLQDWLQJ

DQGGHYDOXLQJRWKHUSHRSOH7KH\DUHWKHRQHVZKRFDQFKDQJH´ &DPSEHOOS21). It is through education of students and teachers that this change can occur. But first, we must listen and learn from people with disabilities.

As described above, the Disability Rights Movement brought about improved lives for people with disabilities and created independent living and economic independence for individuals with disabilities. Policies of laws passed offered equal educational opportunities and outcomes. Because of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the ADA, students with disabilities can now attend school without question and sit in the same classroom as their able peers. Because of IDEA and NCLB, students with disabilities are provided the same curricula, which provide better opportunities to move to higher education and, thus, opportunities for economic independence. However, people with disabilities continue to lag behind educationally compared to their able bodied peers and the unemployment rate remains high. Through interviews and review of educational and medical documents through her elementary school years, I reconstructed the life history of one multi-disabled female to learn if ableism impacts

VWXGHQWVZLWKGLVDELOLWLHV¶HGXFDWLRQDQGLIWKHUHLVDQHHGIRUGLVDELOLW\-oriented education. The

67 next chapter delineates the methodology used to determine whether this student benefitted from the passing of the laws relating to individuals with disabilities and if ableism led to a less successful school career. To do this, the following research questions were addressed:

What can the experiences of a multi-disabled, medically fragile student and her family reveal about the role of ableism in education?

The following question was also addressed:

What can the participants' experiences suggest about the need for disability-oriented education in schools today?

C H APT E R 3 M E T H O D O L O G Y

In Chapter 1, I introduced the problems that people with disabilities face on a daily basis, placed this problem within a historical context, provided the purpose and significance of the study, and outlined the research questions. In Chapter 2, I reviewed the Disability Rights

Movement (DRM) and explained how it has enabled people with disabilities to lead a more independent life. I explained the legislation passed over the past 40 years and how it has led to the possibility of equal educational opportunities and equal educational outcomes for students with disabilities. I also described the impact of ableism on students with disabilities in the school system, what ableism looks like in schools, and steps to end this attitude of lower expectations for students with disabilities. In this chapter, I provide the methodology used in the study. I review the purpose of the study and the research questions. The chapter also includes the research design, the role of the researcher, the subjects as well as data collection and analysis.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to understand the life history of one multi-disabled student from pre-school through her elementary school years to ascertain the following:

x the impact ableism can have on students with multiple disabilities in our education system, x whether there is a need to have disability-oriented education programs in our schools today.

The goal of this study is to provide the perspective of a student with multiple disabilities and her family so teachers and administrators have a better understanding of the capabilities of students with multiple disabilities. With this better understanding, my hope is for students with any type of disability (physical, mental, learning, etc.) to be accepted in school by every

69 individual and to receive educational services they need for academic and social success in school and beyond.

The following research question was addressed in this study:

This study uses qualitative research methodology. This method is used to explore a naturalistic setting to find meaning of a social problem through people sharing the stories of their lives (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000; Connelly & Clandinin, 1990; Creswell, 2007). The study is

DSKHQRPHQRORJLFDOLQTXLU\DERXWRQHIHPDOH¶VH[SHULHQFHVLQHOHPHQWDU\VFKRRODVDPXOWL- disabled student. A phenomenological study takes a concept or a phenomenon, which in this case is ableism, and uses the concept to explore the meaning through the lived experiences of several individuals (Creswell, 2007). I followed the guidelines of narrative inquiry as established by Clandinin and Connelly (2000); this approach allowed me to hear the stories of several people about the common, or shared, experiences regarding this phenomenon to develop a deeper understanding of the experience of students with multiple disabilities in schools

(Creswell, 2007). After collecting the stories from the participants and documents, I interpreted the meaning of the stories and found themes among the data collected about the phenomenon of ableism (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000, Creswell, 2007). In this qualitative study, this analysis

70 relies the life history work (Hatch & Wisniewski, 1995). It also includes the voices of the participants, my reflexivity, a complete description and interpretation of the problem, and calls for action if needed (Creswell, 2007).

Narrative Inquiry

The study of narrative is to learn how people experience the world around them. These experiences are shared through ³VWRULHVOLYHGDQGWROG´ &ODQGLQLQ &RQQHOO\&UHVZHOO

2007). It is through narrative inquiry that we can OHDUQDQGXQGHUVWDQGRWKHUSHRSOH¶V experiences. Narrative inquiry is ideal to learn about people's education experience because of the social circumstances that occur in the classroom between peers, teachers, and the rest of the community inside the school (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000; Connelly & Clandinin, 1990). It is in the classroom that personal and social stories occur for people to share their experiences

(Clandinin & Connelly, 2000). In this case study, I focused on the life experiences of a child with disabilities during her elementary school years to learn how a multi-disabled student interacted with her peers and how she found success in school. Narrative inquiry allowed her voice and her experiences to be heard (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000).

Clandinin and Connelly (1990) state that in narrative research the phenomenon is the story, while the inquiry is the narrative. By sharing the story of a child with disabilities it is my larger purpose to probe the social significance of ableism in our school system and in our society

(Clandinin & Connelly, 2000). While narrative inquiry focuses on the individual and not the social context of the story (Connelly & Clandinin, 1990), it is life history that stresses the social context over the individual story (Hatch & Wisniewski, 1995). It was my responsibility as the researcher to collect the stories and write the narrative of the study participant's experiences

(Connelly & Clandinin, 1990), and as the researcher I tried to be cognizant of personal

71 relationships and personal experiences that have shaped my beliefs about ableism in the school setting (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000).

Life History

Elements of life history were chosen for this study because the method is not a personal story (Hatch & Wisniewski, 1995). Life history is a triangulation of stories from the autobiography of the individual, other people's shared stories of the individual, and the researcher (Hatch & Wisniewski, 1995). This method adds to narrative inquiry because it takes stories frRPWKHLQGLYLGXDO¶VOLIHWRDGGWRDEURDGHUFRQWH[WZKLFKFDQEHSROLWLFDOVRFLDO historical, or personal (Hatch & Wisniewski, 1995). As the researcher, I took the life story of a child with multiple disabilities and analyzed the social, political, and historical contexts of her life. Because the child does not remember or know all of the details of her elementary school years, there was a need to juxtapose her life story with the memories of her mother, her tutor, and me. This analysis of her life takes this study from a life story to a life history study (Hatch &

Wisniewski, 1995). The child's individual life story will add to a larger understanding of ableism in the educational setting (Hatch & Wisniewski, 1995)

Participant Selection

The narrative approach maintains the focus on one or two individuals by using data collected through stories that the participants shared. Next, the researcher compiles the story chronologically (Creswell, 2007). Because I chose to focus on a child from her earliest years, it proved difficult for her to remember times from when she was very young. So, it was necessary to fill in this information by interviewing two other participants: her mother, who was her advocate in every facet of her life; and her tutor who was the person who supported her educationally after school hours and who worked on her vocabulary. Since I, too, participated in

72 the child's early years, both academically and socially, I captured my memories by maintaining a reflective journal.

Confidentiality

All names of individuals and schools were changed to maintain confidentiality, and each participant understood that there might be the possibility that people may be able to identify them from their stories in the final product. For the purpose of this document, the main participant, the young girl with multiple disabilities, I named Karen. Her mother I named Mary and her tutor I named Claire. Each participant interview was recorded and will remain confidential. All interviews will be destroyed after 10 years, all IEPs and schoolwork will be returned to the family. None of the participants were given financial compensation for their time to interview. Each participant was able to end the interview at any time and did not answer any question she did not feel comfortable answering. Each participant who was interviewed signed a consent form that was submitted to and approved by the Virginia Tech's Institutional Review

Board (IRB). Appendices A, B, and C include the consent forms signed by Karen, Mary, and

Claire, respectively.

The Role and Background of the Researcher

Narrative inquiry requires that the researcher delve into the story with the participants.

The researcher and the participants EHFRPH³DVKDUHGQDUUDWLYHFRQVWUXFWLRQDQGUHFonstruction through the inquiry´ (Clandinin & Connelly, 1990, p. 5). As the researcher, I have participated in Karen's story long before this study began. My career in education began in August of 1993 as an instructional assistant (IA) in a deaf first grade classroom at Morningside Elementary

School. My goal was to become a sign language interpreter, but I needed to improve my receptive and expressive signing skills before I could become an interpreter for the deaf. That

73 first year I worked in a first grade classroom with six deaf students and a deaf teacher. I learned the difficulties students with hearing loss face when learning how to read and write and learn math. I also learned the social difficulties they incur. During that school year my conversational signing skills improved dramatically due to being immersed in the language all day. In the evenings and on the weekends I attended interpreting classes to improve my interpreting skills.

The following school year I became a full-time interpreter at the elementary school. I interpreted the elective classes (physical education, music, and art) while substituting for interpreters who were out for the day. This was the year I met Karen who was in the first grade.

On occasion, I would go into her classroom and interpret for her. 7KDWVDPH\HDU,PHW.DUHQ¶V

PRWKHUZKRDVNHGPHWRLQWHUSUHW.DUHQ¶VWXWRULQJVHVVLRQVDIWHUVFKRRO The tutor worked with

Karen and her brother on reading and writing. I gladly accepted the job because I needed the extra experience as well as the money to help ends meet financially.

Once a week after school, I drove Karen to her tutoring session, but first Karen and I stopped RIIDW0F'RQDOG¶VWRJHWKHUDVQDFN'XULQJRXUGULYHVDQGHDWLQJDW0F'RQDOG¶V

Karen and I talked about her friendships, her family, and her school day. I enjoyed our afternoons together and it was during this time I got to know Karen as a person. There were staff members at the school who believed I should not have interpreted for KareQ¶VDIWHU-school activities. No one said it to me directly, but I could feel the disapproval of some of my colleagues. I am not sure if the disapproval was for the sole reason that Karen was struggling in the first grade and they did not believe she should be mainstreamed or if they just thought I should not interpret for her outside of school. I continued interpreting for Karen because I enjoyed working with Karen and her family.

,ZDV.DUHQ¶VLQWHUSUHWHUIRUKHU first, second, and third grade years. With each passing year, I saw Karen gain more and more confidence in her academic and social skills. Karen had a different interpreter during fourth grade while I was the interpreter for three deaf students in the second grade. When Karen entered the fifth grade, I became an American Sign Language teacher at a nearby high school. I continued to stay close to Karen and her family as a friend. I still interpreted for her at church, catechism, and GRFWRU¶VDSSRLQWPHQWV. I remained a teacher for seven years and became an assistant principal at a high school when Karen was in 10th grade. At this time, I continued to interpret for Karen for her tutoring sessions in Latin. My father was her tutor and we met weekly. It was during these high school years that I felt as though Karen did not need me around as much because other people came into her life to interpret for her. While we remained in contact, we just did not see each other as often, but when we did it was like no time had passed between us. Once Karen completed Latin III, I stopped interpreting for her in this capacity. I stopped interpreting altogether because my career took me down other avenues.

In 2011 I began taking classes for my doctorate, during which I began to reflect on how I became a school leader. While I was pursuing my doctorate I was also preparing to become a principal. I used this time to reflect on my own personal beliefs about students, and I discovered that Karen had made a huge impact on my personal and professional life. The early part of my career was being the voice for deaf students and, as I became a teacher, an assistant principal, and finally a principal, I learned that my goal has always been to provide every student a voice.

My goal was to work with students, as I had with Karen, to help them find their own voice²who they were as a person and standing up for their rights as a student and, later, as a person in the

ZRUOG.DUHQKDVWRXFKHGFKDQJHGDQGLPSDFWHGPDQ\SHRSOH¶VOLYHV,WLVP\EHOLHIKHUVWRU\ can have a positive impact on the education of many students with disabilities.

Eventually, Karen and I would like to tell the story of her entire life. Karen is a remarkable young lady who has faced many struggles with a quiet determination and an optimistic outlook. This is the first step in fulfilling my promise to Karen to share her story so others may learn.

Gaining Access and Entry to the Setting

As RQHRI.DUHQ¶VLQWHUSUHWHUVLQand outside of her elementary school since she was in the first grade, I became a close family friend and have remained so. During the interviews,

Karen and I met in her home where she was comfortable. I know Karen loves to tell stories about when she was young and enjoys having friends come over to her house. Before going to her house, I always checked with her to be sure she was feeling well enough and had the time to talk. During each interview I also checked to make sure she was not becoming tired and ended the interview with her having the last word on any thoughts or ideas she wanted to add.

Accessing the Cultural Context

This study, which employs narrative inquiry with elements of life history, focuses on the elementary experiences of a student who had multiple disabilities. The cultural context of this study is the family and the elementary school she attended. Her family included: her father, who worked for a housing firm; her mother, a stay at home mother; an older sister, Michelle; an older brother, Matthew; and a younger brother, Ben. Ben had the same syndrome as Karen has.

When Karen was young she participated in baseball, swimming, and dance. Presently she is a

25-year old woman who majored in graphic arts and is seeking her second degree in business.

All of her siblings also graduated from college. The family continues to be close to one another and enjoys spending time together during get-togethers for family functions.

Data Collection

The quality of narrative inquiry and life history research depends on a collaborative relationship between the participants and the researcher (Connelly & Clandinin, 1990; Hatch &

Wisniewski, 1995). Conducting a narrative life history creates ethical decisions and responsibilities on the researcher's part, but also on the study participants' part (Connelly &

Clandinin, 1990). In this study, I had already formed strong relationships with each participant going back almost 20 years. From a positive perspective, we all formed bonds from our shared experiences, which created a unity of equality, caring for one another, and a lasting connection among us (Connelly & Clandinin, 1990). On the other hand, because of our unique relationship, there were times during this study when I struggled IRUIHDURIKXUWLQJ.DUHQ¶VRUKHUPRWKHU¶V feelings. When she was younger, Karen was the student and I was the interpreter. In the beginning, our relationship was purely professional. It changed over time because of my friendship with her mother and as Karen grew older she began to learn how to advocate for herself, which led to my stepping away from the professional role of an interpreter. Because I

ZDVVRLQYROYHGLQ.DUHQ¶VHOHPHQWDU\VFKRRO\HDUV, I needed to be cognizant of any personal bias and allow Karen to tell her story without interrupting or assuming the stories she would tell

(Connelly & Clandinin, 1990; Hatch & Wisniewski, 1995).

7KHSRLQWRILQWHUYLHZLQJDQRWKHUSHUVRQLVWRJDLQLQVLJKWLQWRWKDWSHUVRQ¶VSHUVSHFWLYH

(Patton, 2002). Three participants were interviewed for this case study - Karen, her mother, and her tutor. By employing the use of conversational open-ended interview format, the participants were able to share their perspectives openly. I used personalized questions to deepen the conversation and build upon previous statements (Patton, 2002). Each interview began with an explanation of the purpose of the study and the procedures for the interview. I also explained

77 that pseudo names would be used in this document for the sake of confidentiality. Written consent from each participant was obtained before any interview occurred.

,QWKHQH[WVHFWLRQ,UHYLHZHDFKGDWDVRXUFHXVHGWRFUHDWHDSULQWSRUWUDLWRI.DUHQ¶VOLIH

(Clandinin & Connelly, 1990). First, I share the types of documents collected for this study.

1H[W,H[SODLQKRZWKHUHIOHFWLYHMRXUQDOZDVXVHGDQGODVWO\,GHVFULEHHDFKSDUWLFLSDQW¶V background to provide the reader with a better understanding of each study participant.

Data Source 1

Documents. I reviewed a number of documents as part of this research such as IEPs,

DXGLRWDSHRIDQ,(3PHHWLQJOHWWHUVUHSRUWFDUGVDQGVFKRROZRUN7KURXJKWKH\HDUV.DUHQ¶V

PRWKHU0DU\NHSWDIROGHURI.DUHQ¶V,(3VDQDXGLRWDSHRIDQLQWHUYLHZIURPDQ,(3PHHWLQJ letters to and from the sFKRROUHSRUWFDUGVDQGVRPHRI.DUHQ¶VVFKRROZRUN:KLOH.DUHQZDV in middle school, the family moved to a new home. During the move, Mary threw away a lot of educational documents and schoolwork. However, she saved what she considered to be pertinent to share with Karen when she became older. The remaining documents Mary entrusted to me when I first began interviewing Karen in 2011. I secured these items in my home office and they stayed there for 2 years untouched until I started to review the data. I had the audiotape of an

IEP meeting transcribed by a transcriptionist and I reviewed the minutes of the meeting. I reviewed each IEP in chronological order to look for academic changes, the wording of language that was selected, and of expectations RI.DUHQ¶VDFDGHPLFDELOLW\FRPSDUHGWRWKDWRIKHUJUDGH- level peers. Table 6 lists the documents I analyzed.

Table 6 Documents Analyzed

Grade in School Date Produced Document Topic Preschool November 2, 1992 Teacher narrative Academic progress February 9, 1993 Teacher narrative Academic progress April, 1993 Teacher narrative; IEP checklist Academic progress June, 1993 Teacher narrative; IEP checklist Academic progress Preschool/ March 18, 1992 Signed IEP Annual goals/short-term objectives Kindergarten May 1, 1992 Psychological Report Psychological evaluation June 3, 1992 Signed IEP Annual goals/short-term objectives January 1994 Signed IEP Annual goals/short-term objectives February 2, 1994 Report Card Grades with narrative from teacher June 1, 1994 Signed IEP Annual goals/short-term objectives June 1994 Report Card Grades with narrative from teacher First Grade January 13, 1995 Multi-purpose Referral Form Statement of concern written by first March 17, 1995 Eligibility packet/intervention checklist/sociocultural grade teacher assessment-triennial Review/psychological Confidential student records for triennial Report/intelligence tests/Educational Evaluation/Teacher Narrative/Student Observation/Health Examination/Hearing Tests/Speech and language evaluation/ Physical therapy evaluation/Physical disabilities assessment/Adapted PE evaluation April 5, 1995 Unsigned IEP draft Annual goals/short-term objectives May 23, 1995 Unsigned IEP draft Annual goals/short-term objectives June 5, 1995 Letter to interim principal Parent letter expressing concern of IEP June 16, 1995 Report Card Final Grades with teacher comments July 19, 1995 Signed IEP Annual goals/short-term objectives November 23, Teachers' notes about Karen's academic progress Notes on academic progress, 1994±June 9, 1996 socialization, and use of interpreter

A wide range of documents were gathered for this study. They included teacher narratives, IEPs, IEP checklists, report cards other confidential school records, and parent letters.

The documents were organized chronologically as follows: preschool, preschool/kindergarten, and first grade.

Data Source 2

5HVHDUFKHU¶V-RXUQDO After each interview with Karen, I reviewed the videotape when

I had time to reflect. As I watched the interview I paused the video to write down my thoughts

DQGPHPRULHVRI.DUHQ¶VH[SHULHQFHLQHOHPHQWDU\VFKRRO,GDWHGHDFKMRXUQDOHQWU\VRLW corresponded with the appropriate interview. I created a separate file for each journal entry and saved it on my password-secured computer. These reflections became part of the data I analyzed.

Appendix E includes a copy of the reflexive journal protocol.

Data Source 3

Portrait of Student with Multiple Disabilities. Thirteen years after the passing of

Education for All Handicapped Education Act (EAHCA) and two years before the passing of the

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA),

Karen was born. Karen was born on April 3, 1988, the third of four children and, by all indications, she was a healthy baby. She has two older siblings, Michelle and Matthew, and a younger brother, Ben, who was born two years aIWHUKHU.DUHQ¶VPRWKHUGHVFULEHV.DUHQDV³D

EHDXWLIXOEDE\$EVROXWHO\JRUJHRXVDQGVKHZDVOLWHUDOO\P\SHUIHFWFKLOGDQG,¶YHFRPHWR

UHDOL]H\RXGRQ¶WUHDOO\ZDQWDSHUIHFWFKLOG´ 0*ULIILQSHUVRQDOFRPPXQLFDWLRQ$SULO

2014). When Karen was born she weighed 10.5 pounds and maintained her weight even though she never finished a bottle. As a baby, Karen did not want to be held. She slept through loud family gatherings and rarely cried. Her mother, Mary, did not think anything was wrong with

.DUHQXQWLOVKHZHQWWRWKHGRFWRUIRU.DUHQ¶VRQH-year check up. She did not have any speech but the doctor said it was not uncommon for the third child not to be speaking. Mary began to compare Karen to her two older siblings and noticed Karen never said Mom or Dad, plus, she was not walking. Karen had ear infections in her ears but both ears were never infected at the same time (M. Griffin, personal communication, April 1, 2014).

Mary began to suspect that Karen was deaf. Mary realized when she wenWLQWR.DUHQ¶V room to wake her up from a nap she would turn on the light and call her name. Mary decided to

JRLQWRWKHURRPZLWKRXWWXUQLQJRQWKHOLJKW7RWHVWKHUVXVSLFLRQV0DU\FDOOHG.DUHQ¶VQDPH and she did not look toward her mother. Mary said:

My heart just sank and I was just like, "I think I have a deaf daughter." When her

husband, Keith, came home that afternoon she told him that she suspected Karen was

deaf and he said, "2.6RZKDWGRZHGRQRZ"´ 0*ULIILQSHUVRQDOFRPPXQLFDWLRQ

April 1, 2014)

Around the age of 14 months, Mary began taking Karen to the doctors to try to find a diagnosis because her daughter was not meeting the physical milestones that her two older children met. They began with a neurologist because that was whom they could get an

DSSRLQWPHQWZLWKILUVW0DU\UHPHPEHUV.DUHQ¶VILUVW&$7VFDQZKHQWKHGRFWRUVSXW³WKLVWLQ\

OLWWOHERG\LQWKLVELJPDFKLQH´ 0*ULIILQSHUVRQDOFRPPXQLFDWLRQ$SULO 0DU\

IRXQGKHUVHOI³FU\LQJDQGWKLQNLQJWKLVMXVWZDVQ¶W QRUPDO´ 0*ULIILQSHUVRQDOFRPPXQLFDWLRQ

$SULO 6KHUHFDOOHG³,IRXQGRXWVKRUWO\DIWHUWKDW, that I was pregnant with Ben. So

QRZZH¶UHGHDOLQJZLWKDFKLOGWKDWZHGRQ¶WNQRZZKDW¶VZURQJZLWKKHUDQGWKHUH¶VDQRWKHU

RQHRQWKHZD\´ 0Griffin, personal communication, April 1, 2014). The doctor did a blood

81 test called a CPK, creatine phosphokinase. The doctor contacted Mary later and said they needed to repeat the blood test. After the fourth request to repeat the blood test she said:

I got my QXUVLQJERRNVRXWDQG,IRXQGRXWH[DFWO\ZKDW&3.LVWHVWLQJIRU«DQGLWVD\V

muscular dystrophy (MD) and my heart sank. CPK levels should be around 10±120

PLFURJUDPVSHUOLWHUEXW.DUHQ¶VOHYHOZDV7KDW¶VZK\WKH\NHSWUHWHVWLQJLW

because it was so off the wall. [CPK] actually measures damage to your muscle. It leaks

out of your muscle. [For instance,] «ZHZRXOGQ¶WKDYHDQ\EHFDXVHRXUPXVFOHVDUH

healthy. %XWLI\RX¶UHLQDFDUDFFLGHQWRU\RXEUHDNDERQH\RXU&3.OHYHOLVJRLQJWo

JRXSEHFDXVH\RX¶UHGDPDJLQJWKHPXVFOH. (M. Griffin, personal communication, April 1,

Karen was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy-like symptoms. After the blood tests, the doctor performed a muscle biopsy and sent off the sample to National Institute of Health (NIH),

Bethesda Naval Hospital, and Georgetown University. All three results came back inconclusive.

More samples were taken and sent to Columbia University and Baylor University and the results came back inconclusive.

Mary explained:

Part of the muscle looked normal and part of the muscle looked abnormal. 6RLWGLGQ¶W

quite fit into muscular dystrophy, and Karen was a female. The disease mainly occurs in

ER\VDQGVKHZDVFXWH6KHGLGQ¶WKDYHPDOHFKDUDFWHULVWLFV And there are different

types of muscular d\VWURSK\EXWVKHGLGQ¶WILWLQWRDQ\RILW /LNHWKHUH¶VFRQJHQLWDO

ZKLFKPHDQVWKDW\RX¶UHERUQZLWKLWDQGREYLRXVO\VKHZDVERUQZLWKLWEXWVKHZDV

stronger than congenital kids. 8VXDOO\WKH\¶UHYHU\IORSS\DQGWKH\GRQ¶WOLYHUHDOORQJ

But she actually walked, rode her bike, climbed the stairs. She just never learned to run.

7KHQWKHUHLV'XFKHQH¶VWKH\¶UHSHUIHFWO\QRUPDODQGLW¶VPRVWO\ER\VDQGWKHQDERXW

ZKHQWKH\¶UH12 they start to fall and the signs come. SRVKHGLGQ¶WILWLQWRWKDWFDWHJRU\

of muscular dystrophy (personal communication, April 1, 2014).

Unique to Karen was what her mother described as weak spells:

Like she would walk and do well and go up the stairs and she would eat a ton of food and

tKHQDOORIDVXGGHQVKHGLGQ¶WKDYHPXFKRIDQDSSHWLWHVKHZRXOGJHWGLDUUKHD, and then

her weakness would come. Like if she could have walked up the stairs last week, all the

sudden she needs help going up the stairs. She could still do it. She just needed help; she

got tired. And then for no reason the diarrhea would stop, the appetite would come back

and her strength would come back, and so we started testing her CPK at these levels and

LWGLGQ¶WVKRZDQ\GLIIHUHQFH6RWKH\VWLOOFDQQRWILJXUHRXWZK\ she went through those

syndromes, which affected her later on in school. (M. Griffin, personal communication,

At the same time, Mary took Karen to an ear nose and throat (ENT) specialist and they conducted the brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER) test on Karen. The BAER test was difficult to perform on Karen because she was such a visual child. Finally, after three attempts the doctors had to give Karen medication to make her sleep during the BAER test to get a final diagnosis that she was deaf. They put hearing aids on Karen and Mary started to learn about schooling for her daughter at the age of 14 months (M. Griffin, personal communication, April 1,

While they were still searching for a diagnosis for Karen, Ben was born on January 25,

+HZRXOGODWHUEHGLDJQRVHGZLWKWKHVDPHV\QGURPH0DU\¶VPDLQFRQFHUQIRUKHUWZR

\RXQJHVWFKLOGUHQZDVWKH³SK\VLFDO[problems] because I knew that that disease could have killed them. I knew they could live with being deaf and we would just have to figure out how to

FRPPXQLFDWHZLWKWKHP´ 0*ULIILQSHUVRQDOFRPPXQLFDWLRQ$SULO 

The following results were documented IRU.DUHQ¶VSV\FKRORJLFDOHYDOXDWLRQDWDJH- years and 0 months. A Central Institute for Deaf Performance IQ of 103 (±7) suggested average nonverbal intelligence, with average to high average scores on all but one subtest (manual dexterity was low average. (psychological assessment, March 3, 1995, p. 2) Average abilities were also noted on DAS Picture Similarities, VMI-R perceptual-motor integration, and social- emotional scales (psychological assessment, March 3, 1995, p. 2). Meadow-Kendall ratings of

Karen's social-communicative behaviors indicated an above average (>90th percentile) classroom communication profile (psychological assessment, March 3, 1995). Two intelligence tests designed to measure different cognitive processes (WISC-HI and KABC) both resulted in a consistent profile of average mental processing abilities with no significant scatter across subtest areas. The WISC-HI Performance IQ (99±7) indicated average overall nonverbal intelligence, with no difference between perceptual organization skills and processing speed DELOLWLHV´. The KABC Mental Processing Composite IQ of 100 (± 6) showed no significant difference between simultaneous processing and sequential processing abilities. (psychological assessment, March 3, 1995, p. 2)

Subtest analysis revealed a fairly consistent profile of average to high average skills, with only one subtest at the lower limits of the average range. Age-appropriate abilities were also noted on subtests that measure spatial memory, reasoning by analogy, perceptual-motor integration, sequencing story pictures, and number recall. (psychological assessment, March

3, 1995, p. 2)

Karen had greatest difficulty on the subtest that measured sequential recall of words, where she scored at the lower limits of the average range (age score = 5-3). "Although depressed performance on this subtest may relate to problems Karen has putting in synch the signs she receives with the language she hears, it must be said that this subtest is generally harder for deaf children" (Ulissi, Brice, & Gibbins, 1989). The average standard score for deaf children on this subtest is 6 ± 3, as opposed to 10 ± 3 for hearing children.

(psychological assessment, March 3, 1995, p. 2)

Put in perspective, .DUHQ¶VVHTXHQWLDO recall of words, although low average compared to hearing peers, was a point above the mean derived for deaf FKLOGUHQ´(psychological assessment, March 3, 1995, p. 2). Teacher ratings on the Meadow-Kendall Social-Emotional

Inventory for Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing Students were obtained to assess classroom functioning relative to deaf norms. Karen's ratings suggested a fairly consistent profile of average functioning related to developmental areas and control of impulsive/dominating or anxious/compulsive behaviors (psychological assessment, March 3, 1995, p. 2). Although linguistic functioning remains a concern, the results of this evaluation did not support a cognitive or attentional basis for Karen's minimal expressive language abilities (psychological assessment, March 3, 1995, p. 2). Intellectual testing revealed a consistent profile of average cognitive processing abilities, including nonverbal perceptual organization, simultaneous processing, sequential processing, and processing speed (psychological assessment, March 3,

1995, p. 2). Audiological records indicated that Karen made excellent use of amplification, with speech awareness thresholds at 30-35 dB (mild range) with the FM system. Despite these gains, ³linguistic performance remains a classroom FRQFHUQ´ SV\FKRORJLFDODVVHVVPHQWMarch

3, 1995, p. 1).

Because Karen was medically fragile, my research with her has followed an unusual

WUDMHFWRU\'RFWRUVKDYHQHYHUNQRZQ.DUHQ¶VOLIHH[SHFWDQF\.DUHQKDVEHHQGHDIVLQFHVKH was born and had difficulty with physical movement and breathing. She has used a wheelchair since she was in the fourth grade. That same year she received a feeding tube and was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, which led to a rod being surgically adhered to her spine. In the eighth grade she had a tracheotomy to improve her breathing capability. Karen has been in and out of the hospital for short and long term bouts with pneumonia and has missed long periods of schooling. Karen is now a 25-year old woman attending university. However, her medical problems still impact her life; she has periods of time when she is doing well and times when she needs prolonged rest. As a result of her medical condition, I worked with my dissertation

Committee Chair to design the study DQGSURWRFROIRU.DUHQ¶VLQWHUYLHZVEHIRUHFRPSOHWLQJP\ preliminary exam or prospectus. I received Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval in

December of 2011 to begin interviewing Karen. The focus of my questions revolved around

.DUHQ¶VDFDGHPLFVPHGLFDOFRQGLWLRQSHHUVRFLDOL]DWLRQIDPLO\G\QDPLFVUHODWLRQVKips with teachers and interpreters, after-school activities, and her educational motivation.

Interviews with Student with Multiple Disabilities. Karen and I began our interviewing process in December 2011. Karen chose to be interviewed at her house. She and I reviewed the consent forms required by the IRB to ensure she understood the entire project

(McKee, et al., 2013). After discussing how to share her story, Karen decided that it would be easiest to share her life experiences chronologically. To start the interviewing process, I asked

Karen background questions (Patton, 2002) to have her describe her family members and her illness. By asking these types of question, I was able to have Karen begin to feel comfortable talking about her life and to learn about her knowledge of the extent of her illness. Karen and I

86 met for approximately half an hour to an hour each session to review the memories of her elementary school years.

,QWKHILUVWLQWHUYLHZ.DUHQGLVFXVVHGKHUIDPLO\¶VEDFNJURXQGKRZDQGZKen her illness was discovered, the nature of her illness, and some of her memories of pre-school. I found myself having to ask her more questions to get her to tell her story. My goal was to have the interview proceed as a normal conversation between Karen and me while being cognizant I needed to capture her signing and my voice on videotape. As a result of these dynamics, I voiced and signed my questions to Karen so she could understand my questions in her native language. The video recorder picked up the sound of my voice since I was not in the eye of the camera.

In each subsequent interview, Karen discussed two grade levels at a time. During these

LQWHUYLHZV,IRFXVHGRQ.DUHQ¶VH[SHULHQFHVLQHOHPHQWDU\VFKRRODQGWKHIHHOLQJVVKHKDGDERXW these memories (Patton, 2002). During these interviews she talked about her relationships with teachers and friends in each grade, the impact of her illness during each grade level, and how she was able to keep up with her schoolwork while she was ill. Table 7 displays the interview schedule. After each interview with Karen, I went home and downloaded the video on to my password-secured computer. In the days following each interview I watched each interview on my computer and wrote down my thoughts and reactions in a reflective journal.

Table 7 Interview Schedule with Karen

Date Location Length Interviews Topic December 21, .DUHQ¶VKRXVH 28 mins. Individual Family history, illness, 2011 in kitchen setting up timeline January 20, 2012 .DUHQ¶VKRXVH 25 mins. Individual pre-school±grade 2 in kitchen February 24, .DUHQ¶VKRXVH 39 mins. Individual Grades 3-4 2012 in kitchen April 6, 2012 .DUHQ¶VKRXVH 25 mins. Individual Grades 5-6 in sunroom April 15, 2013 .DUHQ¶VKRXVH 96 mins. Karen and Review of timeline in kitchen her mother

I interviewed Karen and her mother together to review relevant milestones during

.DUHQ¶VHGXFDWLRQEHFDXVH.DUHQ¶VPRWKHUKDVPHPRULHVRI.DUHQDWDYHU\\RXQJDJHWKDW

Karen cannot recall. Plus, her mother was able to share stories about times when Karen was too ill WRUHFDOOWKRVHWLPHV,QKHUILQDOVHPHVWHUDWFROOHJHRQHRI.DUHQ¶VSURIHVVRUVKDGWKH students create a timeline of their lives. Karen made a large canvas of her life from birth until her graduation from college. I laid this canvas out on the kitchen table and asked questions about each time period. Both women shared their stories about the significance of the year pertaining

WR.DUHQ¶VDFDGHPLFVRFLDODQGSK\VLFDOZHOO-being. This interview was a lot of fun for the three of us. We shared many great memories that were funny at times and difficult at other times, but ones I am sure we will all cherish.

Portrait of Mother. Mary, Karen's mother, is in her mid-50s. Mary is the eighth child of 16 children. She went to college and majored in psychology and nursing. She later became a cardiovascular nurse in an intensive care unit (ICU). She married Keith right after she became a nurse in 1983. Keith works for a homebuilding firm. They had their first child, Michelle, in

1985, their second child, Matthew, in 1986, Karen in 1988, and their last child, Ben, in 1990.

Mary and Keith held high academic expectations for their children and kept them active in

QXPHURXVDFWLYLWLHVJURZLQJXS%RWK0DU\DQG.HLWKZHUHLQYROYHGLQ.DUHQ¶VHGXFDWLRQ however, only Mary was interviewed due to her attendance at all IEP meetings and her extensive contact with teachers.

Unlike hearing children who learn language from their parents, deaf children of hearing parents learn language at school from their deaf peers, teachers, and interpreters (McKee,

Schlehofer, & Thew, 2013). Deaf people usually learn American Sign Language (ASL) through

³KRUL]RQWDOSHHUFRPPXQLFDWLRQ´ 0F.HHHWDO 

:KHQ,ZDV.DUHQ¶VLQWHUSUHWHULQHOHPHQWDU\VFKRRO,PDGHYLGHRWDSHVIRUKHUSDUHQWV to view so they could use the same signs for spelling tests and new vocabulary material. There were times when Mary would phone me at home and ask how to sign different words. During the summer, Mary would take Karen, Ben, and me to different museums to start reviewing materials the children would be studying for the upcoming school year. She wanted them to learn the vocabulary before they started the school year. We would go to places throughout the

DC area and I would interpret and teach the children the signs for the subject matter. Over the years, Mary and I became good friends. She and I still maintain contact and go out to dinner on occasion to catch up with one another.

Interviews with Mother. For this study, I conducted open-ended interviews with Mary.

(DFKLQWHUYLHZWRRNSODFHLQDORFDWLRQRI0DU\¶VFKRRVLQJDQG,DXGLRWDSHGHDFKLQWHUYLHZ

The focus of the interviews was RQ.DUHQ,DVNHG0DU\WRVKDUHVWRULHVDERXW.DUHQ¶V

HOHPHQWDU\\HDUVDQGDERXW.DUHQ¶VH[SHULHQFHVZLWKKHUWHDFKHUVSHHUVDQGLQWHUSUHWHUV,

DVNHGKHUWRUHYLHZ.DUHQ¶VKHDOWKLVVXHVZLWKWKHIRFXVRQWKHLPSDFWRIWKHKHDOWKLVVXes on her

89 family, education, and peer relationships. A list of interviews and meetings is included in

Appendix D.

Data Source 5

Portrait of the Tutor. Claire Kendrick is in her mid-50s and is a teacher for the deaf at the high school level. Claire graduated from the University of Northern Colorado and earned a

GHJUHHLQ(OHPHQWDU\(GXFDWLRQDQG'HDI(GXFDWLRQ8SRQJUDGXDWLRQVKHHDUQHGKHU0DVWHU¶V

GHJUHHIURP&ROXPELD8QLYHUVLW\&ODLUHKDVEHHQDQLQWHJUDOSDUWRI.DUHQ¶VOLIHEHFDXVHVKH has been her tutor since the first grade. As well as working with Karen after school on school

DVVLJQPHQWVVKHKDVEHHQDODQJXDJHPRGHOIRU.DUHQ6KHZDV.DUHQ¶VKRPHERXQGWHDFKHU through elementary school whenever Karen was hospitalized and could not return to school. She was also her homebound teacher for a variety of classes in high school.

Interview with the Tutor. For this study, I conducted an open-ended interview with

&ODLUH7KHLQWHUYLHZWRRNSODFHLQDORFDWLRQRI&ODLUH¶VFKRRVLQJDQG,DXGLRWDSHd the

LQWHUYLHZ7KHIRFXVRIWKHLQWHUYLHZVZDVRQ.DUHQ,KDG&ODLUHVKDUHVWRULHVDERXW.DUHQ¶V elementary years and her experiences with her teachers, peers, and interpreters. I asked her to

UHYLHZ.DUHQ¶VKHDOWKLVVXHVZLWKWKHIRFXVRQWKHLPSDFW of her health issues on her family, education, and peer relationships. I also questioned Claire about her relationship with the family and whether this relationship added professional conflicts with the school system that employed her. A list of interviews and meetings is included in Appendix D.

Data Analysis

In this section I provide an explanation of how I analyzed the data collected for this research, the strategies I utilized to ensure validity, and the ethical considerations for this study.

Unlike RWKHUPHWKRGVLQUHVHDUFKTXDOLWDWLYHVWXGLHVFDQUHIOHFWSHRSOH¶VPRVWLQQHUSHUVRQDO

90 thoughts and unveil their reactions to situations (Smith, 2000). The narrative life history of

.DUHQ¶VHOHPHQWDU\VFKRRO\HDUVKDVDSOHWKRUDRIGDWDZKLFKLQFOXGHVinterviews, letters, an IEP meeting audiotape, IEP documents, grade-level report cards, and schoolwork. Making sense of all the data collected is the process of data analysis (Merriam, 1988). While reviewing transcripts from interviews or reading over documents that have been collected, there may be a need to go back and collect more information from the participants in the case study due to

TXHVWLRQVWKDWDULVHRUDQHHGIRUFODULILFDWLRQ 0HUULDP :KLOH,ZDVLQYROYHGLQ.DUHQ¶V life as she grew up, I did not know what the data would reveal until the final analysis was completed (Merriam, 1988).

I employed the use of case study analysis to find meaning in the interviews of each of the participants, the documents collected through the years, and the audiotape of an IEP from when

.DUHQZDVLQWKHILUVWJUDGH8QLTXHWRWKLVVWXG\LVWKDW.DUHQ¶VSULPDU\ODQJXDJHLV$PHULFDQ

Sign Language. I provided an explanation of the importance of understanding deaf culture and the transcription process of her life history. Finally, I provided an explanation of how I maintained validity throughout the study.

Data T ranscription

Each participant interview was transcribed. When interviewing a hearing person, the entire interview was audio taped using a digital recorder. After returning home from the interview, I downloaded the interview onto my secure computer. The audio taped recording was sent to a transcriptionist via Digital Dropbox. After completing each transcription, the transcriptionist posted the interview back into the Digital Dropbox for my use. I took each transcription and saved it onto my secure computer into a file for interviews. I printed the interview and placed each interview into my notebook, which holds all of the transcribed

91 interviews. Finally, I had the participants review the interview transcription to check for authenticity and let me know if there were any clarifications they wanted to make.

Data Compilation

Once all the interviews were conducted and document collection was completed, the data needed to be organized. Data in this case study was organized chronologically from preschool to the sixth grade (Merriam, 1988). To keep materials organized, a coding system was created to be able to locate data easily during the analysis phase (Merriam, 1988). The coding system is included with the calendar of data collection activities in Appendix F.

My skills and insights were a large factor in my findings and as Patton (2002) indicates, this was be both a strength and a weakness. The data that were collected needed to be

³FRPSUHVVHGDQGOLQNHGWRJHWKHULQDQDUUDWLYHWKDWPDNHVVHQVHWRWKHUHDGHU³ 0HUULDPS

130). Merriam also indicates that the readers should not be left to draw their own conclusions from the reading of the narrative, rather conclusions needed to be drawn through the interpretation of the data. The research questions were reviewed to maintain the focus on the

LQWHQGHGDXGLHQFHZKLFKLVVFKRROSHUVRQQHODQGRQWKH³DQDO\WLFLQVLJKWVDQGLQWHUSUHWDWions

WKDWHPHUJHGGXULQJGDWDFROOHFWLRQ´ 3DWWRQS 

T ranslation of ASL Interviews

Karen signs using ASL, which is a visual language. It is for this reason I videotaped each

RI.DUHQ¶VLQWHUYLHZV 0XOURRQH\ 7REHDEOHWRSURSHUO\VKDUH.DUHQ¶VSHUVRQDOVWRU\, had to have the cultural competency to understand deaf culture and the deaf community (McKee,

HWDO 'HDISHRSOHZKRXVH$6/WRFRPPXQLFDWHKDYHD³VHWRIYDOXHVFXVWRPVDWWLWXGHV and experiences that contrast witKWKHKHDULQJZRUOG´ 0F.HHHWDO :KHQ communicating, deaf people have a set of rules while signing that include maintaining eye

92 contact, using facial expressions, and using space (Gallaudet University Laurent Clerc National

Deaf Education Center, 2014). ASL is not a gestural language and does have complex sentence structure that mimics the English language (McKee, et al., 2013).

Deaf people also have difficulty with reading the English language. Most deaf people who graduate from high school have the reading level of a fourth grader (McKee et al., 2013).

Karen graduated from college, but reading and writing in English is still a struggle for the most educated of deaf people (McKee, et al., 2013). For this reason, I relied on interviewing Karen one-on-one rather than have her write down any of her memories. Originally, my goal was to interpret (sign-to-YRLFH DOORI.DUHQ¶VLQWHrviews. However, it has been many years since I worked as a professional interpreter and I felt out of practice for voicing for a deaf person. Plus, to avoid ELDV,WKRXJKWLWEHVWWRKDYHDTXDOLILHGLQGLYLGXDOLQWHUSUHWWKHYLGHRWDSHVRI.DUHQ¶V interviews. As stated previously, the interviews with only Karen were no longer than an hour.

After all of my interviews were completed with Karen, I downloaded the videos onto a thumb drive. I took the thumb drive and met the interpreter at her place of employment to download the videos onto her password-protected computer. I used this process, in part, because a sign language interpreter has the ability to voice for a long period while maintaining accuracy of

.DUHQ¶VLQWHQW7KHLQWHUSUHWHUWRRNDSSUR[LPately one month to interpret all of the videos. The interpreter voiced the translation using Dragon software, printed out the end product, and gave me the translation. I took the translations of the interviews and put them in a notebook that I keep secured in my house.

Reliability and Validity

After completing each interview, I sent a copy of the transcript to each person interviewed. The person interviewed read over the transcript to check for any deletions and/or

93 any topic she wanted to expand upon. Once I completed all initial interviews and recorded documents by grade level and date, I began the analysis of the interview transcripts. The analytic tools I employed for this analysis were writing memos in the margins of the data, maintaining all data in chronological order, and using charts to assist me in understanding the data (Yin, 2014).

The analytical tools I used included:

x Arranging information in chronological order x Writing memos to myself²contain hints, clues, and suggestions²preliminary interpretation of data²conceptualization of the data x Juxtaposing data between two different interviewees x Making a matrix of categories and placing the evidence within such categories x Creating data displays²flowcharts and other graphics for examining the data. (Yin, 2014)

To begin sorting through the data, I conducted an inductive analysis to discover the categories, patterns, and themes to create categories (Patton, 2002; Smith, 2000). I used the procedures recommended by Patton (2002). In the first reading of the data, I made notes in the margins as to possible themes. After this first reading, I created a color-coding system using highlighter colors to see the different themes I formed. In this second reading of the data, I formalized the process by color-coding interviews using my computer and sticky notes for documents. Upon completion, I met with my peer auditors who assisted me through this process.

The peer auditors and I discussed the emerging themes and patterns then I compared and analyzed the differences and similarities of our findings (Patton, 2002). This process allowed me to begin the interpretative phase of the research. Once completed, I was able to extract meanings from the data, make comparisons, draw conclusions, and find significance in the data (Patton,

 3DUWRITXDOLWDWLYHGDWDLVKDYLQJ³VHOI-awareness, even a certain degree of self-DQDO\VLV´

(Patton, 2002, p. 495). To ensure I was aware of my own voice, feelings, and perspective, I

94 answered three questions after I reviewed each interview. The three questions were part of my reflexive journal. The first question in this journal was about my perspective and what has shaped my viewpoints on this topic. The second question centered around the participants and their influences that shaped their perceptions and how our relationship might influence their response to a question. The third question focused on the audience and who would read this paper. I considered the audience's perceptions of the findings and how they might perceive me and how I might perceive them. I understood that I had a social responsibility in the reporting of my findings and, through the process of triangulation, I sorted through this issues during the analysis phase (Patton, 2002).

Peer Review

This narrative life history was XQLTXHEHFDXVH,ZDVVRFORVHO\LQYROYHGZLWK.DUHQ¶V personal life. As a researcher I needed to recognize the improbability of being able to truly

GLVWDQFHP\VHOIDQG³FRQWLQXHWRDFWLQLQWHJULW\DQGGHPRQVWUDWHWUXVWZRUWKLQHVVYLUtuosity, and

ULJRULQWKHLUVFKRODUVKLS´ &ODQGLQLQS 7KLVSURFHVVRIFRQVHQVXDOYDOLGDWLRQwas

³DQDJUHHPHQWDPRQJFRPSHWHQWRWKHUVWKDWWKHGHVFULSWLRQLQWHUSUHWDWLRQDQGHYDOXDWLRQDQG

WKHPDWLFVRIDQHGXFDWLRQDOVHWWLQJDUHULJKW´ (LVQer, 1991, p. 112; Creswell, 2007, p. 204).

Because of my closeness with Karen and her family, I needed to be sure that I was telling her story, which at times is our story, and I needed to be able to distance myself.

To ensure my biases did not affect tKHUHVXOWV,HPSOR\HGWKH³XVH>RI@DXGLWWUDLOV

WULDQJXODWLRQDQGPHPEHUFKHFNV´ &ODQGLQLQS 2QFHDOORIGDWDZHUHFROOHFWHG, read over the transcriptions and looked for common themes. I incorporated a peer review process with two of my committee members. Each of the peer reviewers was selected due to her

DUHDRIH[SHUWLVH2QHUHYLHZHU¶VH[SHUWLVHLVLQWKHDUHDRITXDOLWDWLYHUHVHDUFKDQGWKHRWKHU

UHYLHZHU¶VH[SHUWLVHLVLQWKHILHOGRIVSHFLDOHGXFDWLRQThe peer review was designed to continually question me about my choices in the methods as well as my interpretation of interviews and educational documents (Creswell, 2007). My two peer reviewers and I met together to discuss the themes and patterns. They questioned me about my own bias, experiences, and assumptions. This triangulation of observers allowed them to check for bias in my collection of data as well as to check the validity of the themes I identified (Clandinin, 2007).

In this chapter, I explained the purpose for conducting this case study and implementing the use of narrative inquiry with elements of life history. Three study participants were interviewed²a child with multiple disabilities, her mother, and her tutor. Audio and video taped interviews were conducted and extensive documents were collected. These data were compiled and prepared for analysis. A peer review was included to decrease personal bias in the analysis.

Chapter 4 presents the findings from this analysis.

C H APT E R 4 FINDIN GS

The Disabilities Rights Movement (DRM) worked toward creating public policy that benefitted people with disabilities, ending the isolation of people with disabilities (PWD), and bringing awareness about the plight of people with disabilities (National Council on Disability,

2010). Theorists began to realize that even with the success of the DRM, people with disabilities still faced discrimination and attitudinal barriers in their daily life (National Council on

Disability, 2007; Shapiro, 1994). People continued to devalue the lives of people with disabilities by holding lowered expectations for them. This is referred to as ableism. According to disability theorists, ableism not only discriminates against people with disabilities, but may be the reason for lowered educational accomplishments of people with disabilities (Hehir, 2002).

Diminished expectations of a student with disabilities can lead to an education with less support and reduced meaningful academic engagement with the grade-level content (Ashby, 2010).

Brown vs. the Board of Education stated that all students should receive an education on

³HTXDOWHUPV´ :HEHU0DZVGOH\ 5HGILHOG 7HQ\HDUVODWHUDIWHUWKH6XSUHPH&RXUW¶V decLVLRQSDUHQWVZKRKDGFKLOGUHQZLWKGLVDELOLWLHVEHJDQWRVWDQGXSIRUWKHULJKWV¶RIWKHLU children. They demanded that their children be allowed to attend school with their peers. Court cases were decided that allowed children with disabilities into school and laws were passed to end discrimination against all people with disabilities (Weber et al., 2010). Even with these strides forward, students with disabilities still faced social oppression and isolation. In 1973,

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act was passed prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability. As a result of this legislation, all schools were required to make reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities (Switzer, 2003). Two years later, the Education of

All Handicapped Children Act (EAHCA) was passed to ensure that all students with disabilities

96 97 were educated with their peers (Yell, 1998; National Council on Disability, 2005). Almost 15 years later, Karen Griffin was born with multiple disabilities and, due to these two laws, Karen was admitted into school at the age of 14 months to begin her education in the public school system. When Karen was two years old, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and

Karen was in the seventh grade, No Child Left Behind was passed to increase the academic performance of all students in the school system, hold schools accountable for student outcomes, and support the belief that all students should graduate from high school (National Council on

Disability, 2008). However, Karen still faced attitudinal barriers during her education and her mother had to fight the school system to ensure Karen received an equal and quality education.

This phenomenological case study is about ableism in the school setting and the lived

H[SHULHQFHVRIRQHIHPDOHZLWKPXOWLSOHGLVDELOLWLHV¶during her elementary school years

(Creswell, 2007). The case relied on narrative inquiry methods to learn about the phenomenon of ableism. This was accomplished through interviewing participants, reviewing extensive educational documents and medical records, and developing a researcher journal. Upon

FRPSOHWLQJHDFKSHUVRQ¶Vinterview, the interview transcripts were analyzed to capture .DUHQ¶V early life history and examine ableism. The analysis addressed the following research questions:

What can the participants' experiences disclose about the need for disability-oriented education in schools today?

Overview of the Problem

Ableism is defined as ³DVHWRIDVVXPSWLRQVDQGSUDFWLFHVWKDWSURPRWHWKHGLIIHUHQWLDO and unequal treatment of people because of apparent and assumed physical, mental, or

EHKDYLRUDOGLIIHUHQFHV´ %RJGDQ& Biklen, 1977, p.14). Laws have been passed to end discrimination against people with disabilities, but laws alone cannot change the mindset of people. Ableism in the classroom has a lasting impact on students with disabilities. Ableist practices in the school setting can hold students with multiple disabilities from reaching their true academic potential (Ashby 2010; Hehir, 2002). Disability theorists attribute the low educational attainment of people with disabilities to the lowered expectations school personnel around the country hold toward them (Hehir, 2002). This study suggests that ableism does exist in our school system; however, with the appropriate supports students with multiple disabilities can be successful in school.

In this chapter, I answer the overarching research question by providing examples of ableism that Karen faced during her elementary school years and the impact ableism had on her education and self-esteem. I also show that, in spite of the ableist attitude students with multiple disabilities face, they can be successful in school if they have appropriate resources.

Finding A: Ableism Exists in the School Setting

Ableism can be found in a variety of forms in a school setting. In this case study, I analyzed the attitude of ableism towards a student with multiple physical disabilities rather than one with mental or behavioral disabilities. Ableism can lead to relationships that are strained due to misconceptions about the abilities of the student with multiple disabilities in and out of the classroom. This finding was illustrated through the themes of isolation of the student with multiple disabilities and distrust formed between her family and school personnel. The data revealed that forms of ableism were found in the academic and social isolation Karen experienced because she was expected to maintain the academic and social norms of her peers.

Once Mary felt the school was not supporting her daughter and not following her academic goals,

0DU\EHJDQWRIXOO\DGYRFDWHIRUKHUGDXJKWHU¶VULJKWVLQVFKRRODQGVRXJKW outside assistance to compensate for the lack of support from the school.

.DUHQ¶VIsolation

Some of the best memories of school are not the book lessons learned in school, but rather the fun times students shared with their peers. School is not just about academics, it is a place where children learn social cues in life. The data reveal that Karen was separated from her classmates due to physical disability, and, as result of this separation, she was left out of many academic and social activities during the school day.

Academic Isolation. The data indicate that Karen faced academic isolation from her peers when she was physically removed from the academic setting because of her disability.

Due to this physical isolation from her classmates, Karen was set apart from her peers in an academic setting and, as a result, felt devalued in the classroom. However, the data show that

Karen could be included into the classroom if the teacher made simple classroom

100 accommodations and provided academic assistance. During her elementary school years, Karen remembered the people who made her feel she was a part of the classroom. Karen also remembered the people and the situations when she felt she was isolated from her peers. During her preschool years, she was taught in a self-contained deaf classroom. Her classmates were deaf like Karen but she had physical limitations as well. At this early age, Karen had a slow gait, wore casts on her legs, occasionally used a walker, had an FM system attached to her hearing aids to amplify sound, and tired easily. Karen could not run or jump like the majority of her peers. Her teacher, Ms. Presley, was a hearing person who Karen credits for teaching her how to communicate in American Sign Language (ASL). In June 1993, Ms. Presley wrote in her end- of--\HDUQDUUDWLYHWKDW.DUHQ³PDGHSURJUHVVLQH[SUHVVLYHODQJXDJH´DQGWKDWVKHQHHGHGWR work on providing complete answers when responding to questions (J. Presley, teacher narrative,

June, 1993 $FDGHPLFDOO\.DUHQSURJUHVVHGZHOODQGZDVVWLOOZRUNLQJ³RQFRXQWLQJDQG retelling stories, « and following more complex directions.´ 6RFLDOO\.DUHQ³PDGHIULHQGVZLWK all of her classmates this year and is very much a caregiver, comforting those in GLVWUHVV´ -

3UHVOH\WHDFKHUQDUUDWLYH-XQH .DUHQVDLGVKHDSSUHFLDWHG0V3UHVOH\EHFDXVH³6KH

NQHZ,KDGDGLVDELOLW\DQGVKHNHSWPHLQYROYHGZLWKRWKHUVWXGHQWVDQGDFWLYLWLHVLQFODVV´ .

Griffin, personal communication, April 16, 2012). The following year, Karen was mainstreamed for morning kindergarten. She was the only deaf child in her mainstream class and the only one who had a physical disability. In the afternoon, she finished the day in the self-contained deaf kindergarten classroom.

Ms. Gunston, the mainstream kindergarten teacher, reported during second quarter that

.DUHQZDV³RYHUFRPLQJKHUUHOXFWDQFHWRFRQWULEXWHWRFODVVGLVFXVVLRQVDQGWRDQVZHUTXHVWLRQV´

(report card, June 1994, lines 5-6). By the third quarter, the teacKHUQRWHGWKDW.DUHQZDV³HDVLO\

DEOHWRFRQWULEXWHWRFODVVGLVFXVVLRQVQRZDQGRIWHQDQVZHUVTXHVWLRQVGXULQJJURXSWLPH´

(report card, June 1994, lines 12- 6KHFRQWLQXHGWRUHSRUWWKDW.DUHQZDV³LQGHSHQGHQWLQ

QDWXUH´DQGKHU³VXQQ\DWWLWXGHDVVLVWVLQKHUVXFFHVV´ UHSRUWFDUGOLQH 0V*XQVWRQ

QRWHGWKDW.DUHQ³ZRUNVDQGSOD\VZHOOZLWKKHUSHHUVVKHPDNHVIULHQGVHDVLO\DQGLVDYDOXDEOH

JURXSPHPEHU´ UHSRUWFDUG-XQHOLQHV-7). Academically, the mainstream teacher suggesWHGWKDW.DUHQQHHGHGWRSD\³FORVHUDWWHQWLRQWRWKHLQWHUSUHWHUGXULQJVWRULHVDQG

LQVWUXFWLRQDOWLPH´ UHSRUWFDUG-XQHOLQH ,QWKHVHFRQGTXDUWHU.DUHQDWWHPSWHGWR write, and by the third quarter she wrote in her journal daily and dictated ³VWRULHVIUHTXHQWO\´

(report card, June 1994, line 11). For the summer, .DUHQ¶VWHDFKHUUHFRPPHQGHGWKDWVKHILQG

RSSRUWXQLWLHVWRZRUNRQ³UHDGLQJZULWLQJFRXQWLQJDQGUHWHOOLQJVWRULHV´ report card, June

1994, lines 21-22). However, when she entered the first grade class, Karen and her mother noticed a change in the acceptance of Karen in the classroom.

KDUHQ¶VILUVWJUDGHWHDFKHUZDV OHVVVHQVLWLYHWR.DUHQ¶VSK\VLFDOOLPLWDWLRQVTo learn

DERXWDVSHFLDOHGXFDWLRQVWXGHQW¶VJRDOVDQGREMHFWLYHV teachers are required to read the

VWXGHQW¶V,(37KH-XQH,(3UHSRUWHGWKDW.DUHQ¶V³PXVFOHWLJKWQHVVDQGZHDNQHVVYDU\ depHQGLQJRQUHFHQWDFWLYLW\´DQGVKHUHFHLYHGSK\VLFDOWKHUDS\VHUYLFHVGXULQJ3(FODVV S 

According to the IEP, the physical disability (PD) teacher was supposed to consult with the

UHJXODUHGXFDWLRQWHDFKHURQKRZWRSURYLGHPRGLILFDWLRQVIRU.DUHQ¶VSK\VLFDOQHHGVLQWKH classroom (p. 5). The main physical concerns for Karen in the first grade were the muscle tones in her legs and upper body and her low energy levels. For her muscle tone, Karen wore serial casts during the school day and she received new casts every 10 days to stretch out her muscles.

At school she was assisted with a walker, when needed, and she was not able to run, jump, or hop (Socio-Cultural Assessment-Triennial, March 3, 1995, p. 2).

In the classroom, Karen tried to be a part of the group. When the students sat on the floor for instruction, Karen sat with them if she was feeling up to it. Due tR.DUHQ¶VSK\VLFDO disability, she could not sit for long periods of time on the floor like many other children did during instructional time. Karen remembered that during group time her first grade teacher, Ms.

3HUU\³ZRXOGIRUFHPHWRVLWRQWKHIORRU ,I,GLGQ¶WVKHZRXOGNLFNPHRXWDQGPDNHPHVLWDW

WKHWDEOHVR,ZDVQ¶WLQYROYHG,ZDVLVRODWHG´ .*ULIILQSHUVRQDOFRPPXQLFDWLRQ0D\

 .DUHQ¶VSK\VLFDOOLPLWDWLRQVVHWKHUDSDUWIURPKHUSHHUVDQGVKHZDVH[FOXGHGIURP working with her peers academically.

The following school year, Karen repeated the first grade with a new teacher, Ms.

Mitchell. Karen felt Ms. Mitchell made her feel a part of the class through her accommodations.

Karen explained the connection between her physical disabilities and teacher accommodations concretely:

Sometimes when there were presentations and the class would sit on the floor. I would

WHOO0V0LWFKHOOWKDW,GLGQ¶WZDQWWRVLWRQWKHIORRUEHFDXVH,ZDVQRWFRPIRUWDEOHRQ

the floor. She would say fine. She said I could sit in a chair near the group. She really

wanted me to be comfortable and made sure I was happy. (personal communication,

January 20, 2012).

Ms. Mitchell made simple, physical accommodations such as keeping a chair near the other students to allow Karen to continue to participate in the lesson. This helped Karen feel cared for and comfortable while keeping her within the group of students. Ms. Mitchell made other simple accommodations for Karen as well. For example, Karen recallHG³,I,ZDVWLUHG0V

0LWFKHOOZRXOGOHWPHGRVRPHWKLQJHOVH6KHZRXOGQ¶WPDNHPHGRVRPHWKLQJKDUGEXW

VRPHWKLQJOLJKWOLNHVWXG\LQJVSHOOLQJLQVWHDGRIDELJDFWLYLW\WKDWZRXOGZHDUPHRXW´ .

Griffin, personal communication, January 20, 2012).

These steps Ms. Mitchell took to make Karen physically comfortable in class facilitated a strong relationship between the two. Karen trusted that she could talk to Ms. Mitchell and that

VKH³DOZD\VXQGHUVWRRGZKDW,ZDVGRLQJDQGWKHQZKHQ,GLGQ¶WXQGHUVtand she would explain it to me in more detail. She would talk to me in private or do anything she needed to do to make

VXUH,XQGHUVWRRGZKDWWRGR´ .*ULIILQSHUVRQDOFRPPXQLFDWLRQ-DQXDU\ .DUHQ subsequently, felt like she was a valued member of the class, an equal with her peers,

FRPPHQWLQJ³,GLGQ¶WIHHOOLNH,ZDVORRNHGGRZQRQRUOLNH,ZDVGLVDEOHG´LQ0V0LWFKHOO¶V class (K. Griffin, personal communication, January 20, 2012). Karen recalled that during the

VFKRRO\HDUVKH³IHOWVXFFHVVIXOZKHQ,OHDUQHGVRPHWKLQJ´ SHUVRQDOFRPPXQLFDWLRQ0D\

2012). According to Karen:

[Ms. Mitchell] expected that I understand and that I was able to do what I needed to do to

pass the first grade and move on to the second grade. She made sure that I understood

the lesson and made sure I understood everything. She knew what I needed to do and

ZKDW,QHHGHGWRZRUNRQ´ SHUVRQDOFRPPXQLFDWLRQ0D\ 

Academically, Karen progressed to the second grade and then on to the third grade without any major concerns about her ability to be successful in school.

Social Isolation. The data suggest that Karen felt disconnected from the academic and social activities of her fellow students due to her physical differences. This usually occurred

EHFDXVHRIH[FOXVLRQIURPDFWLYLWLHV(YLGHQFHIURP.DUHQ¶VOLIHKLVWRU\VXJJHVWVWKDWVRFLDO isolation could have be decreased by school personnel who provided support to facilitate social interaction with her peers. Prior to the first grade, Karen was considered to be a social and

104 caring child by her teachers (J. Percy, report card, June 1993; R. Gunston, report card, June,

1994). During the first grade, her teacher, Ms. Perry reported that Karen did not form positive relationships with her peers and was grouchy with other students (J. Perry, triennial teacher

QDUUDWLYH0DUFK .DUHQ¶VJURXFKLQHVVFRXOGEHDWWULEXWHGWRWKHLOOQHVVVKHLQFXUUHG during the month of January. Karen missed a couple of weeks of school due to pneumonia.

Mary said that it took a while for Karen to recover; upon her return to school she was extremely tired (M. Griffin, April 1, 2014). At the end of her first grade year, Mary knew that Karen needed a more nurturing environment as evidenced in a note she wrote abouW.DUHQ¶V educational needs as a deaf child at the end of the 1994-1995 school year:

Deaf children need more time to develop academically, emotionally, and socially. In a

multi-DJHFODVVWKHUH¶VDQHQYLURQPHQWZKLFKDOORZVKHUWRGRLW7KHWHDFKHUKDVa

philosophy of allowing the children to develop their own speed ± perfect for deaf child.

7KLVHQYLURQPHQWVKRXOGKHOS>.DUHQ¶V@VHOI-HVWHHPEHFDXVHWKHUH¶VQRSUHVVXUHWREHDWD

certain point in the year. One-two combo might help her self-esteem (M. Griffin,

personal note, unknown date).

Karen did enter the 1st/2nd grade combination class the following year and repeated the 1st

JUDGHGXHWR0DU\¶VLQVLVWHQFHDuring her 1st and 2nd grade years with Ms. Mitchell, Karen flourished and her self-esteem grew considerably (C. Kendrick, personal communication,

January 4, 2014).

Karen entered the third grade more confident in her academic abilities as well. I was

.DUHQ¶VLQWHUSUHWHUIRUWKHWKLUG\HDULQDURZDQGPDGHDFRQFHUWHGHIIRUWWREHVXUH.DUHQILt in academically and socially among her peers. I often found myself as a social facilitator for Karen and her peers. For example, students who arrived early to class played games together in the

105 classroom. At the beginning of the year, Karen often played independently or with Scott, the other deaf student. I played Uno with a group of girls in the class for the goal of having Karen join the group so she too could play games with her peers. Every morning the girls and I played games and, usually, the girls wanted to be on my team (third graders thought I was pretty cool).

In time, I started to draw Karen into the group by choosing her as my partner. Gradually, I withdrew myself from the group and let them play without me being in the middle.

A prime time for elementary school students to socialize is during gym class. While the other students played football or basketball, Karen was often working one-on-one with the adaptive PE teacher on her individual skills. She did not have the opportunity to work on the team-building activities that sports provide students. According to her IEP, the activities during

PE class needed to be adapted for her to be able to participate (June 1, 1994). Karen recognized that:

[PE] was perfect from the aspect of being deaf but with my disability it was not because

sometimes [students] would run or exercise and I had to do other things like adapted PE.

They had to change it for me. I felt left out from all the fun and the socializing and other

things (K. Griffin, personal communication, February 24, 2012).

When Karen was capable of participating in a PE activity, Karen and I were a team. If the class played H-O-R-S-E during the basketball unit, I stood wherever Karen told me to stand and shot for her. When we played dodge ball, she stood directly behind me and held on to my shirt. She told me who she wanted to try to get out, and I threw the ball for her. During the square dance unit, Karen would participate as much as she could. However, when she became tired, I VWHSSHGLQIRUKHU:KHQWKHRWKHUVWXGHQWVKDGWRUXQWKHPLOH.DUHQ¶VFRXUVHZDV shortened and she and I ran together (E. Reilly, reflection journal, May 20, 2013). Karen stated,

³:KHQ\RXDQG,SOD\HGGRGJHEDOOWKDWPDGHPHIHHOJRRGEHFDXVH,IHOW included and not left

RXW´ .*ULIILQSHUVRQDOFRPPXQLFDWLRQ)HEruary 24, 2012). She might have said this to me in the interview to make me feel better, but I know that that year in PE was an important year for her because this was the last year that Karen fully participated in PE.

The following school year Karen missed the majority of the school year due to a three- months hospitalization for pneumonia. In the spring of that year, she also had surgery for her

Multiple Sclerosis. Karen took her last step in the fourth grade and has been in a wheelchair ever since. However, she still shares stories with her peers about her days when she played basketball, dodge ball, and danced in her PE class.

Ableism and School and Family Relations

Academic choicHVRIWHQSUHVHQWHGXQDQWLFLSDWHGFKDOOHQJHVIRU.DUHQ¶VSDUHQWV .DUHQ¶V mother and father learned when Karen was approximately 12 months old that she had some form of physical disability and was deaf. In the following months, they learned that their daughter had a rare degenerative disease and her survival rate was unknown. The reality of having a child

ZLWKPXOWLSOHGLVDELOLWLHVLVRYHUZKHOPLQJIRUDQ\SDUHQWDQG.DUHQ¶VSDUHQWVZHUHQRGLIIHUHQW

As parents, they had to learn how to care for her physical needs as well as how to communicate with her. They were faced with learning a new language and about deaf culture. Their lives were turned upside down by multiple, life-threatening challenges for their daughter. When Mary learned early on that the average deaf child graduated from high school with a fourth grade reading level, she realized that their education goals for Karen had been complicated as well.

Mary wanted her daughter to graduate from high school with a better prospect than an elementary-level education (M. Griffin, personal communication, April 1, 2014). All of this happened with little educational support or expertise. Rather, school and district representatives

107 forced a process of trial and error on Mary and her husband as they struggled to find the most appropriate school for Karen. This process took two years, during which time Mary wrestled with her own beliefs about what was best for her child, given the multiple impairments she faced.

WKDW0DU\NQHZWREHD³QRUPDO´VFKRROH[SHULHQFHZDVLPSRVVLEOHEHFDXVHRI.DUHQ¶V deafness and physical limitations. Yet, she did not want Karen to fall short of what she might

OHDUQDQGDFKLHYHEHFDXVHRIWKRVHGLVDELOLWLHV,QVRPHZD\V.DUHQ¶VPRWKHUZUHVWOHGZLWKKHU own ableist notions of what education should look like. In others, she was simply a parent trying to do what was best for her child at a time when there were few supports and resources available to her through the school system.

The data also reveal that Mary lost trust in the school due to the ableist attitude of some school personnel that Karen faced,WZDVGXULQJ.DUHQ¶VILUVWJUDGHWKDW0DU\IRXQd she had to

HGXFDWHKHUVHOIDERXW.DUHQ¶VULJKWWRDQDSSURSULDWHHGXFDWLRQ. Mary did this by requesting help from RXWVLGHRIWKHVFKRRO7KHLPSHWXVIRU0DU\¶VHIIRUWVZDV.DUHQ¶VVFKRROSODFHPHQW

.DUHQ¶VILUVWJUDGHWHDFKHUGLGQRWEHOLHYH.DUHQVKRuld be mainstreamed, but rather that she should be placed in the self-contained classroom. Mary found herself attending contentious IEP

PHHWLQJVZLWKVFKRROVWDII6KHGLGQRWXQGHUVWDQGWKHSURFHVVQRUGLGVKHNQRZKHUGDXJKWHU¶V civil rights. She began to lose trust in the school staff because they provided little information or support, but rather simply told her what they wanted her to do.

Language Choices. Mary faced ableism of a different nature when she enrolled Karen into the public school system. Mary had to choose a language program for her daughter without guidance or information shared by school personnel. This was a difficult decision for Mary because she did not know anything about deafness nor did she understand how deaf children learned to communicate. The three program choices were the oral program, cued speech

108 program, or the Whole Language (WL) program. Each program was held at a different elementary school and the drive for each school was approximately 30 minutes. The oral progrDP¶VREMHFWLYHZDVWRWHDFKGHDIVWXGHQWVKRZWRGHYHORSWKHLUVSHHFKDQGODQJXDJHVNLOOV

MXVWDVKHDULQJFKLOGUHQ7KHFXHGVSHHFKSURJUDP¶VWDXJKWGHDIFKLOGUHQWRXVHYLVXDOFXHVWR match the phonemes of the spoken language. The WL program taught American Sign Language

(ASL) as the primary mode of communication. Mary chose the oral program because, of the three programs, it was the least scary for her and she did not know which program was the best suited for her daughter (M. Griffin, personal communication, April 1, 2014). Looking at the larger picture, it is quite daunting for parents to realize that they will not be able to communicate with their child in their own primary language. The parents chose a program that would help

Karen fit into their lives²a natural choice for so many parents.

7KHILUVWVWHSIRU0DU\WREHJLQ.DUHQ¶VHGXFDWLRQDWWKHDJHRIPRQWKVZDVWRKDYH her evaluated by an educational team to see if she qualified for special education services. It was confirmed that Karen KDGD³VHYHUH-to-profound sensorineural hearing loss (psychological report, page 1, lines 9- 7KH³3HGLDWULFDQG$GROHVFHQW&HQWHUQRWHGµDVLJQLILFDQWPRWRUGHOD\ thought to be a secondary to non-VSHFLILFP\RSDWK\¶´ SV\FKRORJLFDOUHSRUWSDJHOLQHs 12-13).

'XHWR.DUHQ¶VPHGLFDOGLDJQRVLVVKHZDVDOORZHGWREHJLQSUH-school at the public school at the age of 14 months. By not providing sound professional advice about the best educational setting for Karen, the school system showed a lack of concern for the education of a student with

PXOWLSOHGLVDELOLWLHV7KLVVKRZV0DU\¶VILUVWHQFRXQWHUZLWKDEOHLVPE\VFKRRORIILFLDOV7KH

ODFNRIFRQFHUQIRU.DUHQ¶VDFDGHPLFQHHGVZDVLOOXVWrated each time Mary asked which program was best for her daughter7KHUHVSRQVHIURPWKHVFKRROVWDIIZDVDOZD\Vµ,W¶VZKDWHYHU\RX

ZDQW:KDWHYHUPDNHV\RXIHHOJRRG¶´ 0*ULIILQSHUVRQDOFRPPXQLFDWLRQ$SULO 

Oral program. The goal of the oral program was to have deaf students learn to talk as their primary mode of communication. The idea that Karen could learn to talk was much more appealing to Mary then having Karen learn American Sign Language (ASL). However, after a year and a half in the program, Karen did not learn how to speak. Mary recalled:

[.DUHQ@ZRXOGMXVWQRWUHDOO\HDWWKDWPXFKDQGVKHZDVIOLQJLQJIRRGDQG,¶POLNHZKDWD

EUDW,GRQ¶WXQGHUVWDQG,¶PWU\LQJWRGRDOOWKLVVWXIIDQG\RXKDYHWKHKHDULQJDLGVDQG-

DQGQRWKLQJ,MXVWNHSWKHDULQJOLNHWLFNWRFNWLFNWRFNVKH¶VJHWWLQg farther and farther

EHKLQG%HFDXVHWKHWHDFKHUVDUHVD\LQJ³\RXJRWWRJHWWKHVSHHFKLQ´«DQGZH¶UHWU\LQJ

HYHU\WKLQJEXWVKHVWLOOKDVQRVSHHFK6KH¶VDWRWDOO\VLOHQWFKLOG 0*ULIILQSHUVRQDO

communication, April 1, 2014).

Cued speech program. Realizing Karen was not progressing at the oral school, Mary removed Karen from the program and placed Karen in the cued speech program in January 1991.

Mary asked for guidance from school personnel, but they continually told Mary to chose a program that PDGHKHUFRPIRUWDEOH0DU\GHFLGHGWRWU\FXHGVSHHFKEHFDXVH³WKDWZDVWKHQH[W

OHDVWVFDU\WKLQJ´ 0*ULIILQSHUVRQDOFRPPXQLFDWLRQ$SULO 7KHFXHGVSHHFKWHDFKHU

WROG0DU\WKDWKHU³EURWKHUKDGEHHQUDLVHGZLWKFXHGVSHHFK But later when her brother went to

KLJKVFKRROKHOHDUQHGVLJQODQJXDJH´0DU\WKRXJKW³:HOOWKHQZK\ZRXOGQ¶W\RXMXVWWHDFK

KLPVLJQODQJXDJH"´0DU\EHJDQUHDGLQJDERXW$6/DQGGHFLGHG³LIWKH\¶UHJRLQJWROHDUQVLJQ

ODQJXDJHDQ\ZD\VDQGWKH\¶UHVWLOOH[SRVHGWRWKHRUDOZK\ZRXOGQ¶W,SXWKHULQWKHUH"´.DUHQ

VWD\HGDWWKHFXHGVSHHFKVFKRROIRUDOPRVWWKHHQWLUH³VHPHVWHUDQGWKHRQO\UHDVRQVKHZDV

HYHQWKHUHDVHPHVWHUZDVEHFDXVHWKDW¶VZKHQ%HQbecame ill and was hospitalized´ (M. Griffin, personal communication, April 1, 2014).

Whole Language Program. Karen was 3 years old when she went to the WL program in

May of 1991. The WL program at Morningside Center was housed in Morningside Elementary

School. The philosophy of the school was to provide a learning environment that supported deaf and hard-of-hearing students as they acquired communication skills in the least restrictive environment. The program supported students from preschool to sixth grade. The students could use a variety of methods to communicate such as ASL, gestures, written and spoken

English, and finger spelling. Students were provided amplification devices and technology to support their needs. Each student received an Individualized Education Program (IEP) upon

HQWU\LQWRWKHVFKRRO7KH,(3WHDPGHFLGHGLIWKHVWXGHQW¶VQHHGVZRXOGEHEHWWHUPHWLQDVHOI- contained classroom, a mainstreamed classroom, or a combination of both.

Shortly after Karen began the WL preschool program, Mary remembered a time when the

IDPLO\ZHQWWRWKHLUIDWKHU¶VRIILFHDIWHUVFKRRODQGVKHUHFDOOHG:

[her four kids were] sitting in the conference room and they bring soda to the kids, which

I thought was awesome and so we put it in front of Karen²and she signs milk and then it

dDZQHGRQPHVKH¶GEHHQWKURZLQJVWXIIEHFDXVHVKHGLGQ¶WOLNHVRGD6KHRQO\OLNHG

PLONDQG,¶GEHHQWU\LQJWRJLYHKHUMXLFHDQGVKHGLGQ¶WOLNHLWDQGILQDOO\VKHFRXOG

FRPPXQLFDWHZLWKXVDQGZHMXVWVWDUWHGFU\LQJDQG,¶POLNH,¶PVRVWXSLGEXWQow

VKHKDVODQJXDJHDQG,ZHQWLQDQGWROGWKHWHDFKHUVDQGWKH\ZHUHOLNHµ:H¶YHEHHQ

ZDLWLQJIRUWKLV¶DQGVKHKDGRQO\EHHQLQVFKRROOLNHWKUHHZHHNV 0*ULIILQSHUVRQDO

communication, April 1, 2014)

After two full years of preschool, her speech language teacher reported:

[Karen] has made progress in expressive language. The length of utterances and

sentence complexity are greater on self-initiated expressions than in response to

questions; continued work is needed on answering questions more fully and telling facts

IURPLQIRUPDWLRQLPSDUWHGWRKHU)RUH[DPSOHLIDVNHGLQWKHFODVVURRP³:KDWGLG

\RXGRWKLVPRUQLQJ"´DQGSURPSWHGE\VXJJHVWLRQVVKHZLOOUHVSRQGZLWKRQHHYHQW

and answer yes or no about other actions. [Karen] has accepted sign language readily.

She uses some signs and lots of gestures to express her wants and needs. She seems to

be able to understand a great deal more than she is expressing (natural for her age). She

seems to enjoy being able to sign. She also has the ability to know who she must sign to

and who she can get away with just pointing. She is very receptive. Karen is

progressing very nicely. (speech language teacher, teacher narrative, June 1993)

Karen immediately took to ASL, and her language flourished. She started in the public school system two years prior to provide her services under the IDEA to assure an education equal to KHUSHHUV+RZHYHU.DUHQ¶VODQJXDJHDFTXLVLWLRQZDVGHOD\HGWZR\HDUVEHFDXVHWKH educational professionals did not advise her PRWKHUDERXWWKHEHVWSURJUDPVEDVHGRQ.DUHQ¶V needs and skills. The focus for school personnel was not on the child with the multiple disabilities, but rather on the needs and wants of the mother.

Reduced T rust in the School. The data suggest that Mary lost trust in the school due to the ableist attitude some school personnel displayed toward the belief that Karen could thrive academically in the mainstream classroom. The actions of one school administrator and several

WHDFKHUVORVW0DU\¶VWUXVWWKURXJKWKHLUDFWLRQVWRZDUGV.DUHQ0DU\UHDOL]HGGXULQJ.DUHQ¶V first grade year that school personnel wanted to place Karen in the self-contained classroom,

ZKLFKOHGKHUWRVWDUWDGYRFDWLQJIRUKHUFKLOG¶VHGXFDWLRQDOULJKWV

Mary sought the expertise of school officials when making educational decisions for

Karen. She continually asked the school for assistance on how to best educate her child. To

112 ensure sKHNQHZWKHWHDFKHUDQG.DUHQ¶VFODVVPDWHV0DU\YROXQWHHUHGLQWKHFODVVURRP:KHQ

Karen first entered the preschool program at Morningside Center, school personnel and Mary

ZRUNHGFROODERUDWLYHO\WRHQVXUH.DUHQ¶VVXFFHVV+RZHYHUZKHQ.DUHQHQWHUHGIirst grade the relationship between the school and the family took a negative turn and was never the same again. Table 8 provides a timeline of incidents chronicling the loss of trust between the school

DQG.DUHQ¶VSDUHQWV

Table 8 Incidents in First Grade of Broken Trust Between Family and School

Date Incident Action Result June 1, 1994 IEP signed Worked with Ms. Neill to write goals and objectives for Karen mainstreamed full day for 1st IEP grade January 13, Multi-purpose referral Wrote referral due to concerns of low language level IEP meeting set and educational testing 1995 written by Ms. Perry occurred March 17, 1995 Confidential Student Mary left IEP meeting due to distrust of IEP team. Mary contacted a parent advocate. Records Release/IEP Test results showed Karen to have meeting average intelligence. April 5, 1995 IEP meeting Parents willing to sign. Interim principal refused to sign. Unsigned IEP May 23, 1995 IEP meeting 6FKRROFKDQJHG,(3ZLWKRXWSDUHQW¶VNQRZOHGJH3DUHQWV Unsigned IEP willing to take school to due process. June 5, 1995 Letter to Interim Put the June 1, 1994 into stay put. Another IEP meeting was scheduled. Principal June 16, 1995 Report Card sent home June 20, 1995 Letter to Letter to express SDUHQW¶VFRQFHUQVRYHU,(3SURFHVV Superintendent June 26, 1995 Letter to State /HWWHUWRH[SUHVVSDUHQW¶VFRQFHUQVRYHU,(3SURFHVV Representative July 19, 1995 IEP with new principal Meeting was held and concerns were shared while goals IEP was signed and Karen repeated the Ms. Frederick and objectives were agreed upon by parents and school. 1st grade with a new teacher and interpreter.

Loss of T rust of the Administration. 0V1HLOO.DUHQ¶VSUH-school administrator, was the first who worked with Karen and her family. She walked the family through the IEP process and assured them Karen was progressing as a normal deaf child. However, when Karen entered first grade, her teacher, Ms. Perry, became concerned that Karen was not on grade level with her

SHHUV'XULQJWKHFRXUVHRIWKH\HDU0V3HUU\VKDUHGKHUFRQFHUQVZLWK0DU\DERXW.DUHQ¶V low language ability. Ms. Kenny was the interim principal who was put in place for the 1994-

1995 school year, but Mary did not have the same relationship with Ms. Kenny as she had with

0V1HLOO:KHQ0V3HUU\EHJDQH[SUHVVLQJKHUFRQFHUQVDERXW.DUHQ¶VORZODQJXDJHDELOLW\

Ms. Kenny did not take any action to try to find any supports to assist the student in the classroom. Instead, Ms. Kenny just wanted to move Karen to the self-contained classroom.

In January of 1995, Ms. Perry wrote a multi-purpose referral stating that:

[Karen] appears to be an emergent reader, but her comprehension GRHVQ¶WPDWFKKHU

VLJQHGUHDGLQJDELOLW\2IWHQHYHQDIWHUPXOWLSOHUHDGLQJVVKHLVQ¶WDEOHWRUHWHOODVWRU\

or discuss it. Her writing usually consists of I like«IROORZHGE\DOLVWRIIDPLO\

members. She is not at the developmental point of creating independent journal entries

and she rarely solicits help on how to spell words she would like to use. In math she has

QRWEHHQDEOHWRNHHSSDFHZLWKWKHFODVV6KHKDVQ¶WJUDVSHGIDPLOLHVRIQXPEHUV

subtraction, story problems, and more than and less than. She is not consistent and can

appear to grasp a concept one day only to seem to have lost it by the next day. Because

of her low language she does poorly in science, social studies, and health. She has

received a lot of extra help from me, parent volunteers, and especially from the sign

language interpreter. The interpreter is willing to go beyond her roll [sic] as interpreter

and has been a great help in working with Karen. (J. Perry, multi-purpose referral,

January, 1995)

Ms. Perry continued E\VWDWLQJWKDW.DUHQ³GRHVQ¶WDSSHDUWRKDYHDstrong language base.

:KHQFRQYHUVLQJVKHWDONVDERXWDWRSLFVXSHUILFLDOO\DQGVKRZVGLIILFXOW\VWD\LQJRQWRSLF´ -

Perry, multipurpose referral, January, 1995). While Ms. Perry believed school personnel went above and beyond to support Karen, Mary believed they were not meeting the needs of her daughter.

On several occasions Mary requested that the school provide the vocabulary for the upcoming units so she could work with Karen at home and learn how to sign the vocabulary herself. Ms. Kenny denied this request. Mary questioned the compatibility of the interpreter

ZLWK.DUHQ¶VODQJXDJHOHYHODQGUHTXHVWHGWKDWWKHVFKRROVZLWFKLQWHUSUHWHUVDQGRUSODFH.DUHQ

ZLWKDQHZWHDFKHUDQGDQHZLQWHUSUHWHU+HUPRWKHUZDQWHGWRVHHLILWZDV.DUHQ¶VDELOLW\RULf the teacher and/or the interpreter were not an appropriate match for Karen. Again, Ms. Kenny refused to try anything new and did so without explanation. (M. Griffin, personal communication, April 1, 2014).

The data reveal that the next loss of trust between Mary and school was in the first grade when she did not allow the school psychologist to test Karen for her triennial evaluation. The testing consisted of an IQ test and a psychological assessment. The school psychologist did not know how to sign; WKHUHIRUH.DUHQ¶Vfirst grade interpreter was supposed to interpret all of the tests to Karen. Mary learned that she could have an outside psychologist who signed fluently

FRQGXFW.DUHQ¶VWHVWLQJ0DU\EHOLHYHGWKDW.DUHQGLGQRWXQGHUVWDQGKHULQWHUSUeter and she did not want another interpreter to sign for Karen. Mary preferred to have a person who signed

116 straight to her daughter and not have to be concerned whether Karen understood an interpreter.

(M. Griffin, personal communication, April 1, 2014).

The psychological assessment stated that Karen used expressive language minimally in the class that was observed. The psychologist wrote that this was not due to a cognitive or attentional reason and did not have a reason as to why Karen was not expressing herself.

)XUWKHUPRUH.DUHQ¶VDUHDRIZHDNQHVVZDVKHUDELOLW\WRUHPHPEHUZRUGVHTXHQFHV&RPSDUHG to hearing students on this assessment, Karen performed on the low-average range; however, when compared to her deaf peers she was considered average. This portion of the assessment supported the fact that Karen had the cognitive capability to develop language (psychological assessment, March 3, 1995, p. 4). During her observation of Karen in the classroom, the psychologist noted that Karen paid attHQWLRQWRKHUWHDFKHUDSSURSULDWHO\DQGVKLIWHGKHU³YLVXDO

DWWHQWLRQWRUHDGKHULQWHUSUHWHU¶VVLJQV ZKLFKGRQRWFRUUHVSRQGGLUHFWO\WRWKH(QJOLVKIRUP ´

(psychological assessment, March 3, 1995). The psychologist believed that Karen was

³H[SHQGLQJFRQVLGHUDEOHHQHUJ\MXVWWU\LQJWRJHWWKHOLQJXLVWLFLQIRUPDWLRQLQV\QFK´

(psychological assessment, March 3, 1995).

Loss of T rust of the I EP Process. The triennial meeting was held on March 17, 1995.

Mary reported that in her heart of hearts she knew that Karen was smart and could be successful in the mainstream class. She felt that the school just wanted to take the easy way out and put

Karen into the self-contained classroom. An hour before the meeting to discuss the findings of the assessments, thHSV\FKRORJLVWIURPWKHGHDIXQLYHUVLW\SXOOHG0DU\DVLGHDQGVDLG³6KH¶V very smart. Do not let them put her in self-FRQWDLQHG«7KH\¶UHJRLQJWRWU\WRGRWKLV'RQRWOHW

WKHPGRWKLVZLWKWKLVFKLOG´ 0*ULIILQSHUVRQDOFRPPXQLFDWLRQ$SULO  The school

SV\FKRORJLVWOHGWKHPHHWLQJDQG0DU\UHPHPEHUV.DUHQ¶VILUVWJUDGHWHDFKHUUHDGLQJWKHPXOWL- purpose referral aloud with her concerns.

0DU\UHFDOOHGVLWWLQJDWWKHHQGRIWKHWDEOHJRLQJ³2KP\*RG´EHFDXVHthe teacher basically said what a terrible person Karen was. She said she had no friends. She would never

KDYHDQ\IULHQGVDQGVKH¶VQRWVPDUWDQGVKHZHQWWKURXJKWKLVWZR-page thing and it just ripped

Karen. 6KH¶VVL[\HDUVROGDQGWKHSV\FKRORJLVW, WKHPDQZKR,ZRXOGQ¶WOHWWHVWKHU, VDLGµ:HOO

REYLRXVO\VKH¶VJRLQJEHIRXQGHOLJLEOH%XW,GRQ¶WNQRZLIVKH¶V/'$''RU$'+'¶´

(personal communication, April 1, 2014). Mary was so upset by what was being said about her

GDXJKWHUWKDWVKH³ZDONHGRXWRIWKHEXLOGLQJ´OHDYLQJWKH,(3Xnsigned (M. Griffin, personal communication, April 2014).

When Mary got home, a Morningside Center employee, who was at the meeting, called

0DU\DQGVKHVDLG³>0V*ULIILQ@ZKDWWKH\GLGWR\RXZDVDZIXODWWKDWPHHWLQJ¶´ 0*ULIILQ personal communication, April 1, 2014). According to Mary, this school employee continued by

VD\LQJWKHVFKRROKDG³¶PHHWLQJVEHIRUHWKLVDQGQRQHRIXVFRXOGVD\DQ\WKLQJWRVXSSRUW\RX

EXW\RXKDYHWRILJKWIRU.DUHQEHFDXVHZKDWWKH\¶UHGRLQJLVZURQJ«$QGWKHQ,JRWSLVsed and

WKHQ,VWDUWHGGRLQJVRPHUHVHDUFK´ SHUVRQDOFRPPXQLFDWLRQ$SULO 

After learning about the findings of the psychologist and the disagreements Mary was experiencing with school personnel, Mary said that she needed to get a parent advocate for the

IEP meetings with the school:

%HFDXVH,GLGQ¶WNQRZHQRXJKWRJRLQDQG,GLGQ¶WNQRZWKHODZDQG,GLGQ¶WNQRZZKDW

ZDVDYDLODEOHDQG,NQHZWKDW,QHHGHGKHOS%HFDXVH,ZDVMXVWDSDUHQWDQG,GLGQ¶W

NQRZ,GLGQ¶WNQRZ6R,IHOWOLNHDIWHUWKDWPHHWLQJWKH\ZHUHJRLQJWRJDQJup against

me. It was me against, you know, a lot of people (M. Griffin, personal communication,

April 1, 2014).

During the IEP process, Mary said:

I felt like they [school officials] were being kind of sneaky in how they did it you know?

/LNHDORWRIPXPERMXPERDQGLI,GLGQ¶WKDYHWKHSDUHQWDGYRFDWHWKHUH,ZRXOGQ¶W

have known I could stand up to them (M. Griffin, personal communication, April 1,

Mary contested the IEP because she learned as the school year progressed that school personnel were not adhering to the IEP that was in put in place on June 1, 1994. The IEP stated

WKDW.DUHQ¶Vparticipation in the regular education classroom was to be 91.6%. She was to be

³IXOO\PDLQVWUHDPHGZLWKDVLJQODQJXDJHLQWHUSUHWHUZLWKRQJRLQJFRQVXOWDWLRQZLWKWKH:/

VWDIIDVQHFHVVDU\´ ,(3March 3, 1995, p. 15). ,QWKLV,(3RQHRI.DUHQ¶VDQQXDOJRDOVZDV

IRU.DUHQWR³EHQHILWIURPVXSSRUWVHUYLFHVSURYLGHGE\:/SHUVRQQHO´ ,(3March 3, 1995, p.

7). A short-WHUPREMHFWLYHZDVWR³EHQHILWIURPDVKRUWWHUPEORFNRIVSHFLDOL]HGLQVWUXFWLRQ

ZKHQQHHGHG´DQG³EHQHILWIURPFRQVXOWDWLRQEHWZHHQFODVVURRPWHDFKHUDQG:/WHDFKHU´ ,(3

June 1, 1994, p. 7). However, the support for Karen was not coming from the WL teacher.

Admittedly, the WL teacher was too busy to leave her self-contained hearing-impaired classroom to come into the mainstream classroom to work with Karen. To adhere to the IEP, the interim principal decided to have the physical disabilities (PD) teacher work with Karen on reading and writing. Karen was pulled from class two times a week to work with the PD teacher. The sign language interpreter facilitated communication during these bi-weekly sessions and assisted the

PD teacher on how to work with Karen (IEP meeting minutes, July 19, 1995, p. 18). Neither of these employees was qualified to teach the deaf, let alone to teach the deaf reading and writing.

This example also provides evidence that, while the school may have met the letter of an IEP mandate, it did so with disregard for what was most effective for the Karen.

Under the leadership of Ms. Kenny, the IEP was not signed on two more occasions. On

April 5, 1995, the parents were willing to sign the IEP, but it was Ms. Kenny who would not sign the IEP. The parents wanted to add a section on how the interpreter should work with Karen.

0V.HQQ\ZDVXQVXUHLIWKHUROHRIWKHLQWHUSUHWHUFRXOGEHDGGHGWRWKHVWXGHQW¶V,(3 Also,

Mary stated that IEP had already been written prior to the meeting. Mary did not know at the time that an IEP was supposed to be written in conjunction with the parent (IEP meeting, July 19,

The May 23 IEP meeting was quite contentious in the fact that the school changed

Karen's percentage of hours she was to spend in the mainstream class without discussion with or acknowledgement of the parents. This IEP was not signed and the parents were ready to take the school to due process. The parents wrote a letter to Ms. Kenny stating they would not sign the

,(3³DVLWdid not allow Karen to be educated with children who are not disabled, to the

PD[LPXPH[WHQWSRVVLEOH´ OHWWHUIURPSDUHQWVRI.DUHQ-XQH 7KHOHWWHUVWDWHG³:H will reconvene with you and the IEP team if you are prepared to reconsider the classroom placement to a more heterogeneous grouping. If you choose not to amend this proposed IEP,

.DUHQ¶VODVWVLJQHG,(3RI-XQHZLOOUHPDLQLQHIIHFW´ OHWWHUIURPSDUHQWs of Karen, June

5, 1995). Under the leadership of Ms. Kenny, the IEP was never signed, the parents resorted to hiring a parent advocate to attend all subsequent IEP meetings with them, and the trust was broken between the school and the parents.

Loss of T rust of Individual Teachers. .DUHQ¶VWKLUGJUDGH\HDU0V)UHGHULFNFUHDWHG

DFODVVURRPWKDWVXSSRUWHG.DUHQ¶VODQJXDJHQHHGV$UHJXODUHGXFDWLRQWHDFKHU0V/HZLVDQG

120 a deaf education teacher, Ms. Ellis, taught the class together as a team. The idea was to have both teachers teach the whole class. Once again, I was the interpreter in the classroom. When

Ms. Lewis taught the class or talked with a student, I signed for her and voiced when one of the deaf students signed. When Ms. Ellis taught a lesson, she signed and talked at the same time while I continued to voice for the deaf students. Ms. Ellis was also there to support Karen and

Scott in language. In the afternoon, two other deaf students from the self-contained class joined the classroom for math.

According to the IEP, the history and language arts vocabulary units were supposed to be pre-taught by Ms. Ellis. After school, Claire, Karen's tutor, continued to work with Karen in all subjects (M. Griffin, personal communication, April 1, 2014). Mary heard that the regular education teacher was a good teacher and had heard a few things about the teacher of the deaf.

Mary was happy to have Ms. Ellis in the classroom because Ms. Ellis understood deafness. The plan was for Ms. Ellis to give spelling words and upcoming vocabulary words for social studies units to Mary before starting a lesson. Claire would then work with Karen at home, and Mary could learn the signs along with Karen. However, Mary noted that nothing was being sent home from the school. Mary called Ms. Frederick and shortly thereafter Ms. Ellis sent home lists of

Native American names the class would be studying and spelling words. Ms. Ellis did not provide an explanation of how these vocabulary words were to be signed (M. Griffin, personal communication, April 1, 2014). For example, there is no sign for Cherokee Indians. As a group,

Ms. Ellis, Karen, Scott, and I would create a sign that we would use for Cherokee and we would maintain it for the duration of the unit.

Mary said she was not familiar with the public school curriculum since her older children attended Catholic schools. She wanted to know what Karen needed to know so she could

121 support her at home. She wanted to be able to sign to her daughter about her lessons, but without the support of the teacher she did not know how to help Karen at home. According to the IEP,

0DU\ZDVDOVRVXSSRVHGWRJHWDZHHNO\ORJRI.DUHQ¶VSURJUHVVLQWKHFODVVURRPEXWWKLVGLG not happen. She said that she was supposed to get DZHHNO\ORJIURP0V0LWFKHOO¶VFODVVURRP but did not push it with Ms. Mitchell because she knew Karen was doing well in the classroom.

%XWZLWK0V(OOLV0DU\VDLG³,ZDVJRLQJWRSXVKLWZLWKKHUEHFDXVH,GLGQ¶WWUXVWKHU´(M.

Griffin, personal communication, April 1, 2014). She said that she knew that Karen gravitated toward Ms. Lewis and to me in the classroom and did not go to Ms. Ellis for assistance. In the end, Mary communicated with the regular education teacher and just avoided Ms. Ellis all together (M. Griffin, personal communication, April 1, 2014).

Karen missed the majority of her fourth grade year for two reasons: (a) a severe illness during which she was put into an induced coma, and (b) surgery in spring for multiple sclerosis.

Karen started her fifth grade year concerned about her appearance. She had to use a wheelchair at all times and she now had a feeding tube that she did not want anyone to see (M.

Griffin, personal communication, April 1, 2014). When 5th grade began, Karen was excited to have Ms. Roberts as her teacher. There was every indication that this was going to be a successful year for Karen because Ms. Roberts knew Karen personally. Karen and Ms.

5REHUWV¶VGDXJKWHUSOD\HGWRJHWKHULQVFKRRODQGKDGSOD\GDWHVDWHDFKRWKHU¶VKRXVHLQWKHWKLUG

JUDGH+RZHYHUIURPWKHILUVWIHZZHHNVRIVFKRRO0V5REHUWVEHOLHYHG.DUHQ¶VZULWLQJOHYHO was too low to stay in the class. She expressed her concerns and the tension between Mary and

Ms. Roberts grew through the year (C. Kendrick, personal communication, January 4, 2014).

&ODLUHXQGHUVWRRGWKDWWKHPDLQVWUHDPWHDFKHUVZHUHFRQFHUQHGDERXW.DUHQ¶VODQJXDJH level; however:

\RXGRQ¶WQHHGWREHZRUULHG [about Karen's language level]. She will get there. You

know VKH¶VJHWWing ± the difference to me was is that if you put her in ± 2.OHW¶VVD\ZH

SXWKHULQWKHVHOIFRQWDLQHGFODVVZKLFKSUREDEO\KDV«ORZWRKLJK GHDIVWXGHQWV ±

.DUHQ¶VSUREDEO\RQWKHKLJKHUHQGRIWKDWFODVV 7KH\¶UHWHDFKLQJWRWKHPLGGOH6RDOO

the goRGODQJXDJHVKH¶VQRWJHWWLQJ6R,NHSWVD\LQJ³-XVWOHDYHKHUWKHUHDQGOHWKHUJHW

as much as she can because it will all ± you know somehow this will all come out in high

VFKRRO´ SHUVRQDOFRPPXQLFDWLRQ-DQXDU\ 

Ms. Roberts believed that Karen should be independent in the classroom. Karen was in a manual wheelchair because Mary wanted her to use her upper body strength as much as possible.

3OXVWKHDSSHDUDQFHRIDPDQXDOZKHHOFKDLUGLGQRWORRNDV³EDGDVDQHOHFWULFZKHHOFKDLU´ 0

Griffin, personal communication, April 1, 2014). One day there was a fire drill at school. Ms.

Roberts and Ms. Murphy, the WL teacher, felt it was the responsibility of Karen to push herself to the safe room in the school. Neither teacher ensured that Karen got to the safe room; instead they left Karen alone in the classroom. When Karen got home that afternoon, she informed her

PRWKHU0DU\LPPHGLDWHO\FDOOHG0V)UHGHULFNDQG0V)UHGHULFNZDV³DEVROXWHO\OLYLG´ 0

Griffin, personal communication, April 1, 2014). While Ms. Frederick said this would never happen again, the teachers and the interpreter continued to say it was not their responsibility to

SXVK.DUHQ¶VZKHHOFKDLUDWDQ\WLPH0DU\VDLGVKHEHOLHYHG, ³7KH\GLGQRWZDQWKHUWKHUHDQG

I think tKDW¶VZKHQWKH\VWDUWHGFKDQJLQJFODVVURRPVWRRDQGLWZDVNLQGRIDERWKHU´ SHUVRQDO

FRPPXQLFDWLRQ$SULO ,Q0DU\¶VRSLQLRQVKHEHOLHYHG0V5REHUWVWUXO\GLGQRWZDQW

Karen in the class. Claire said that the trust was broken back in the first grade and the fire drill incident just added to that feeling of distrust (C. Kendrick, personal interview, January, 2014).

Finding B: Resources Needed for Success.

The factors needed for Karen to prevail over the ableist attitude of staff members include:

(a) an effective school leader, (b) supportive adults, and (c) the self-determination to achieve personal goals. The following sections provide examples of how Karen was able to be successful in school. These examples were taken from excerpts of interviews and from the documents that were written about her education.

An Effective School Leader

The data collected indicate that an effective school leader plays an essential role in the education of a student with multiple disabilities. The school leader¶VUROHHPHUJHVDVDNH\ factor in creating a positive school environment for the student and the family. There were school leaders who demonstrated their understanding of the needs of students with multiple disabilities and worked collaboratively with KaUHQ¶VIDPLO\ Examples are included for three leaders, Ms. Neill, principal of Morningside Center, Ms. Kenny, interim principal of

Morningside Center, and Ms. Frederick, principal of Morningside Center. The data indicate that an administrator needs to work collaboratively with the student and the family when discussing

WKHVWXGHQW¶VHGXFDWLRQDOJRDOV3OXVWKHDGPLQLVWUDWRUQHHGVWRKDYHNQRZOHGJHRIVSHFLDO education and be able to write and implement an IEP properly. Finally, an administrator needs to realize they set the tone of building positive relationships between the family and the school.

Collaboration with the Family. Families with children who are disabled come to the school and seek the expertise of school officials. The data provide examples of how school

OHDGHUVFRQWULEXWHGWRWUXVWLQJFROODERUDWLYHUHODWLRQVKLSVLQWKHFRXUVHRI.DUHQ¶VHGXFDWLRQ

Ms. Neill was the first administrator who worked with Karen and her family. She walked the family through the IEP process and assured them Karen was progressing as a normal deaf

FKLOG0DU\VDLGWKDWZRUNLQJZLWK³0V1HLOOZDVDZHVRPH´ SHUVRQDOFRPPXQLFDWLRQ$SULO

2014). Ms. Neill explained that Karen was going to start working with an interpreter and that

Karen needed to learn how to use an interpreter. Mary felt that Ms. Neill was there to help build the skills Karen needed to be successful in school. In short, Ms. Neill worked with the family

(Mary, personal communication, April 1. 2014).

Ms. Neill understood the academic strengths and weaknesses of a student who was deaf.

$IWHU0V1HLOOUHWLUHG0DU\FRQWDFWHGKHUWRDVNKHUDGYLFHDERXW.DUHQ¶VDFDGHPLFSURJUHVVLQ the first grade. Mary was fearful that the school was going to label Karen as being learning disabled (LD). Ms. Neill told MaU\WR³/HWWKHPWHVW.DUHQ; WKH\ZLOOILQGVKH¶VQRW/'6KH¶V performing as a normal 6-year-ROGGHDIFKLOG´ WHDFKHUMRXUQDO'HFember 12, 1994). Ms. Neill understood two important facts about Karen as a deaf first grade student. First, she knew that

KDUHQ¶VDFDGHPLFWHVWLQJVKRZHG.DUHQDVDVWXGHQWZLWKDYHUDJHLQWHOOLJHQFH7KLVSULQFLSDO knew that Karen was quite capable of being successful in the mainstream classroom. Second, she knew that Karen, like so many deaf children, was language delayed. Ms. Neill never doubted that, ZLWK.DUHQ¶VDELOLW\DQGZLWKWKHVXSSRUWRIKHUIDPLO\, she would be able to do well in school. Ms. Frederick was an administrator who knew Karen was determined to do well in school and was instrumental in supporting Karen through elementary school (C. Kendrick, personal communication, January 4, 2014).

Ms. Frederick was creative in designing a supportive environment for Karen in the classroom and built a positive relationship with the family. Ms. Frederick came to Morningside

Center with a degree in elementary education and deaf education. Ms. Frederick was always

125 looking for the best way to support the needs of the students in the building. When Karen was in the third grade, Ms. Frederick understood her language was still below grade level. She created a classroom for Karen that supported her needs by placing a teacher of the deaf in the classroom

WRVXSSRUWWKHPDLQVWUHDPWHDFKHU0V)UHGHULFNOLNH0V1HLOONQHZ.DUHQ¶VVWUHQJWKVDQG weaknesses. She continued to bXLOGDSRVLWLYHUHODWLRQVKLSZLWKWKHIDPLO\$IWHU.DUHQ¶VILUVW grade year, Mary never truly trusted the school fully again and maintained a parent advocate.

+RZHYHU0DU\VWDWHGWKDW0V)UHGHULFNZDVDOZD\VKHUDQFKRUIRUWKHUHVWRI.DUHQ¶V elementary school years (M. Griffin, personal communication, April 1, 2014).

K nowledge of the Individualized Education Program (I EP). The data collected indicate that an administrator needs to know the laws established by IDEA to ensure the student with disabiliWLHV¶DFDGHPLFQHHGVDUHEHLQJPHWLQWKHFODVVURRPDQGWKDWWHDFKHUVDUHIROORZLQJ the IEP properly. The evidence collected in this study suggests that two of the administrators,

Ms. Neill and Ms. Frederick, implemented the IEP properly and effectively.

Ms. Neill educated the parents about the IEP process. Mary stated that the meetings were small in nature and only the people who would be working with Karen attended the IEP meeting.

6KHVDLG³It was always very nice, non-confrontational. It was easy. They would talk to me and

VD\µ7KLVLVZKDWZHWKLQN.DUHQFRXOGGR¶´ 0*ULIILQSHUVRQDOFRPPXQLFDWLRQ$SULO

Ms. Frederick worked with the family and the parent advocate and made sure the teachers followed the IEP. The IEP team reconvened on July 19, 1995. Ms. Frederick attended the meeting as the newly hired principal. At the meeting, the facilitator of the meeting stated:

Ms. Frederick is the person who will take this process forward and assure that Karen will

KDYHWKHSURJUDPWKDW¶VDppropriate for her, and that the IEP as we determine that it needs

to be ± whatever we determine is the appropriate program for Karen for the fall, Ms.

Frederick will be the one to carry out that and to ensure that that program happens...(KR,

IEP meeting, July 19, 1995, p. 3)

When Ms. Frederick learned that the Griffins wanted to have goals for how the interpreter should work with Karen, she quickly informed all parties that goals were written for students; not the people who work with the students. That issue was quickly resolved and goals were written for Karen on how to implement the use of an interpreter. The IEP meeting

FRQWLQXHGDQG0V)UHGHULFNOLVWHQHGWRWKHSDUHQWV¶JRDOVIRUWKHLUFKLOGDQGVKHKHOSHGWKHP write appropriate, reasonable goals and objectives for Karen.

Influencing Positive Interactions. The data suggest that administrators play a key role

LQWKHDWWLWXGHRIVWDIIPHPEHUVWRZDUGVWXGHQWVZLWKPXOWLSOHGLVDELOLWLHV'XULQJ.DUHQ¶V years at Morningside Elementary, there were three administrators, Ms. Neill, Ms. Kenny, and Ms.

Frederick. The only year Karen did not feel supported by a teacher and other staff members was the year Ms. Kenny was the interim principal. Table 9 displays the language teachers used to

GHVFULEH.DUHQ¶VDWWLWXGHXQGHUHDFKDGPLQLVWUDWRU¶VOHDGHUVKLS

Table 9 ScKRRO3HUVRQQHO¶V'HVFULSWLRQVRI.DUHQ¶V$WWLWXGH

Ms. Neill Ms. Kenny Ms. Frederick nd ³6KHZRUNVGLOLJHQWO\XQWLOWDVNVDUH ³:KHQVKHSHUFHLYHVWKHZRUNWREHGLIILFXOW.DUHQ When she became an older in 2 JUDGH³, FRPSOHWHG´ 0V3UHVOH\UHSRUWFDUG typically tends to stop responding. She does not really remember starting to see her Feb. 29, 1993). XVXDOO\UHVSRQGSRVLWLYHO\ZKHQFRD[HGWRWU\´ 3' progressing, you know, in her willingness to teacher, IEP, April 5, 1995). WU\VRPHWKLQJ´ &.HQGULck, personal communication, Jan. 2014). ³2QRFFDVLRQVKHZLOOUHIXVHWR ³:KHQJLYHQZULWLQJDVVLJnments [Karen] usually ³$QGWKHLQWHUHVWLQJWKLQJDERXWKHUDQG, participate, often wanting her turn after begins with I like and then lists names of family think this is where people got the wrong everyone else has had a turn and we are members. Currently, she is paired with another impression of her, is that she did not want to PRYLQJRQWRWKHQH[WDFWLYLW\´ 0V student who models story writing, however, she is a make a mistake and she was not going to Presley, report card, Feb. 29, 1993). very concrete learner and when presented with a answer a question if she thought she was going writing assignment based on wishes, [Karen] told WREHZURQJ´ &.HQGULFNSHUVRQDO about things she had done. It was apparent that she communication, Jan. 2014). did not understand wishes in spite of interpreter H[SODQDWLRQV´ 3'7HDFKHU,(3$SULO  .DUHQ³KDVPDGHIULHQGVZLWKDOORIKHU .DUHQ³LVDVL[\HDUROGILUVWJUDGHVWXGHQWZKRLVDQ ³$OLFLDDQG(OLVHSUREDEO\PDGHPRUH classmates this year and is very much a enthusiastic class participant. She has added a RYHUWXUHVWRZDUGVKHU\RXNQRZDQGWKDW¶V FDUHJLYHUFRPIRUWLQJWKRVHLQGLVWUHVV´ special dimension to our classroom and is a delight to SUREDEO\ZKHUHVKHIHOWOLNHµ2.,FDQEH (speech language teacher, IEP, June, ZRUNZLWKLQFODVV´ 3HUU\PXOWL-purpose referral, IULHQGVZLWKWKHP¶DQGWKHQ/HVOLHZDVVRVK\ 1993). Jan. 13, 1995). herself WKDWWKH\PDGHDJRRGSDLU´ & Kendrick, personal communication, Jan. 2014). ³,¶PVXUHWKDWVKHKDVORWVRISRWHQWLDO ³6KHKDVDOVREHHQGLDJQRVHGDVKDYLQJDPXVFXODU 2nd grade ± ³,MXVWUHPHPEHUVKHZDVKDSS\ ORFNHGXSLQVLGHRIKHU,¶PDQ[LRXVWR dystrophy-OLNHV\QGURPH,QVSLWHRIDOORIWKLV´ and Mary was hDSS\´ &.HQGULFNSHUVRQDO get it out. I look forward to great things .DUHQ³DSSHDUVWREHDYHU\KDSS\VRFLDEOHSHUVRQ´ communication, Jan. 2014). LQWKHIDOO´ 0V3UHVOH\UHSRUWFDUG-XQH (unidentified teacher, IEP, May 11, 1995). 1993).

Under the leadership of Ms. Neill the teachers in the building displayed a positive attitude

WRZDUGV.DUHQ¶VDELOLWLHV0V3UHVOH\UHPDLQVRQHRI.DUHQ¶VIDYRULWHWHDFKHUVDQG.DUHQ credits Ms. Presley as the person who taught her how to communicate in ASL. The family still holds fond memories of Ms. Neill and understands that she introduced ASL to Karen and offered support as she progressed in her early years of education.

Ms. Frederick tried new methods to support Karen in the classroom. Ms. Frederick created classrooms that had team teaching between a regular education teacher and a teacher of the deaf. She also ensured that Karen had interpreters that supported her language needs, and she maintained open communication with teachers to ensure her expectations were being followed.

Interestingly, under the leadership of Ms. Frederick, Mary had disagreements with two teachers, Ms. Ellis, the third grade WL teacher, and Ms. Roberts, the fifth grade teacher. Ms.

Ellis believed that Karen was being given too many accommodations, and Ms. Roberts did not think her reading and writing level were up to par to stay in the mainstream classroom (C.

Kendrick, personal communication, January 2014). However, Karen reflected that she never felt the tension at school between the teachers or her mother during third and fifth grades (K. Griffin, personal communication, May 20, 2012). Karen more than likely did not feel the tension in third grade because her mother relied on the regular education teacher and I was in the classroom

VXSSRUWLQJ.DUHQ¶VODQJXDJHQHHGV7KHUHDVRQ.DUHQPD\QRWKDYHEHHQDZDUHRIWKHWHQVLRQV between her mother and the fifth JUDGHWHDFKHUFRXOGEHGXHWR.DUHQ¶VFKDQJHLn her physical appearance. Karen missed the majority of fourth grade due to her serious illness and surgery.

As a result, she received homebound services for the remainder of the school year. She had not been with her classmates for almost a year when she entered the 5th grade in a wheelchair and she had a feeding tube attached to her torso. Mary reported that Karen started off the year not

129 feeling positive about her appearance. Halfway through the 5th grade Karen broke her thighbone which became a major undertaking due to her fragile health. As a result, she had another surgery which kept put her out of the classroom setting once again. Mary believes if Karen had stayed in school that year instead of receiving homebound teaching, the year would have been another negative year academically (M. Griffin, personal communication, April 1, 2014).

Ms. Frederick came to Morningside Center in June of 1995 after school let out for the summer. The first time Mary and her husband met Ms. Frederick was at the July 19, 1995, IEP meeting for Karen. Mary came to the meeting with her parent advocate and was prepared to take the school to due process. However, the parent advocate assured Mary that Ms. Frederick was a person the family could work with and that she was trustworthy (M. Griffin, personal communication, April 1, 2014). Ms. Frederick was always looking for the best way to support the needs of the students in the building. When Karen was in the third grade, Ms. Frederick understood her language was still below grade level. She created a classroom for Karen that supported her needs by placing a teacher of the deaf in the classroom to support the mainstream

WHDFKHU0V)UHGHULFNOLNH0V1HLOONQHZ.DUHQ¶VVWUHQJWKVDQGZHDNQHVVHV6KHFRQWLQXHG tREXLOGDSRVLWLYHUHODWLRQVKLSZLWKWKHIDPLO\0DU\VDLG³,UHDOO\UHVSHFWHG0V)UHGHULFNDQG

I really liked the fact that I could call her and she would call me back, and I never had that

H[SHULHQFHZLWKDSULQFLSDO´ 0*ULIILQSHUVRQDOFRPPXQLFDWLRQ$SULO $IWHU.DUHQ¶V first grade year, Mary never truly trusted the school fully again and maintained a parent advocate.

+RZHYHU0DU\VWDWHGWKDW0V)UHGHULFNZDVDOZD\VKHUDQFKRUIRUWKHUHVWRI.DUHQ¶V elementary school years (M. Griffin, personal communication, April 1, 2014). Mary explained:

Ms. Frederick was always there advocating for us. But we had issues with various

WHDFKHUVDQGZHVKRXOGQ¶WKDYHKDG%XWLWZDVQ¶W0V)UHGHULFN¶VIDXOW6KHWULHGDQG

WKH\ WHDFKHUV GLGQ¶WGRWheir part and she would work with them, but I was shocked at

how many issues we still had. (M. Griffin, personal interview, April 1, 2014).

For example, Karen faced teachers in the third and fifth grade who, once again, did not believe she could be successful in the mainstream classroom.

Supportive Adults

The data collected suggest Karen needed to have a person who provided academic and social support during her schooling. )URPWKHYHU\EHJLQQLQJ0DU\ZDVUHDOLVWLFDERXW.DUHQ¶V disabilities. She knew that the physical disability could kill her daughter. She also knew the world her daughter was entering was a hearing world (M. Griffin, personal communication, April

1, 2014). Mary and Keith did not try to change Karen; however, they taught her that she needed to learn how to be independent (M. Griffin, personal communication, April, 1, 2014).

$VDSDUHQWRIFKLOGZLWKPXOWLSOHGLVDELOLWLHV0DU\HGXFDWHGKHUVHOIDERXW.DUHQ¶V physical disabilities and surrounded herself with people who could support KDUHQ¶VDFDGHPLF and social needs. Previously, Mary was a nurse, so she knew how to care for her children's physical needs. What proved to be the most challenging was educating herself about the IEP process, becoming fluent in ASL, and learning how deaf children are effectively educated. But

Mary learned quickly she could not teach Karen how to advocate and communicate for herself all alone. As a result, she sought out people to assist her. These included a private tutor, sign language interpreters, understanding teachers, and a parent advocate.

0DU\¶VUHODWLRQVKLSZLWKWKHWHDFKHUVDQGDGPLQLVWUDWRUVKDGDGLUHFWLPSDFWRQ.DUHQ¶V

HGXFDWLRQ'XULQJ.DUHQ¶Vfirst grade year, Mary began to find support outside of the school.

These people were knowledgeable in deaf education, sign language, and special education law.

She learned quickly who were the teachers who worked well with students in the special

131 education program. All of these people helped Mary to be less VWUHVVHGGXULQJ.DUHQ¶V elementary school years. Karen said:

I remember that in my first year with Ms. Perry, Mom was so stressed out. She felt she

KDGWRWHDFKPHHYHU\WKLQJLQVWHDGRIWKHWHDFKHU7KHQZKHQ,ZDVLQ0V0LWFKHOO¶V

class, she felt more relaxed. I was happy and she was happy. 7KHILUVW\HDU,ZDVQ¶W

KDSS\DWDOODQGP\0RPFRXOGVHHWKDWDQGVKHGLGQ¶WNQRZZKDWWRGR6KHNQHZ0V

0LWFKHOOZDVILQHDQGVKHNQHZZKDWWRGR0\0RPZDVQ¶WVWUHVVHGRXWDQ\PRUH.

(personal communication, May 20, 2012)

Mary needed the outside support just as Karen needed the support.

Understanding Teachers. Claire recalled that:

H[SHFWDQF\LVQRWJRLQJWREHWKDWORQJ:K\GRQ¶WWKH\MXVWOHWKHUUHOD[DQGHQMR\KHU

life ± you know ± ZK\DUHWKH\SXVKLQJVRKDUGRQDFDGHPLFV´ SHUVRQDOFRPPXQLFDWLRQ

Some teachers believed that Karen was not going to live very long so she should be able to enjoy her life and not have to focus so much on school (personal communication, January 4, 2014.)

:KLOHWKHUHZHUHSHRSOHZKRZHUHV\PSDWKHWLFWR.DUHQ¶V disability, their sympathies were a

OLPLWDWLRQRQ.DUHQ¶VSRWHQWLDODOPRVWDVGDPDJLQJDVWKHPDQ\VFKRROSHUVRQQHOZKREHOLHYHG

Karen was lazy and just did not want to do the work. As explained in the socio-cultural assessment that Karen took in 1st grade, Karen would go through weak spells, often when she had just returned from a bout with pneumonia. When Karen was tired, she became stubborn.

She would not participate in activities in the classroom or in PE. Some teachers said that she was just being lazy and/or that she was receiving special treatment because her mother was so

132 involved in her education (M. Griffin, personal communication, April 1, 2014). However, the truth was that there were days she just was not feeling well. Some of her teachers were able to learn when Karen was truly not feeling well and they let her work at her pace. Of course, just like any child, Karen on occasion would try to get out of some work by saying she was not feeling well, but some of the teachers knew her well enough to know when to believe her and when to tell her to get to work (E. Reilly, personal communication, February 5, 2012). The most effective teachers, then, were able to balance empathy and expectations.

Tutors. &ODLUHEHFDPH.DUHQ¶VWXWRUZKHQ.DUHQZDs entering the first grade for the second time and she remained her tutor until she graduated high school. At first Claire went to the house to tutor Karen and her brother a couple of times a week, however, by the fourth grade,

Claire was at the house almost every day during the week. She worked mostly on language and teaching vocabulary to Karen. For example, the summer before Karen was to learn about Egypt

LQWKHIRXUWKJUDGH&ODLUHWXUQHGWKH*ULIILQ¶VEDVHPHQWLQWRDQ(J\SWLDQPXVHXP6KHWDXJKW

Karen all about mummies, tombs, kings, and pyramids (E. Reilly, personal communication,

January 2014). Karen needed this language so she could follow along with the class, not try to learn new signs as she was learning about the unit. This idea of pre-teaching the units Karen was about to study proved to be quite successful (M. Griffin, personal communication, April 1, 2014).

When Karen became ill during the school year, Claire was there to start homebound lessons.

When Karen was well enough to go back to class, she was up to date on all of her lessons and joined in with the class without missing major material. Karen stated that without the academic support of Claire through elementary school to high school she more than likely would not have been as academically successful as she was in school (K. Griffin, personal communication,

February 24, 2012).

Interpreters. The sign language interpreter by definition is the facilitator of communication in the classroom. This person is supposed to ensure that when a person talks, the message is communicated, and when the deaf person signs, the interpreter will relay that message authentically. Educational Sign language interpreters ideally serve other functions as well. They model language use and facilitate social dynamics that are developmentally appropriate for the children they serve and educate the child how to use an interpreter effectively

(www.rid.org). Karen began learning how to use an interpreter in Kindergarten at the age of 5.

Just as Kindergartners have a difficult time sitting still and paying attention to the teacher, deaf students have a difficult time paying attention, too

.DUHQKDGGLIILFXOWH[SHULHQFHVZLWKVRPHRIKHULQWHUSUHWHUV.DUHQ¶VILUVWJUDGH interpreter was not an appropriate matcKIRU.DUHQ¶VODQJXDJHOHYHODQGSHUVRQDOLW\+HU interpreter did not leave out extraneous information that a first grade student did not have the attention span for and Karen did not have the energy level to watch her interpreter all day. Plus, the interpreter was a signed very fast, used a lot of space (which equates to being a loud person) and was staccato in her signs (C. Kendrick, personal interview, January 4, 2014). Karen was just the opposite. She signed precisely, crisply, and used a small signing space (indicating she was a

TXLHWSHUVRQ $V&ODLUHSRLQWHGRXW³0DU\OHDUQHGUHDOO\TXLFNWKDWLWZDVLPSRUWDQWZKRWKH interpreter was. 7KDWLWFRXOGQ¶WMXVWEHDQ\ERG\ 7KH\¶UHQRWWUDLQHGWKHVDPHZD\´ &

Kendrick, personal communication, January  ,Q0DU\¶VLQWHUYLHZVKHVWDWHGWKDWVKHZDV

Griffin, personal communication, April 1, 2014). Mary understood that to me my job as an interpreter was more than facilitating communication. I felt it was important to teach Karen the social norms of a hearing classroom since there is a cultural difference between hearing and deaf

134 people. Outside of the classroom, I spent a lot of time with the family over the summers and on the weekends. Karen and I worked on building her vocabulary by visiting places around the city, attending movies, and sporting events. Our relationship was unique because I became a language model for Karen and her mother accepted that relationship between us.

There were times when people would say I overstepped my role as the interpreter in the classroom. For example, when Karen worked together with a partner who was hearing, I always checked and modified her English grammar when I interpreted for her. I helped her make corrections before she let her partner see her work or I would help her spell words correctly.

With me there, Karen did not ask her partner to check over her work or ask the teacher a question or for assistance (E. Reilly, reflection journal, May 20, 2013). Another example was when

Karen worked on word problems in math. I struggled with the fact that it was always difficult for deaf students to do word problems because of the reading level that was needed to understand the question. Often times I would help Karen write out the math problem to help her find the answer (E. Reilly, reflection journal, May 20, 2013). Because I tried to help Karen fit in socially with her peers, I impeded the teacher from knowing KDUHQ¶VDFDGHPLFVWUHQJWKVDQGZHDNQHVVHV

At the time, I believed I was helping Karen become socially accepted in the class. I did not want her to be looked down upon by her peers because she wrote differently or came up with an incorrect answer (E. Reilly, reflection journal, May 20, 2014). Little did I know back then that I was displaying an ableist attitude. The ableist attitude I displayed during those years was trying to make Karen appear more like her peers so they would allow her to enter their social group.

Parent Advocates. When Karen was having a difficult time in first grade and the IEP was being disputed, Mary heard about parent advocates. Mary and her husband were both

135 educated people but when it came to the rights of their child with multiple disabilities they

XQGHUVWRRGWKHLUOLPLWDWLRQV0DU\UHDOL]HGVKHQHHGHGDQDGYRFDWHUHIOHFWLQJ³,GLGQ¶WNQRZ

WKHODZDQG,GLGQ¶WNQRZZKDWZDVDYDLODEOHDQG,NQHZWKDW,QHHGHGKHOS%HFDXVH,ZDVMXVW

DSDUHQWDQG,GLGQ¶WNQRZ´ 0*ULIILQ personal communication, April 1, 2014).

7KHUROHRIWKHDGYRFDWHLVWRDVVLVWLQFDVHVLQZKLFKWKHVFKRROLVQRWPHHWLQJDFKLOG¶V needs. The advocate Mary found said she wanted to meet Karen first, get to know her as a person, and then see what her acDGHPLFQHHGVZHUH6KHWROG0DU\EOXQWO\³,XQGHUVWDQGZKDW

\RX¶UHJRLQJWKURXJKEXW,ZRQ¶WILJKWIRUZKDW\RXZDQW,WKDVWREHIRUZKDWWKHFKLOGZDQWV´

(M. Griffin, personal communication, April 1, 2014). The parent advocate took on the case and supported Karen until she graduated high school. She was the one who taught Mary special

HGXFDWLRQODZVKRZLQJ0DU\WKDWDVHDUO\DVILUVWJUDGHWKHVFKRROZDVQRWIROORZLQJ.DUHQ¶V

IEP. As a result, the advocate planned to take the school to due process to ensure the IEP was being followed. When Ms. Frederick became the principal, the advocate realized that Ms.

Frederick was a person with whom the family could work with and trust. She educated Mary about the IEP, but she also worked with the school for the benefit of Karen and ensured she received her appropriate accommodations.

Strong Personal Qualities

Study data indicate that, in addition to needed school resources, strong personal qualities

ZHUHLQVWUXPHQWDOLQIRVWHULQJ.DUHQ¶VDFDGHPLFVXFFHVVIn particular, students with multiple disabilities to be successful in school must have an inner-drive and passion for school as well as the ability to set their own goals for the future. Karen's self-determination, self-confidence, and ability to focus on school work contributed to Karen's success.

Self-Determination. Karen was always determined to complete what she started and she usually gave her best. She had the necessary people nearby to support her through school, but in the end it was her determination that got her all the way through high school and into college.

.DUHQFRPPHQWHGWKDWWKHUHZHUHVFKRROSHUVRQQHOGXULQJKHUILUVWJUDGH\HDUZKR³GLGQRW think I would be successful or that I would finish high school and go to college. I felt demeaned

WKDWWKH\GLGQ¶WWKLQN,FRXOGGRLW,FRXOGGRPRUHWKDQWKH\UHDOL]HG´ (K. Griffin, personal communication, May 20, 2012). When Karen needed a personal boost to keep striving to do her best in school, she looked back to these days to show them that she can do anything she set her mind to.

Self-Confidence. As a young child, Karen was deemed to be stubborn and, in the end, this proved to be a strength. Karen was also a perfectionist; she wanted to do everything correctly the first time. She wanted to be sure she was doing it right which often manifested as hesitancy to participate in class. It was frustrating for many of her teachers especially when they wanted her to try new things or see what she was capable of doing (C. Kendrick, personal communication, January 2014). She was also a confident and nurturing child who was always smiling. No matter how ill she was or how tired she was, she always asked how you were doing

(E. Reilly, personal communication, February 25, 2012).

One of the reasons .DUHQ¶VPRWKHUKDGKHUUHSHDWWKHILUVWJUDGHZDVWREXLOG.DUHQ¶V self-FRQILGHQFH 0*ULIILQKDQGZULWWHQQRWHGDWHXQNQRZQ .DUHQ¶VVHOI-confidence increased when she repeated the first grade with a new teacher, Ms. Mitchell. Karen spent much of the first and second grade learning the social norms of a classroom with hearing children. By the third grade she was eager to socialize with her peers, but once again she faced social barriers due to her disability.

.DUHQ¶VFRQILGHQFHDQGVHOI-esteem improved dramatically during her two years with Ms.

Mitchell (C. Kendrick, personal communication, January 4, 2014). Karen recalled that, during the school year, VKH³IHOWVXFFHVVIXOZKHQ,OHDUQHGVRPHWKLQJ´ SHUVRQDOFRPPXQLFDWLRQ0D\

20, 2012). Students who were in the first grade were called youngers and the second graders were called olders. The idea was that the olders would assist the youngers and be a model for the first graders. This idea worked on the concept of independence and improving self-esteem in the students. Karen explained the idea of the class and said:

To me, when I was a younger then you were learning. When I learned something, I

learned from either the teacher or one of the older second graders....In the first year, I

could do math P\VHOI,QWKHVHFRQG\HDULI,GLGQ¶WXQGHUVWDQG,FRXOGDVN0V0LWFKHOO

and I knew she would help me....[Ms. Mitchell] expected that I understand and that I was

able to do what I needed to do to pass the first grade and move on to the second grade.

She made sure that I understood the lesson and made sure I understood everything. She

knew what I needed to do and what I needed to work on. (K. Griffin, personal

communication, May 20, 2012)

Karen continued by adding:

When I was in the second grade, I became a teacher for the first graders. For example, I

would get involved if they were doing an activity and I knew how to do it and if they

needed help. We would help each other. (personal communication, May 20, 2012)

The use of instructional strategies that allowed students to share their expertise supported

.DUHQ¶VFRQILGHQFHDVDOHDUQHU7KHIROORZLQJ\HDU.DUHQEHJDQWKHWKLUGJUDGHDQGVKHZDV excited about starting the year. She said:

[I] found out the same kids were in the class with me and I was fine with that. I knew

them and then I was able to socialize because I felt like we have been friends for a long

time, for a year. (Karen interview, February 24, 2012, lines 96-98)

Setting Academic Goals. In spite of significant medical obstacles, Karen maintained a passionate drive to complete her schoolwork. Karen loved school. She loved to go home and do homework. Unfortunately, she missed a lot of school every year due to pneumonia, life threatening illness, or surgery. However, she did not like to get behind in class; doing the work and showing that she was capable of doing the work was the one thing that she could truly control in her life. She was persistent in her work ethic (M. Griffin, personal communication,

Claire remembered:

,GRQ¶WNQRZZKDWJUDGHLWZDVRUZKDWKRPHERXQGLWZDVEXWE\WKHWLPHVKHZDVUHDG\

to do it she was still in the hospital, and I went over there and there was like 30 pages of

math homework and she goes- and she had just received her interim and there wDVDQµ,¶

(incomplete grade) ± DQGVKHVDLGµ,DPQRWJRLQJWRJHWDQµ,¶6LWGRZQRYHUKHUH¶$QG

we sat there for three hours and did all 30 pages of the math and the doctors would come

LQEHFDXVH\RXNQRZWKH\¶UHGRLQJWKHLUURXQGV6KHJRHVµ,¶PEXV\¶$QGVKHZRXOGQ¶W

&KLOG/HIW%HKLQGEHFDXVH,¶PWHDFKLQJWRDWHVWQRZLW¶VOLNHDJRDOIRUKHU,W¶VOLNH,

have got to pass that SOL, you know, and all of her whole OLIHLW¶VDERXWJHWWLQJWRWKDW

getting a job. And I think that Mary has kind of set them up that way and that helped

them- FDXVHWKH\¶YHDOZD\VKDYHVRPHWKLQJWKH\¶UHZorking towards and that kind of

NHHSVWKHPIRFXVHGDQGWKH\GRQ¶WJHWVRIRFXVHGRQWKHLOOQHVV«%XWKHUH¶VRXUOLWWOH

engine that could, you know, just quietly getting it done. (personal communication,

January 4, 2014)

This quotation alludes to what was JRLQJRQLQ.DUHQ¶VOLIHPHGLFDOO\DVVKHZDV³TXLHWO\

JHWWLQJLWGRQH´(DFKWLPH.DUHQKDGWREHKRVSLWDOL]HGIRUDQLOOQHVVRUVXUJHU\VKHKDGWREH admitted into the pediatric intensive care unit. She was hooked up to a breathing machine, a heart machine, and other monitors but she persisted in her schoolwork. She wanted to get back to school so she would not fall behind academically.

Karen was not a straight A student and, to this day, the verbs in her sentence do not always agree with the subjects. However, she set a goal to pass her classes and to do well on the end-of-the-year state assessments. Karen liked having an end-of-the-year assessment because she was able to set a goal to pass each of the exams (K. Griffin, personal -communication, May,

20, 2012). When she graduated high school, she passed every end-of-the-year exam that she was given, and she graduated with an advanced diploma from her school.

Table 10 displays the results of her high school assessments from spring 2004 to spring 2006.

Table 10 Standards of Learning No. Correct/ Grade/Date Test Total No. Level Spring 2004 World History 1 53/60 Pass/Advanced Spring 2004 Algebra I 39/50 Pass/Proficient Spring 2004 Biology 36/50 Pass/Proficient Spring 2005 World History II 49/60 Pass/Proficient Spring 2005 Geometry 40/45 Pass/Proficient Spring 2006 Writing 38/45 Pass/Proficient Spring 2006 Reading 44/50 Pass/Advanced Spring 2006 Algebra II 43/50 Pass/Proficient Spring 2006 VA/US 49/60 Pass/Proficient

Summary of Findings

7KLVQDUUDWLYHFDVHVWXG\RI.DUHQ¶VHOHPHQWDU\VFKRRO\HDUVLQGLFDWHVWKDWDEOHLVP

H[LVWHGLQ.DUHQ¶VVFKRRO and resulted in academic and social isolation of Karen as well as her family's reduced trust in the educational system. With the support of school resources (i.e., an effective administrator, a strong parent advocate, understanding teachers), along with an inner drive (i.e., personal self-determination self-confidence, and the ability to set goals), Karen still found success in school and overcame the ableist attitude that surrounded her.

C H APT E R 5 DISC USSI O N, I MPL I C A T I O NS, A ND C O N C L USI O NS

This chapter is divided into the following sections: summary of the study, major findings supported by the literature, findings not supported by the literature, implications, and recommendations for further research. The chapter ends with concluding remarks from study participants.

Summary of the Study

This phenomenological inquiry focused on the experiences of a student with multiple disabilities and the impact ableism had on her education during elementary school. The purpose of the study was to gain a better understanding of the experiences of students with multiple disabilities in the elementary school setting and to learn about the role of ableism in education.

The goal of the study was to illustrate how an ableist attitude can negatively impact the student as well as to also show educators that students with multiple disabilities can thrive academically.

Through material gleaned from interviews and educational documents saved through the years, the reader is able to learn through the lived experiences of a student with multiple disabilities that ableism negatively impacted her right to a free, appropriate public education.

The goal of the Disability Rights Movement (DRM) was to ensure civil rights for people with disabilities, to provide the general population with awareness about disabilities, and to end the isolation of people with disabilities (Baird, Rosenbaum, & Toombs, 2009; Longmore, 2009).

Historically, the medical model has been the predominant view of people with disabilities. It maintains that people with disabilities need to be cured and made to appear more normal in society (Switzer, 2003). However, since the 1970s activists have been fighting to end this marginalized view of people with disabilities. During the past decades, there has been

142 significant legislation passed to end the discrimination against people with disabilities and provide necessary accommodations for them. Unfortunately, laws do not change the stereotypes people form about other people nor do laws end the exclusion of people.

Education is key to bringing about awareness and promoting the self-reliance of people with disabilities. Presently, students with disabilities drop out of school at twice the rate of their able-bodied peers (Rosen, 2014). Americans with disabilities also report they still face barriers to their success²the attitudinal barriers of fellow Americans (National Council on Disability,

 7KLVEHKDYLRUNQRZQDVDEOHLVPLV³DVHWRIDVVXPSWLRQVDQGSUDFWLFHVWKDWSURPRWHVWKH differential and unequal treatment of people because of apparent or assumed physical, mental, or behavioral differences" (Bogdan & Biklen, 1977, p. 14). Disability activists maintain that people with disabilities do not reach their academic potential because of the lowered expectations people have towards them (Hehir, 2002). As a result, people with disabilities are not able to achieve their economic and personal-independence (National Council on Disability, 2005).

Statement of Purpose and Research Questions

The purpose of this study is to understand the life history of one multi-disabled student from pre-school through her elementary school years to provide evidence regarding the following:

x the impact ableism can have on students with multiple disabilities in our education system, x whether there is a need to have disability-oriented education programs in our schools today. Specifically, the study was designed to address the following research question:

What can the participants' experiences disclose about the need for diversity-oriented education in schools today?

Review of the Methodology

This phenomenological inquiry employed the use of narrative inquiry with elements of

OLIHKLVWRU\WRDGGUHVVWKHUHVHDUFKTXHVWLRQV%\VKDULQJVWRULHVRISHRSOH¶VOLYHGH[SHULHQces, a meaning and understanding can be shed on a social problem in our society (Clandinin &

Connelly, 2000; Connelly & Clandinin, 1990; Creswell, 2007). Three participants were interviewed for this qualitative research: the student with multiple disabilities (Karen), her

Mother, and her WXWRU$GGLWLRQDOO\DV.DUHQ¶VVLJQODQJXDJHLQWHUSUHWHUGXULQJKHUHOHPHQWDU\ school years, I wrote a reflective journal after each interview to share my experiences. During the interviews, I used open-ended questions and the participants shared their memories of

.DUHQ¶VOLIHLQFKURQRORJLFDORUGHU.DUHQ¶VPRWKHUHQWUXVWHGPHZLWKDOORIWKH,(3VUHSRUW cards, letters, and other documents that she saved over the years. All of the documents were reviewed in chronological order and the interviews were read over numerous times. I organized the data in chronological order to understand the full story of her elementary school years. In the process I created a coding system to organize the data. The analysis of the data I collected (i.e., the interview transcripts and documents) revealed three themes: ableism in the schools, the need for school resources, and the need for personal resources. These ILQGLQJVIURP.DUHQ¶VOLIHVWRU\ are discussed in relation to the review of the literature on ableism.

Major Findings Supported by the Literature

What can the experiences of a multi-disabled, medically fragile student and her family reveal about the role of ableism in education? 7KHGDWDFROOHFWHGDERXW.DUHQ¶VHOHPHQWDU\ school years reveals that ableism occurred in the school setting discretely. .DUHQ¶VQDUUDWLYH does not reveal that there was blatant ableism such as trying to change her disability to make her appear more like her peers. School personnel accepted Karen as a deaf student with physical disabilities. The ableist attitude school staff displayed consisted of the ´GLIIHUHQWLDODQGXQHTXDO

WUHDWPHQW´ (Bogdan & Biklen, 1977, p. 14) of Karen in the academic setting.

Laws were designed to provide students with disabilities full inclusion in the academic setting. However, the data reveal that Karen was not fully included in the academic setting, and as result of this exclusion, she was not fully engaged in the lessons as her peers. This was demonstrated in her 1st grade classroom when her teacher had her sit at her desk away from her peers during a lesson. Just because Karen could not sit on the floor with the other students, she was removed from the academic setting and not allowed to fully participate in the lesson. In 3rd grade Karen was denied full access to the curriculum when her teacher refused to provide vocabulary words for the upcoming units. Karen needed this vocabulary due to her language delay. If she received the vocabulary words beforehand, she and her tutor could have reviewed the meanings of the words and teach her the appropriate signs for each vocabulary word. Rather,

Karen was left to focus on learning the vocabulary instead of interacting with her peers in the activities to demonstrate her understanding and knowledge of the subject. Another example of this was when she was in PE class and had to attend adaptive PE sessions instead of having activities adapted for her while participating with her peers.

The intent of the laws regarding disabilities was to provide students with disabilities an equal education to their peers; however, this equity cannot occur when there are educators who hold low expectations for their students with disabilities (Hehir, 2005). The literature review included the purpose of each piece of legislation passed by Congress and the educational impact the legislation had on the schools and students with disabilities. It further explored how ableism devalues and diminishes the lives of students with disabilities, thereby limiting their educational potential for graduating from higher education. The literature review also showed the need to educate our school personnel on how ableism can negatively affect our students with disabilities.

However, the literature review falls short of showing the human impact of ableism on students with disabilities and on the family. Further, it did not include the importance the role students with disabilities have in their own education.

Discussion Regarding Federal Legislation

In spite of all the safeguards established by the legislation, ableism still occurs in the school setting DVVXSSRUWHGE\WKHOLWHUDWXUHUHYLHZDQGWKHGDWDFROOHFWHGDERXW.DUHQ¶V elementary school years. Federal legislation was passed to ensure students with disabilities were provided equal access to school and an equal education as their peers (National Council on

Disability, 2008; Smith & Bales, 2010). The findings of this case study indicated that Karen received the benefits of each piece of legislation; however, laws cannot guarantee the

³FRPSOLDQFHPRQLWRULQJDQGHQIRUFHPHQWRIWKHVHODZV´ 1&'S (DFKSLHFHRI legislation mandated the accommodations Karen needed to be successful in school. Nonetheless, some school personnel did not provide the appropriate academic support because of their low

H[SHFWDWLRQVRIKHUDELOLW\7REHDEOH³WRHPSRZHULQGLYLGXDOVZLWKGLVDELOLWLHVWRPD[LPL]H employment, economic self-VXIILFLHQF\LQGHSHQGHQWDQGLQFOXVLRQLQWRRXUVRFLHW\´

(Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Pub.L. 93-112), students must have an equal education and those who educate them must believe that they can be empowered, independent, and included.

:LWKRXWDQHGXFDWLRQDOOVWXGHQWV¶FKDQFHVRIDQLQGHSHQGHQWOLIHDUHGLPLQLVKHG (Hehir, 2002).

Meeting Her Needs Under A D A. Karen met the criteria under the ADA to be labeled as a person with a disability to receive the accommodations she needed to access her education.

Morningside Elementary School provided Karen accommodations to support her academic and physical needs in a number of ways. First, the school system should be commended for

SURYLGLQJDFFRPPRGDWLRQVDSSURSULDWHIRU.DUHQ¶VQHHGVHYHQWKRXJKWKH\ZHUHFRVWO\WRWKH school. The school system offered all of the deaf students the choice of three different language programs. Those students who participated in the American Sign Language (ASL) program were provided an interpreter in every class including physical education (PE), music, and art. A principal created a team-taught class for her and her fellow deaf classmate. By all appearances, the school followed all requirements set forth by the ADA to ensure Karen received an equal education.

Karen also had physical access to the building during her education at Morningside

Elementary. From pre-school through second grade, Karen had to walk some stairs to get to PE; however, by the time she was in third grade the school was renovated. An elevator was installed and there were ramps around the school for her to access each classroom, cafeteria, restroom, gym, and playground. Additionally, she was provided transportation on a school bus with handicap accessibility.

Under Section 504, students with disabilities were assured that they would not be discriminated against in education programs that received federal funding (34 C.F.R. § 104.4(a)).

The ADA furthered strengthened the Rehabilitation Act and broadened the definition of

147 disability (Switzer, 2003). The data I collected suggested that Karen did not face blatant discrimination in school. Examples of blatant discrimination would include not allowing her to use sign language to communicate or not allowing her access to an interpreter. However, the data suggested that Karen faced an ableist attitude because of her low language level. Compared to her hearing peers, Karen was behind in language, but this did not take away from her ability to learn. During her elementary school years, she had three teachers and one administrator who did not believe in her ability to remain in the mainstream classroom. By using differentiated instruction, Karen would have been able to show her understanding of a topic. Karen understood what was happening in class; she just could not express this knowledge like her peers were able to express.

Meeting Her Needs Under ID E A. Under IDEA, students with multiple disabilities were guaranteed the right to a free, appropriate education in the least restrictive environment (20

86&† 7KHJRDORI,'($ZDV³WRLPSURYHWKHHGXFDWLRQDOUHVXOWVIRUFKLOGUHQZith disabilities (IDEA, 20 U.S. § 1400; Weber et al. 2010). Karen was provided an inclusive education as guaranteed by the IDEA. Upon entry into the school system, Karen was evaluated and provided an IEP with academic goals and necessary accommodations. All educational testing of Karen indicated that she was cognitively capable of succeeding in the mainstream classroom. In accordance with the IEP, her parents were provided the opportunity to add their input regarding her academic goals. As Karen became older, she too helped develop her educational goals. When the staff worked with Karen and her family on her academic goals, the system worked perfectly. There was open communication between the school and the family, there was an understanding of her weaknesses and strengths, and there was a collaborative

148 relationship that worked for the benefit of the student. Yet even with all safeguards provided by

IDEA through the IEP process, Karen faced ableism.

Under IDEA, ableism is displayed through the classroom placement of the child with multiple disabilities (Ferri & Connor, 2005). The data revealed WKDWVRPHRI.DUHQ¶VWHDFKHUV wanted her removed from the mainstream setting and placed in the self-contained classroom.

The reason teachers wanted her to be placed in another academic setting was due to their belief that she could not succeed because of her low language ability. From the perspective of a teacher, I understand their fear of having Karen in their classroom. The reason they might have been fearful of having her stay in the mainstream setting may not have been due to their dislike of Karen, but rather of their fear of being held accountable for meeting all of the criteria needed for passing to the next grade level. It would have been difficult for a teacher to say at the end of the school year that Karen had mastered all of the concepts for that grade level. Additionally, there may have been the IHDUWKDWWKHQH[WWHDFKHUZRXOGEODPHWKHSUHYLRXVWHDFKHUIRU.DUHQ¶V educational shortcomings. However, teachers needed to understand that Karen was able to show her understanding of the needed concepts. She just could not write it as well as her peers. Karen was able to show her mastery of material in the classroom. Her sentence structure may not have been perfect when writing answers on tests or papers, but teachers were able to read her answers and know that she demonstrated her knowledge of the unit. Teachers needed to allow her to show her mastery in a different manner.

Karen attended elementary school while IDEA was in effect. While the law states teachers needed to be held accountable for their students' learning outcomes, there was nothing in effect to hold teachers accountable for this desired outcome. In March of 1995, .DUHQ¶V educational testing showed that she was a student who should be achieving in the classroom, but

149 her teacher continued to state she was not capable. There was no accountability of the teacher and there was nothing to demonstrate that Karen was achieving or not achieving as compared to her peers. ,QIDFW.DUHQ¶VHQGRIWKH\HDUJUDGHIRU/DQJXDJH$UWVVKRZVVKHUHFHLYHGD satisfactory grade in reading and writing. However, the teacher wanted to hold her back because she said Karen did not master the material. The passing of NCLB began to hold teachers accountable with end of the year assessments. Karen began taking her end of the year exams in middle school and continued until she graduated high school. She passed every single exam showing that she had the knowledge of the subject required by the state.

Meeting Her Needs Under N C L B. Unlike IDEA, NCLB did have a significant impact for children like Karen in the special education program. The intent of NCLB was to close the achievement gap aQGKROGVFKRROVDFFRXQWDEOHIRUVWXGHQWV¶RXWFRPHV 1DWLRQDO&RXQFLORQ

Disability, 2004; National Council on Disability, 2008). As indicated in the literature review,

NCLB is credited with not allowing students with disabilities to be disregarded in the classroom

1DWLRQDO&RXQFLOLQ'LVDELOLW\ 1RZWHDFKHUVDUHWUXO\KHOGDFFRXQWDEOHIRUDOOVWXGHQWV¶ learning and the curriculum for special education students is now the same as the regular education students (National Council on Disability, 2008).

This study focuses on Karen's elementary school years, and the law did not come into effect until Karen was in the seventh grade. However, in the interviews each participant

GLVFXVVHGWKHLPSDFWRI1&/%RQ.DUHQ¶VHGXFDWLRQ0DU\VWDWHGWKDWWKHHQG-of-the-year assessments required by NCLB did help Karen in the classroom because she was determined to pass the exam (M. Griffin, personal communication, April 1, 2014). Her tutor, Claire, stated that, as a teacher, she did not like NCLB because she felt sKHZDVWHDFKLQJWRDWHVW)RU.DUHQ³LW¶V

OLNHDJRDOIRUKHU´ SHUVRQDOFRPPXQLFDWLRQ-DQXDU\ :KHQ.DUHQZDVLQKLJKVFKRRO

150 she spoke about how she attended the self-contained classrooms for some of her end-of-the-year assessment classes, because she felt they prepared her better for the exams (personal communication, May 20, 2012). Karen passed each and every assessment she took and this showed her and the teachers that she was quite capable of understanding the material that she and her peers were taught.

Discussion Regarding Devalued and Diminished Expectations

Students with multiple disabilities by law are required to receive an equal education to their peers' education (Hehir, 2005). However, the literature review suggests that schools put on

DQDSSHDUDQFHRIQRUPDOF\IRUVWXGHQWVLQWKHVSHFLDOHGXFDWLRQSURJUDP $VKE\ .DUHQ¶V case study supports this belief. While in the first JUDGH.DUHQ¶VPRWKHUUHDOL]HGWKDWKHU

GDXJKWHU¶V,(3DFFRPPRGDWLRQVZHUHQRWEHLQJPHW7KHWHacher of the deaf was supposed to come into the classroom and work with Karen on her language acquisition, reading, and writing.

However, the teacher of the deaf was too busy with her own class to come into the mainstream class to work with Karen and the mainstream teacher. Instead of devising a plan to find other appropriate supports for Karen, the interim principal had a physical disabilities teacher work with

.DUHQRQUHDGLQJDQGZULWLQJ7KLVILQGLQJVXJJHVWVWKDWVFKRROVWDIIGLGQRWYDOXH.DUHQ¶V educational outcome; rather they simply wanted to make it look like they were meeting her IEP

DFFRPPRGDWLRQV7KHDEOHLVWDWWLWXGHRI.DUHQ¶VWHDFKHUVGLGQRWDOORZKHUWRUHFHLYH

³DSSURSULDWHVXSSRUWDQGRUHQJDJHPHQWLQWKHPDWHULDO´ $VKE\ 

Major Findings Not Supported by the Literature

This case study set out to add meaning to a social problem in our educational system.

This was accomplished by having study participants share their stories of .DUHQ¶Vlife and by reviewing the collection of documents to support the stories (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000;

Connelly & Clandinin, 1990). Insights about the effects of ableism not highlighted in the literature were ascertained from this research. These findings suggest that the ableist attitude displayed in the school setting impacted not only the student but the family as well. Also, the data reveal that Karen was successful in the school setting but she needed to have support at school as well as her own inner drive.

Impact of Ableism on the Family

The literature review focused on the impact of ableism on students with disabilities, but a finding in this case study revealed that ableism had an impact on .DUHQ¶Vfamily members.

Karen faced an ableist attitude for the first time when she is in first grade. Her mother, Mary,

ZDVWKHRQHZKRQHHGHGWRFRPHWRKHUFKLOG¶VGHIHQVHWRHQVXUHVKHUHFHLYHGWKHHTXDO education she was entitled to under the law. Mary attended meetings with school personnel and felt they worked against her and the academic goals she set for her daughter. During this time,

Mary was stressed and her daughter, Karen, felt the tension between her mother and the school.

In the absence of professional supports from educators or peers, Mary was coming to terms with her own ableist thinking. Even with all of the legislation supporting students with disabilities, this study suggests that, for a child with multiple disabilities to be successful in school, the family needed resources to support the child's needs and to educate themselves. Mary felt she needed to hire a parent advocate to support her during IEP meetings and other educational decisions. The parent advocate was able to assist Mary through the IEP process which was quite overwhelming and sometimes contentious.

To supporW.DUHQ¶VDFDGHPLFQHHGV, Mary hired a tutor to come to the house to work on curriculum. Mary also had the responsibility of hiring interpreters for Karen's outside activities and to assist in language development. Mary recognized and accepted that her dDXJKWHU¶V

ODQJXDJHDELOLW\ZDVORZ6KHXQGHUVWRRGWKDWVKHFRXOGQRWEHKHUGDXJKWHU¶VWHDFKHUGXHWRKHU lack of ability in using ASL to communicate. Mary also knew that her daughter had to work after school with a tutor if she was ever going catch up to her peers.

Responsibility for Her Own Education

Literature (Hehir, 2005) and the data collected in this case study reveal that an ableist attitude in the school setting does not allow a student with multiple disabilities to receive an equitable education as their peers. However, this ableist attitude can be overcome through the support of other people along with self-determination and self-confidence. A network of people worked with Karen to improve her language and to ensure she was prepared for each upcoming unit. More importantly, Karen set academic goals for herself through confidence in her own abilities and support of her family and friends.

.DUHQ¶VIDPLO\YDOXHGHGXFDWLRQ and she loved school. Unlike other children, she had no choice but to work after school to keep up with her peers. In her early school years she was labeled a perfectionist and someone who did not like to make mistakes. Through the support of her teachers in her early years, Karen was able to overcome her resistance to try something new.

However, she never stopped trying to do her best in the classroom.

Karen was in and out of school due to her bouts with illness and surgery. When she was out of school for long periods of time, she was provided a homebound instructor. Claire

Kendrick took on this role as the homebound teacher which was advantageous because the transition from tutor to homebound instructor was seamless. Claire already knew the curriculum

.DUHQZDVZRUNLQJRQDQGVKHNQHZ.DUHQ¶VDFDGHPLFVWUHQJWKVDQGZHDNQHVVHVThis allowed

Karen to keep up with her class work and transition back into the classroom. Karen never wanted to fall behind in her schoolwork. She also had a lot of people along the way who

153 believed she could be successful. She had teachers like Ms. Percy, Ms. Mitchell, and Ms.

Kendrick who taught her that she was quite capable and helped her build her self-confidence. In contrast, Karen remembers the people who did not believe she was capable of graduating college, much less high school and she was determined to show them differently. Karen needed to be willing to put in the extra work and have the inner drive to do well in school. No one can want this more than the student.

Unexpected Findings

An ableist is defined as someone who marginalizes a person with disabilities and sets low expectations for that person because of their disability. However, another part of the definition of an ableist is to want to make the person with a disability appear more like their peers (Hehir,

2002). When it comes to this part of an ableist attitude, I would have to say that I fit this description when I became .DUHQ¶VLQWHUSUHWHU,ZDQWHGKHUWR know the social norms of the classroom, and I wanted her to fit in with her peers. For example, I played games with other students to have Karen invited into the social circle. I would talk with other children to learn what the cool movie, TV show, or song was at the moment and pass the information to Karen so she could be part of that social conversation. Helping her fit in socially is construed as an ableist practice, however, I felt and still feel that my actions in the classroom were appropriate for

.DUHQ¶VJURZWKLike her mother, I understood that one day Karen was going to be on her own and she needed to fit into the larger group around her. However, there were times when I helped

Karen academically that definitely were inappropriate and a demonstration of an ableist attitude.

For example, when Karen was working with a partner on a project, I would let her know if her work was not properly written. I would help her fix up the grammar before she showed her partner the work. Looking back, I should have let her student peer fix up the grammatical

154 mistakes, or better yet, have the teacher assist Karen. This would have allowed the two to work

WRJHWKHUDQGSURYLGHWKHWHDFKHUDEHWWHUXQGHUVWDQGLQJRI.DUHQ¶VDFDGHPLFQHHGV+RZHYHUI was afraid that student would look down on Karen and her abilities. In the end, I was more concerned about Karen fitting in with her peers that I did not think about the larger implications of her learning from her peers and her peers learning more about her as a deaf student.

Conclusion Regarding the Findings

What can the experiences of a multi-disabled, medically fragile student and her family reveal about the role of ableism in education? My own experiences as an interpreter, teacher, high school principal, along with what I learned from this study lead me to conclude that we can overcome ableism in the school setting and that all students with multiple disabilities can graduate from high school and beyond. There is not one factor that makes a student with multiple disabilities successful. Rather there are multiple factors that interact with each other to

DVVLVWDSHUVRQZLWKPXOWLSOHGLVDELOLWLHV³WREHDEOHWROLYHLQGHSHQGHQWO\EHHFRQRPLFDOO\VHOI-

VXIILFLHQWDQGSDUWLFLSDWHIXOO\LQVRFLHW\´ ,'($ 7hese key factors include a supportive family, an outside educational support team, and the student's own self-determination.

Implications

How do the participants' experiences suggest the need for disability-oriented education in schools today? The experiences of the participants in this study indicate that teachers, regular education students, parents, and students with disabilities would all benefit from diversity- oriented education.

Disability-oriented Education for Teachers

Prior to 1973, a student with disabilities similar to Karen's may not have even received an education. If she did receive an education, there were no opportunities to learn alongside

155 nondisabled peers. Since, 1973, education has made great strides and school staff has a better awareness of the needs students with disabilities require in school. Teachers are aware of student accommodations and the need to differentiate lessons for every student. The IEPs, psychological and sociological reports that were written for and about Karen shared with teachers her strengths

DQGZHDNQHVVHV+RZHYHUWKHUHZHUHWLPHVGXULQJ.DUHQ¶VHGXFDWLRQWKDWVKHZDVSURYLGHG appropriate academic supports and her assigned work had to look the same as every other student.

With that being said, school staff need to recognize that students with disabilities may not demonstrate their understanding of classroom material the way other students do. Rather, teachers need to create academic supports for students with disabilities so they can demonstrate their understanding of the material.

5HODWLRQVKLSVZLWKWKHIDPLO\DUHDNH\WRDQ\VWXGHQWV¶VXFFHVVDQGWKLVLVHVSHFLDOO\WUXH for students with disabilities. School personnel need to form a partnership with the parents in the education of the student. .DUHQ¶VOLIHKLVWRU\GHPRQVWUDWHVWKLVSRLQWWKURXJKWKHSRVLWLYH relationships that were formed and the resulting success that Karen found in school. The administrators, Ms. Neill and Ms. Frederick, were key in forming a supportive relationship with

KareQDQGKHUSDUHQWV%RWKVFKRROOHDGHUVZHUHRSHQDQGKRQHVWDERXW.DUHQ¶VDELOLWLHVDQG shared with the parents the supports the school was providing to ensure that Karen could be successful in the mainstream classroom. Karen had teachers whom she trusted and this allowed her to build her self-confidence. Ms. Mitchell built a trusting relationship with Karen by listening to Karen which in the end allowed Karen to feel safe and valued in the classroom.

Furthermore, teachers who are slated to teach a child with a disability need to take classes about that specific disability. Morningside Elementary School was a center for all deaf students, but as Karen demonstrated each student can come to the classroom with different abilities and

156 disabilities. There was a support team in the school to work with the mainstream teacher on how

GHDIFKLOGUHQOHDUQEXWWKHVXSSRUWVIRU.DUHQ¶VXQLTXHGLVDELOLW\ZHUHQRWLQWKHVFKRRO7KH

WHDFKHUVQHHGHGWROHDUQDERXWWKHLPSDFW.DUHQ¶VSK\VLFDOGLVDELOLWLHVKDGRQKHUability to learn from day-to-GD\$JUHDWH[DPSOHRIDWHDFKHUPDNLQJDFFRPPRGDWLRQVIRU.DUHQ¶VQHHGVZDV

Ms. Mitchell. She took simple steps such as providing Karen a chair near her group who sat on the floor for instruction and allowed Karen to take on less taxing work when she was tired. Ms.

0LWFKHOOWKRXJKWRIWKHFKLOG¶VQHHGVZKLOHVWLOOHQVXULQJ.DUHQZDVDEOHWRXQGHUVWDQGWKH material. For teachers to learn about the student entering the classroom for the year, administrators need to be cognizant of the amount of time teachers for training, consulting with experts, and planning lessons. Administrators need to support teachers by providing them sufficient time to prepare properly for each child entering the classroom and the disability of that child.

Disability-oriented Education for Students

The lessons about disabilities do not end with educating the teachers. Students also need to be educated and open conversations need to occur with students about disabilities. Students around the country are used to having students with a variety of disabilities sitting in class with them. Although students with disabilities are commonplace in classrooms today, the way students with disabilities are different from their peers is often not discussed. Students need to feel comfortable talking about their differences, which will lead to a better understanding and

DFFHSWDQFHRIHDFKRWKHU,WLVWKHVFKRRO¶VUHVSRQVLELOLW\WRWHDFKDERXWWKHVHGLIIHUHQFHV In all of my time at Morningside Elementary, the students were only provided lessons on how to sign words. This was achieved through the morning show that was on the closed circuit television.

Each day a deaf student introduced a new vocabulary word. This, of course, was minimal. For

157 students to truly achieve an understanding of deafness and to learn about the variety of physical disabilities, appropriate and progressive lessons should have been provided at each grade level.

Shapiro (1994) suggests students without disabilities also need to be allowed to ask questions about students with disabilities, to have information about aids (such as technology, wheelchairs, or hearing aids) for people with disabilities, and to be able to express their fears and concerns about disabilities. Hehir (2002) suggests educators can end ableism in education. He encourages schools to (a) LQFOXGHGLVDELOLWLHVVWXGLHVDVSDUWRIDVFKRRO¶VGLYHUVLW\HIIRUWV(b) allow students with disabilities to express themselves in ways that work for them, (c) allow special education students to receive the same curriculum as the general education students, (d) demand high standards for every student, and (e) make schools accessible through universal design .

Diversity lessons about disabilities should be provided in school to students just as schools provide lessons about racism, sexism, and heterosexism (Ashby, 2010). Disability advocates support the idea that disability studies should be incorporated into science, literature, and history classes. It is important to teach students for two reasons; (a) because disability will impact every person directly or indirectly at some time in their life; and (b) because people with disabilities are mainstreamed into our society (Taylor, 2004). It is the goal of Section 504, ADA,

IDEA, and NCLB to have every student become self-sufficient and productive citizens. It is the responsibility of the schools to see that students are educated about ableism and the abilities of people with disabilities to ensure an equal outcome for everyone (Ashby, 2010; Hehir, 2002;

Story, 2007)

Recommendations for Further Research

.DUHQ¶VOLIHVWRU\FDQRIIHULQVLJKWLQWRWKHHGXFDWLRQRIVWXGHQWVZLWKPXOWLSOH disabilities that would benefit parents, teachers, administrators, and students. This case study of

.DUHQ¶VHOHPHQWDU\VFKRROFRXOGKDYHWDNHQPDQ\GLUHFWLRQVDQGDWWLPHVLWZDVGLIILFXOWWR keep a narrow lens. There are two areas I would suggest for further research. The first area of research is the impact of ableism on the family members and the second area of study is about the socialization of deaf students with their hearing and deaf peers.

One of the findings indicates that ableism directly impacts the family. The Griffins have four children and two of the children have thHVDPHV\QGURPH.DUHQ¶VPRWKHUIDFHGDEOHLVP

VHFRQGKDQGGXHWRVFKRROSHUVRQQHO¶VORZHUHGH[SHFWDWLRQVRIKHUGDXJKWHU¶VDELOLW\7KH possibilities of research on how ableism impacted this family are great. Some possible ideas for research for the parents of children with multiple disabilities include: the impact on marriage, the impact on household finances, and the impact of the relationship between the parents and the school on the education of the student with disabilities.

Some possible ideas for future research about siblings of children with multiple disabilities include: the stress of siblings of a child with a multiple disability, the relationships between siblings with and without disabilities, types of jobs siblings embark upon due to their siblings disability, the impact on siblings education and socialization during times of hospitalization of their sibling with disabilities.

Socialization is a large part of the elementary school experience. Karen socialized with both deaf and hearing students. As she became older, however, she seemed to prefer socializing with her deaf peers. In third grade, Karen was quite social with everyone. She was friends with deaf and hearing children and was invited for sleep-overs, birthday parties, and play dates with

159 friends. By the fifth grade, Karen became less social with her hearing classmates and spent more time with her deaf friends in the self-contained classroom. This became evident when Karen left her mainstream class when the lesson was over to go to the WL class to talk with her deaf friends.

This period in Karen's education was not addressed in this case study because of .DUHQ¶VLOOQHVV during fourth and fifth grade. She became ill in the fourth grade and missed most of the school year. In fifth grade she missed about half of the year due to surgery on her broken thighbone.

Because of her long absences, I could not ascertain if she was just more comfortable socializing with her deaf peers or if her friendships with her hearing peers could not be maintained because of being out of school for so long. Research on the trend of who students with multiple disabilities socialize with as they get older would be a topic worth researching.

Concluding Remarks

The Tutor's Concluding Remarks

Claire emphasized that students with multiple disabilities truly do understand what they are learning. When talking about deaf children, in particular, she said they might be delayed in

WKHLUODQJXDJH³EXWWKDWGRHVQ¶WPHDQWKH\¶UHVWXSLGDQGLWGRHVQ¶WPHDQWKH\FDQ¶t receive the

The Mother's Concluding Remarks

Mary wants people to not underestimate children with multiple disabilities and for teachers to not be afraid to work with the parents of children with multiple disabilities. She said that children with multiple disabilities need to be challenged and they have the ability to learn so much. In regards to teachers, she understands why they can be afraid of parents with children with multiple disabilities. She said there are parents who ask for every accommodation and do

QRWKDYHDUHDOLVWLFXQGHUVWDQGLQJRIWKHLUFKLOG¶VDELOLWLHV%XWVKHVDLGVKHNQRZVLWLV ultimately her responsibility to educate her child and she was willing to take on that responsibility. She wanted to have a collaborative relationship with the teachers knowing that a

SRVLWLYHUHODWLRQVKLSZRXOGEHQHILWKHUFKLOG¶VHGXFDWLRQ

The Researcher's Concluding Remarks

Being DSDUWRI.DUHQ¶VOLIHKDVPDGHDWUHPHQGRXVly positive impact on my own personal and professional life. Being a part of her life for all of those years has, in my opinion, made me a more understanding teacher, administrator, and person. When I have to make

GHFLVLRQVDWVFKRRODERXWDVWXGHQW¶VZHOO-being, Karen is at the center of that decision. In my personal life I have learned to slow down and enjoy the moment and to have compassion for all I come across because you never know the difficulties they face on a daily basis. I am thankful for being able to be a part of such a wonderful, caring family. I truly believe I am the one who has

EHQHILWWHGWKHPRVWIRUEHLQJDSDUWRI.DUHQ¶VOLIH

The Student's Concluding Remarks

I will leave the concluding remarks to Karen who said:

I do have a lot of advices to say but I can say one big key thing to be successful like me

so far is keep going and fight back to show people that you can do it. You do have

support from your loved ones even though you do not feel you have the supports. If you

feel you can do it, then go for it. I did went through a lot during my school years and I

learned what I can do and can't do by try it. If I don't try, I will keep think "what if, what

if" but if I did try, I will think "hey I did try but I can't do it for any reason but it do not

mean I'm giving up". You may can do it but in different ways to get same results as

others. I need help to keep up with my school works so I can be on track to graduate on

time. Without the help and supports, you may will never finish school or will finish

school but not with your class. I never give up and always fight to get the education I

need to be successful. I always know that I have supports from all teachers, interpreters,

school staff and family to be successful because they believe in me while others are not

believe in me. My parents taught me to never give up and to always believe that my

future could be whatever I dreamt it to be. Just do what you believe to be successful in

school. Never give up on your dream...because you never know what the Lord can bless

you with. You need to think whenever you feel like giving up, remember why you held

on for so long in the first place. When I was in 1st grade and teacher don't help me a lot

and do not think I will graduate from high school with standard diploma and I decided to

show her I can do it by keeping think positives. Whenever I feel I want to give up in early

college years, I have the moment when I think of 1st grade teacher's comment. It always

boost my confidence and stay in college. Now I'm about to graduating in December 2014,

I do not want to leave college and I am already start to thinking to get master degree. I

want to say thank you everyone who supported me from start to now. It will never

enough to pay back for how much I'm thankful to have a lot of support teams. People

who is ready to giving up please think how it can help you in future. Never, never, never,

give up (K. Griffin, personal communication, July 13, 2014).

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APPE NDI C ES

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Appendix D List of Interviews and Meetings

Appendix E Reflexive Journal Protocol

Appendix F Calendar of Data Collection Activities with Analytic Tool Notations

VIRGINIA POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE AND STATE UNIVERSITY

Informed Consent for Participants in Research Projects Involving Human Subjects

Title of Project: Interview of a Multi-handicapped

Investigator(s): Ellen T. Reilly, Doctoral Student

I. Purpose of this Research/Project The purpose of this study is to interview you, Karen, about your life as a deaf, multi- handicapped student matriculating through the educational system. x Anthropological study x 7HDFKHUVLQWHUSUHWHUVDQGDGPLQLVWUDWRUVLPSDFWRQVWXGHQW¶VVXFFHVVLQWKHFODVVURRP x Parent advocacy x Impact on siblings x Depression in multi-handicapped people x Isolation during school years of multi-handicapped students

II. Procedures The interviews will take place at your home or at any location you choose to be interviewed. The interviews will last as long as you remain comfortable and as time permits. The interviews will be videotaped.

I will use an open-ended interview for our interviews. I will focus on your academics (elementary through high school), medical condition, socialization with peers, faith, and family. To start I will interview you about your memories of each grade, talk about teachers, interpreters, friends, and overall memories of those years. We will then review a time-line of your major hospitalizations and the impact of that on your academics, health, family, relationships with peers, and your faith.

I will ask questions such as: x Which teachers make a positive impact on you during your elementary years? Why and how were they not supportive? x Do you remember teachers or interpreters who were not supportive of you during elementary school? Who and how were they not supportive? x How were you able to keep up with schoolwork when you were not in school for a good portion of the school year? x What is your motivation for continuing your education

x Do you remember being involved in team sports before becoming wheelchair bound? Share those memories and why was participating with these teams important to you?

III. Risks There are no physical risks to you during the interviews. If you become tired, you need to tell me, the investigator, to stop the interview. You may cancel scheduled interviews at any time through text messaging or e-mail.

I V. Benefits One of the objectives to interviewing you is for you to able to document your educational years and preserve your story for your family and friends. No promise or guarantee of benefits has been made to encourage you to participate. The overall benefit is to assist educators on how to educate and include multi-handicapped students in the school environment.

V. Extent of Anonymity and Confidentiality Your name will be changed in all writings. There is the possibility that people will be able to identify you from stories in the final product. The videotapes of the interviews will be stored on my, ŽŽ‡‡‹ŽŽ›ǯ•, computer. There will not be any other duplicates of the interviews nor will the interviews be sent to any other person.

V I. Compensation You will not receive any compensation during this process.

V II. Freedom to Withdraw You are free to withdraw from the project at any time.

V III. SubjecW¶V5HVSRQVLELOLWLHV I voluntarily agree to participate in this study. I have the following responsibilities: x Be available to be interviewed for the next year x To be videotaped during every interview x Inform the investigator when I would like to be interviewed x Inform the investigator when I would like the interview to stop

I X. 6XEMHFW¶V3HUPLVVLRQ I have read the Consent Form and conditions of this project. I have had all my questions answered. I hereby acknowledge the above and give my voluntary consent:

______Date ______Subject Signature

Should I have any pertinent questions about this research or its conduct, and research •—„Œ‡ –•ǯ”‹‰Š–•ǡƒ†™Š‘–‘ ‘–ƒ –‹–Š‡‡˜‡–of a research-related injury to the subject, I may contact:

______Ellen T. Reilly Investigator

______Dr. Kami Patrizio______Faculty Advisor

______Departmental Reviewer/Department Head Telephone/e-mail

X. Purpose of this Research/Project The purpose of this study is to interview you, Marie, about your daughterǯ•ǡƒ”‡ǡ life as a deaf, multi-handicapped student matriculating through the educational system. x Anthropological study x 7HDFKHUVLQWHUSUHWHUVDQGDGPLQLVWUDWRUVLPSDFWRQVWXGHQW¶VVXFFHVVLQWKHFODVVURRP x Parent advocacy x Impact on siblings x Depression in multi-handicapped people x Isolation during school years of multi-handicapped students

X I. Procedures The interviews will take place at your home or at any location you choose to be interviewed. The interviews will last as long as you remain comfortable and as time permits. The interviews will be videotaped or audiotaped.

I will use an open-‡†‡†‹–‡”˜‹‡™ˆ‘”‡ƒ Š’‡”•‘‹–‡”˜‹‡™‡†Ǥ ™‹ŽŽˆ‘ —•‘ƒ”‡ǯ• academics (elementary through high school), medical condition, socialization with peers, faith, and ˆƒ‹Ž›Ǥ‘•–ƒ”– ™‹ŽŽ‹–‡”˜‹‡™›‘—ƒ„‘—–›‘—‡‘”‹‡•‘ˆ‡ƒ Šƒ”‡ǯ• experiences in each grade level, talk about teachers, interpreters, friends, and overall memories of those years. We will then review a time-Ž‹‡‘ˆƒ”‡ǯ•ƒŒ‘”Š‘•’‹–ƒŽ‹œƒ–‹‘• and the impact of that on her academics, health, family, relationships with peers, and her faith. I will ask you questions such as: x :KDWZDV.DUHQ¶VGLDJQRVLVDVDQLQIDQW" x How did you learn American Sign Language (ASL)? Did your family members learn ASL? How did you model language for Karen? x When it comes to academics, how did you assist Karen in her education when you may not have had the language to assist her? x Was religion an important part of your family? If so, how? x :KDWZHUHWKHHIIHFWVRI.DUHQ¶VV\QGURPHRQ\RXURWKHUFKLOGUHQ"

X II. Risks There are no physical risks to you during the interviews. If you become tired, you need to tell the investigator to stop the interviews. You may cancel scheduled interviews at any time through text messaging or e-mail.

X III. Benefits One of the objectives to interviewing you is for you to able to document your †ƒ—‰Š–‡”ǯ• educational years and preserve her story for her family and friends. No promise or guarantee of benefits has been made to encourage you to participate. The overall benefit is to assist educators on how to educate and include multi-handicapped students in the school environment.

X I V. Extent of Anonymity and Confidentiality Your name will be changed in all writings. There is the possibility that people will be able to identify you from stories in the final product. The videotapes of the interviews will be stored on my, ŽŽ‡‡‹ŽŽ›ǯ•, computer. There will not be any other duplicates of the interviews nor will the interviews be sent to any other person.

X V. Compensation You will not receive any compensation during this process.

X V I. Freedom to Withdraw You are free to withdraw from the project at any time.

X V II. 6XEMHFW¶V5HVSRQVLELOLWLHV I voluntarily agree to participate in this study. I have the following responsibilities: x Be available to be interviewed for the next year x To be videotaped during every interview x Inform the investigator when I would like to be interviewed x Inform the investigator when I would like the interview to stop

X V III. 6XEMHFW¶V3HUPLVVLRQ I have read the Consent Form and conditions of this project. I have had all my questions answered. I hereby acknowledge the above and give my voluntary consent:

Should I have any pertinent questions about this research or its conduct, and research •—„Œ‡ –•ǯ”‹‰Š–•ǡƒ†™Š‘–‘ ‘–ƒ –‹–Š‡‡˜‡–‘ˆƒ”‡•‡ƒ” Š-related injury to the subject, I may contact:

Ellen T. Reilly Investigator Telephone/e-mail

Dr. Kami Patrizio______Faculty Advisor Telephone/e-mail

David M. Moore Chair, Virginia Tech Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects Office of Research Compliance 2000 Kraft Drive, Suite 2000 (0497) Blacksburg, VA 24060

X I X. Purpose of this Research/Project The purpose of this study is to interview ›‘—ǡŽƒ‹”‡ǡƒ„‘—–ƒ”‡ǯ• life as a deaf, multi- handicapped student matriculating through the educational system. You tutored Karen from the 1st grade and all the way through high school. x Anthropological study x 7HDFKHUVLQWHUSUHWHUVDQGDGPLQLVWUDWRUVLPSDFWRQVWXGHQW¶VVXFFHVVLQWKHFODVVURRP x Parent advocacy x Impact on siblings x Depression in multi-handicapped people x Isolation during school years of multi-handicapped students

X X. Procedures The interviews will take place at your house or at any location you choose to be interviewed. The interviews will last as long as you remain comfortable and as time permits. The interviews will be videotaped or audiotaped.

I will use an informal conversational interview for our interviews. I will focus on your ‡‘”‹‡•‘ˆƒ”‡ǯ•ƒ ƒ†‡‹ •ȋ‡Ž‡‡–ƒ”›–Š”‘—‰ŠŠ‹‰Š• Š‘‘ŽȌǡ‡†‹ ƒŽ ‘†‹–‹‘ǡ socialization with peers, faith, and family. To start I will interview you about your ‡‘”‹‡•‘ˆƒ”‡ǯ•‡š’‡”‹‡ ‡•‹‡ƒ Š‰”ƒ†‡Ž‡˜‡Žǡ–ƒŽƒ„‘—––‡ƒ Š‡”•ǡ‹–‡”’”‡–‡”•ǡ friends, and overall memories of those years. We will then review a time-Ž‹‡‘ˆƒ”‡ǯ• major hospitalizations and the impact of that on her academics, health, family, relationships with peers, and her faith. I will ask questions such as: x How did you come to tutor Karen after school hours? x :KHQ.DUHQ¶VPRWKHUKDGGLVDJUHHPHQWVZLWKWKHVFKRRODERXWKHU,(3GLG\RXHYHUIHHO there was a conflict between tutoring Karen and working for the school system?

X X I. Risks There are no physical risks to you during the interviews. If you become tired, you need to tell me, the investigator, to stop the interviews. You may cancel scheduled interviews at any time through text messaging or e-mail

X X II. Benefits One of the objectives to interviewing you is for you to be able to document Kar‡ǯ• educational years and preserve her story for her family and friends. No promise or guarantee of benefits has been made to encourage you to participate. The overall benefit is to assist educators on how to educate and include multi-handicapped students into the school environment.

X X III. Extent of Anonymity and Confidentiality Your name will be changed in all writings. There is the possibility that people will be able to identify you from stories in the final product. The videotapes of the interviews will be stored on my, ŽŽ‡‡‹ŽŽ›ǯ•, computer. There will not be any other duplicates of the interviews nor will the interviews be sent to any other person.

X X I V. Compensation You will not receive any compensation during this process.

X X V. Freedom to Withdraw You are free to withdraw from the project at any time.

X X V I. 6XEMHFW¶V5HVSRQVLELOLWLHV I voluntarily agree to participate in this study. I have the following responsibilities: x Be available to be interviewed for the next year x To be videotaped during every interview x Inform the investigator when I would like to be interviewed x Inform the investigator when I would like the interview to stop

X X V II. 6XEMHFW¶V3HUPLVVLRQ I have read the Consent Form and conditions of this project. I have had all my questions answered. I hereby acknowledge the above and give my voluntary consent:

Interview Schedule with Karen

Date Location Length Interviews Topic January 20, .DUHQ¶Vhouse 25 mins. Individual Family history; illness; 2012 in kitchen pre-school±grade 2 February 24, .DUHQ¶VKRXVH 39 mins. Individual Grades 3-4 2012 in kitchen April 6, 2012 .DUHQ¶VKRXVH 25 mins. Individual Grades 5-6 in sunroom April 15, 2012 .DUHQ¶VKRXVH 96 mins. Karen and Review of timeline in kitchen her mother

Interview Schedule with Other Participants

Date Location Length Interviews Topic April 1, 2014 Ellen¶VKRXVH mins. Individual Family history; illness; in dining room with Mary birth ± 6th grade January 4, Local mins. Individual Personal history, K-12th 2014 restaurant with Claire grade

IEP Meeting ± June 1995

Date Location Length Interviews Topic July 19, 1995 Morningside 120 List all people Placement of Karen, Elementary mins. in attendance hours of services and change names

Date: Participants:

Location: Facilitator:

1. Self Reflexivity

Prompts:dz What do I know? How do I know what I know? What shapes and has shaped my perspective? How have my perceptions and my background affected the data I have collected and my analysis of those data? How do I perceive those I have studied? With what voice do I •Šƒ”‡›’‡”•’‡ –‹˜‡ǫŠƒ–†‘ †‘™‹–Š™Šƒ– Šƒ˜‡ˆ‘—†ǫdzȋƒ––‘ǡ 2001, p. 495)

2. Reflexivity About Participants

Prompts: Dz ‘™†‘–Š‘•‡•–—†‹‡†‘™™Šƒ––Š‡›‘™ǫŠƒ–•Šƒ’‡•ƒ†Šƒ••Šƒ’‡† –Š‡‹”™‘”Ž†˜‹‡™ǫ ‘™†‘–Š‡’‡” ‡‹˜‡‡ǡ–Š‡‹“—‹”‡”ǫŠ›ǫ ‘™†‘ ‘™ǫdzȋ’Ǥ 495)

3. Reflexivity About Audience

Prompts: Dz ‘™†‘–Š‘•‡™Š‘”‡ ‡‹˜‡›ˆ‹†‹‰•ƒ‡•‡•‡‘ˆ™Šƒ– I give them? What perspectives do they bring to the findings I offer? How do they perceive me? How do I ’‡” ‡‹˜‡–Š‡ǫ ‘™†‘–Š‡•‡’‡” ‡’–‹‘•ƒˆˆ‡ –™Šƒ– ”‡’‘”–ƒ†Š‘™ ”‡’‘”–‹–ǫdzȋ’Ǥ 495)

(Patton, 2001)

Date Location Length Interviews Topic January 20, 2012 .DUHQ¶VKRXVH 25 mins. Individual Family history; illness; in kitchen pre-school±grade 2 February 24, .DUHQ¶VKRXVH 39 mins. Individual Grades 3-4 2012 in kitchen April 6, 2012 .DUHQ¶VKRXVH 25 mins. Individual Grades 5-6 in sunroom April 15, 2013 .DUHQ¶VKRXVH 96 mins. Karen and Review of timeline in kitchen her mother

Date Location Length Interviews Topic April, 2014 Ellen¶VKRXVH mins. Individual Family history; illness; in dining room with Mary birth ± 6th grade April, 2014 Local mins. Individual Personal history, K-12th restaurant with Claire grade

IEP Meeting Ȃ June 1995

Documents Ȃ Pre-School Notes from Teacher Code Grade/Date Document Topic KA_D_LET Teacher narrative Academic progress November 2, 1992

KB_D_LET Teacher narrative Academic progress February 9, 1993 Teacher narrative and Academic progress KC_D_LET IEP checklist April, 1993 Teacher narrative and Academic progress KD_D_LET IEP checklist June, 1993

Documents - Pre-School/Kindergarten Code Grade/Date Document Topic PKA_D_IEP IEP signed Annual goals and short-term objectives March 18, 1992

PKB_D_PSY Psychological Report Psychological evaluation May 1, 1992

PKC_D_IEP IEP signed Annual goals and short-term objectives June 3, 1992

PKD_D_HT Hearing test Results from hearing test

PKE_D_IEP IEP signed Annual goals and short-term objectives June 22, 1993

PKF_D_RC Report Card Grades with narrative from teacher January1994

PKG_D_TRI IEP signed Triennial - Annual goals and short-term February 2, 1994 objectives

PKH_D_RC Report Card June 1994 Grades with narrative from teacher

Documents - First Grade Code Grade/Date Document Topic 1A_D_IEP IEP Signed Annual goals and short-term objectives June 1, 1994

1B_D_TRI Triennial reevaluation Eligibility explanation, consent signature January 14, 1995 consent form

1C_D_REF Multi-Purpose Referral Statement of concern written by first grade Form January 13,1995 teacher

Confidential Student 1D_D_REC Eligibility Packet/Intervention Records Release Checklist/Sociocultural Assessment-Triennial March 17,1995 Review/Psychological Report/Intelligence

tests/Educational Evaluation/Teacher Narrative/Student Observation/Health

Examination/Hearing Tests/Speech and

language evaluation/Physical therapy evaluation/Physical disabilities

assessment/Adapted PE evaluation

IEP Draft unsigned 1E_D_IEP Annual goals and short-term objectives April 5, 1995

IEP Draft unsigned 1F_D_IEP Annual goals and short-term objectives May 23, 1995

Orthopaedic Outpatient 1G_D_LET Consultation Letter from doctor on physical progress

IEP signed 1H_D_IEP Annual goals and short-term objectives July 19, 1995

Report Card 1I_D_RC Grades for all four quarters with teacher June 16, 1995 comments

Letter to Acting Principal 1J_D_LET Letter from parents to express concern of IEP June 5, 1995

Letter to Superintendent 1K_D_LET of School Letter from parents to express concern of IEP June 20, 1995 Letter to State

1L_D_LET Representative Letter from parents to express concern of IEP June 26, 1995 Notes from teachers to parents 1M_D_REC Notes on academic progress, socialization, November 23, and use of interpreter. 1995-June 9, 1996

Documents ± Fourth grade Code Grade/Date Document Topic 4A_D_LET Letter form parents to Fieldtrip without accommodation October 5, 1998 principal

Documents ± Fifth grade Code Grade/Date Document Topic 5A_D_LET 'RFWRU¶VOHWWHU Letter explaining medical plan after back December 22, surgery 1999

rd 5B_D_LET Letter from parent to Science test and 3 quarter report card issues April 26, 2000 teacher

5C_D_LET Science Test .DUHQ¶VJUDGHGVFLHQFHWHVW March 29, 2000

5D_D_RC 3rd quarter report card Grades from 1st and 2nd quarter/3rd quarter June, 1993 grades in question 5E_D_LET Letter from teacher to parent Response about science test and report card

rd 5F_D_RC Revised report card for 3 quarter rd 3 quarter report cared with grades Progress of annual goals 5G_D_IEP April 2000 quarterly review

Documents ± High school report cards Code Grade/Date Document Topic 9A_D_RC Report card 9th grade final grades June 18, 2004

10B_D_RC Report card 10th grade final grades June 24, 2005

11C_D_RC Report card 11th grade report card June 20, 2006

Documents ± High school Standard of Learning (SOL) results Code Grade/Date Document Topic 9A_D_SOL SOL Results World History I/Algebra/Biology Spring 2004

10B_D_SOL SOL results World History II/Geometry results Spring 2005

11C_D_SOL SOL results English Writing (2002 stds)/Algebra Spring 2006 II/English Reading (2002)/VA $ US History (2001) results

11D_D_REP ACT Assessment Student ACT scores Report Report of possible career interests 11E_D_REP Career Assessment Report August, 2006

Analytical Tool Notations

The code for interviews was: (Interview)(initial of interviewee)_(date of interview).

Example: IK_May16

The code for documents was: (Document)(Alphabetical order in collection)_(grade

level)_(Type of document).

Example: DA_1_REC.

The following Codes for documents were used:

D- Document LET ± Letter

I - interview TRI ± Triennial

REC- Record RC ± Report Card

IEP ± Individual Education Program REF ± Referral

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Sensory Experiences and Children With Severe Disabilities: Impacts on Learning

Associated data.

The original contributions presented in the study are included in the article/supplementary material, and further inquiries can be directed to the corresponding author.

The human sensory system is continuously engaged in experiencing and interpreting every interaction with other living beings, objects, and the environment. The purpose of this article is to describe the impact limited opportunities for rich sensory experiences have on students with severe disabilities in two middle school classrooms situated in a public separate school in the southeastern USA. The study employed a postcritical ethnographic approach and grounded theory thematic analysis of fieldnotes gathered over a two-year period. Three major themes supported by the data are presented and discussed in depth. They are: (a) students are afforded limited sensory rich experiences, (b) everyday routines make students passive recipients to school, and (c) instructional approaches result in little interaction with extended periods of waiting. The implications of the findings for improved sensory experiences and possible future directions are described.

Introduction

“ Sensation is the common language by which we share the experience of being human; it provides a common ground for understanding ” ( Dunn, 2001 , p. 608).

Students with severe disabilities present with a variety of physical, sensory, cognitive, and communication needs that impact the ways they interact with and experience the world ( Erickson and Geist, 2016 ). Though there are differences in the ways individual students with a range of abilities seek or avoid sensation ( Dunn, 2001 ), and there are differences in the ways that various contexts place demands on sensation ( Dunn, 2007 ), little is documented regarding the ways that students with severe disabilities experience and interpret their interactions with other humans, objects, and the environment. This study explored the sensory experiences of a group of students with severe disabilities in two middle school special education classrooms situated in a public separate school in the southeastern United States.

About Children With Severe Disabilities in United States Public Schools

In this manuscript, we discuss children with severe disabilities . By this we mean the group of children in United States public schools who receive special education services under the eligibility category of Multiple Disabilities as defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (2004) . The group of children with severe disabilities also includes some children who receive services under the categories of autism, intellectual disability, or some other category ( Erickson and Geist, 2016 ) and have a concurrent severe intellectual disability ( American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 2017 ). In the United States, most children with severe disabilities are educated in special education classrooms or separate schools that exclusively serve children with disabilities ( Morningstar et al., 2017 ; Burnes and Clark, 2021 ). Although they have diverse cognitive, motor, and sensory profiles ( Towles-Reeves et al., 2012 ; Erickson and Geist, 2016 ), children with severe disabilities all consistently require: (a) instruction that is extensive, intensive, and individualized, (b) materials that are substantially adapted and modified, and (c) methods of accessing information that are individualized to help them acquire, maintain, generalize, and transfer skills across settings ( Dynamic Learning Maps Consortium, 2016 ; Taub et al., 2017 ). Children with severe disabilities exhibit a broad range of expressive communication skills. Depending on the source ( Towles-Reeves et al., 2012 ; Erickson and Geist, 2016 ; Burnes and Clark, 2021 ), approximately 7–10% percent communicate at a pre-symbolic level (e.g., gestures, vocalizations, facial expressions, and body language for highly contextualized purposes), 18%–31% at an emerging symbolic level (e.g., use of single words, signs, or graphic symbols for a restricted range of purposes), and 61%–69% at a symbolic level (e.g., combining two or more words, signs, or graphic symbols). All of the 25%–41% who communicate at pre-symbolic or emerging levels and 8%–10% who use augmentative and alternative communication to communicate at a symbolic level are said to have complex communication needs (CCN; Erickson and Geist, 2016 ).

The Challenge of Sensory Experience for Children With Severe Disabilities

There is a profound lack of literature regarding the sensory experiences of children with severe disabilities. A significant portion of the sensory literature addresses children with autism spectrum disorder or children without disabilities ( Ayres and Tickle, 1980 ; Watling and Dietz, 2007 ; Engel-Yeger and Dunn, 2011 ; Pfeiffer et al., 2011 ; Lang et al., 2012 ; Mills et al., 2016 ; Roberts et al., 2018 ). However, the existing literature serves to inform understandings of the challenge of sensory experiences for children with severe disabilities.

Beginning in infancy, severe disabilities can profoundly delay or preclude the achievement of typical developmental milestones. The altering and delaying of this development affect a child’s world view and sensory development. According to Pexman (2019) , children’s physical development is directly linked to how they interact with objects and the ways that conceptual understanding emerges from sensorimotor experience. As gross motor skills improve, infants have more opportunities to manipulate objects in space. Thus, they have new visual and tactile experiences that give them information and feedback about the world. Limited improvements in gross motor skills prevent children with severe disabilities from seeking and manipulating objects in space ( Nilsson and Nyberg, 2003 ). These limitations have cascading effects on visual and tactile experiences and subsequent sensory development ( Lima et al., 2013 ).

One adverse consequence of severe disabilities is limited opportunity to engage physically in play. As described by Parham and Fazio (2008) , play facilitates learning and is one of the main occupations of early childhood. They define play as “any spontaneous or organized activity that provides enjoyment, entertainment, amusement or diversion” (p. 448). Play is intrinsically motivated, generally focused on process more than outcome, and integrally related to sensory processing skills among children without disabilities ( Roberts et al., 2018 ). “Through play, children learn sensorimotor rules, rules of objects and of people, and rules of thinking” ( Parham and Fazio, 2008 , p. 12). Once children understand these initial rules, they build upon them to understand the more complex and interweaving rules of their culture. The importance of play cannot be overstated; however, there is a lack of evidence regarding play and its role in sensory processing and sensorimotor development in children with severe disabilities. What is known is that play has different forms for children with severe disabilities given the limits in their ability to physical interact with objects ( Wenger et al., 2021 ), move their own bodies ( Graham et al., 2019 ), and talk or otherwise interact with others ( Clarke and Wilkinson, 2009 ). This in turn is likely to impact the sensory development that is promoted by typical play.

Whether in play or other interactions, children independently learn how the world works through sense-making and, when they have the benefit of interactions with other humans, participatory sense-making ( Di Paolo and De Jaegher, 2012 ). As a general concept, sense-making is the creation of meaning through interactions with the world. Individuals use their past experiences to embody current experiences and make meaning. This gives the individual perspective that then shapes how they see the world. Sense-making is a constant and never-ending process that allows people to participate actively in the world. Participatory sense making goes beyond sense-making by emphasizing the ways that two or more people come together to make meaning from the world in a different way than they would do alone. Humans are driven to coordinate with each other in their sense-making in a fluid and dynamic way, and the coordination of two or more physical bodies helps to embody a different perspective on the world. As two or more people work together successfully coordinating their sense-making, they become more in tune with each other “swaying into and out of states that are close to stable, but not quite” ( De Jaegher and Di Paolo, 2007 , p. 491). Both sense-making and participatory sense-making are important tools in growth and development. When a child has severe disabilities, opportunities for sense-making may be diminished, which leaves them more dependent on participatory sense-making than other children. Thus, the opportunities adults provide for participatory sense-making are uniquely important for children with severe disabilities. While this has been reported anecdotally, no research could be located linking physical development, sensorimotor experience, and conceptual development in children with severe disabilities.

The Role of Sensory Experience in Learning and Development

How people process sensory information and what happens when they have impairments with sensory processing has been a topic of discussion since the early 1960’s. Ayres (1973) first coined the term sensory integration to describe a theory created to “explain the relationship between deficits in interpreting sensation from the body and the environment and difficulties with academic or motor learning” ( Bundy et al., 2002 , p. 3). Later, Ayres and Robbins (1979) defined sensory integration as:

the organization of sensory input for use. The ‘use’ may be perception of the body or the world, or an adaptive response, or a learning process, or the development of some neural function. Through sensory integration, the many parts of the nervous system work together so that a person can interact with the environment effectively and experience appropriate satisfaction (p. 184).

Since Ayres’ early work, many occupational therapists have expanded upon and critiqued the theory of sensory integration ( Wilbarger and Wilbarger, 1991 ; Dunn, 1997 ; Bundy et al., 2002 ; Dunn, 2007 ). The model of sensory processing by Dunn (1997) , which depicts a relationship between the nervous system’s thresholds and self-regulation strategies, informs the work reported in this manuscript. In this model, Dunn (2007) defined a neurological threshold as the point at which a nerve cell or a system has enough input to activate. Each individual’s sensory systems can have different neurological thresholds. For example, an individual might have a high neurological threshold for auditory input (e.g., they can listen to very loud music) but have a very low neurological threshold for tactile input (e.g., light touch is experienced as noxious). Neurological thresholds are related to self-regulation, which is described as the central nervous system’s ability to modulate and respond to the sensations received ( Dunn, 1997 , 2001 ). Self-regulation strategies are described on a continuum from passive to active. Passive strategies allow the sensory input to happen without trying to change the environment or the individual. Active strategies involve efforts to control the sensory input to support better self-regulation. These self-regulation strategies directly interact with an individual’s neurological thresholds to create four basic sensory patterns.

As described by Dunn (2007) , these patterns are: sensory seeking, sensation avoiding, sensory sensitivity, and low registration. Sensory seeking indicates a high neurological threshold and active self-regulation strategies, and it often results in children who engage in high levels of activity (e.g., never staying in their seats), have a limited of awareness of space (e.g., crashing into things), and high distractibility, which causes them to lose track of daily tasks. Sensory avoiding indicates a low neurological threshold and active self-regulation strategies. Sensory avoiding often results in children hiding and covering their ears when things get loud, crowded, and overwhelming. Sensory sensitivity indicates a low neurological threshold and passive self-regulation. Children with sensory sensitivity get overwhelmed like children who are sensory avoiding, but they have limited active self-regulation, which keeps them from hiding, covering their ears, or otherwise seeking to limit the sensory input, thereby a frequent response to sensory overload can be irritability, being short tempered, or demanding. The final pattern, low registration, indicates high neurological thresholds and passive self-regulation. Children with low registration often sit quietly, apparently unaffected by sensory input, often missing instructions, and doing nothing about it.

Children with low registration usually need adults to work hard to recruit their attention (e.g., calling their name multiple times or touching them). Children with low registration may seem oblivious to their environment and often appear unresponsive in situations that would typically elicit responses from children. Finally, children with low registration rarely yell or call out and are not thought of as having behavior issues that requires a lot of teacher attention. While Dunn (1997) originally described these patterns using data from children without disabilities, the patterns have since been utilized to understand the sensory processing patterns of at-risk children and children diagnosed with disabilities such as autism, ADHD, and Fragile X syndrome ( Dunn, 2007 ).

Severe disabilities have a ripple effect on the development of sensory processing and the ability to enact active patterns in response to sensory input. Limited gross motor movement restricts opportunity to explore the environment, which leads to limited sensorimotor experience needed to make sense of the objects. This then delays fine motor skill development and restricts play, which further restricts sensory development. These motor impairments further restrict access to the active strategies required by some of the sensory seeking and sensation avoiding patterns by Dunn (2007) . Participatory sense making is one means of supporting purposeful sensory experience and patterns of sensory processing, but it is vital to also support children with severe disabilities in independent play and sense making. Interacting with toys in whatever way they independently can and exploring their environment by touch, sound, mouth, or vision should be combined with learning through the process of engaging with others to support their efforts to pursue desired outcomes or complete tasks. These are just as important and meaningful for children with severe disabilities as they are for any child.

To date, there have been few studies that have analyzed interventions that focus on sensory experiences for children with severe disabilities. One study investigated children with a diagnosis of cerebral palsy who were able to walk and use speech to communicate ( Jameel et al., 2019 ). The intervention focused on kinesthetic training that helped to significantly improve the participants’ perceptual abilities. Specifically, the invention targeted kinesthetic sensitivity, which is needed to appropriately judge the amount of force needed to lift items, maneuver through the environment, and position one’s body to be successful in everyday activities. Jameel and colleagues used body awareness activities with the children and found that after 36, 30-min sessions the children showed significant improvement in their tactile sense, pressure sense, and cognitive ability. Identifying this connection between sensory input and cognition is an important step towards understanding the lasting impacts of sensation, especially for children with severe disabilities.

In addition to impacting cognition, there is reason to believe that at least some sensory experiences provide opportunities to promote mental health. Sheehy and Nind (2005) discussed the limited literature regarding the mental health and emotional well-being of people with profound and multiple disabilities. They assert that the lack of attention to the mental health of people with multiple disabilities overlooks “their very humanness and their right to quality of life” (2005, p. 35). The authors point to the absence of symbolic communication as a primary reason that the sensory experience and mental health needs of people with multiple disabilities is overlooked, as the lack of conventional communication skills leaves them unheard and misunderstood.

Overall, it is evident that more research is needed to understand the impact of sensory experiences on children with severe disabilities. In the current study, sensory experiences emerged as an important theme during grounded theory thematic analysis that was conducted as part of a larger effort to understand thinking and learning among older children and young adolescents with severe disabilities.

Materials and Methods

The current study was situated within a three-year postcritical ethnography designed to construct a theory of thinking and learning in students with severe disabilities including complex communication needs (CCN; Erickson et al., 2021 ). It was approved by the institutional review board at the university where the authors are employed and the school system where the research was conducted. Further, individual adult participants and the parents of the student participants provided written consent. The central question addressed was, what was the nature and impact of the sensory experiences students with severe disabilities including CCN encountered in their classrooms?

Postcritical ethnography requires researchers to intentionally reflect on untested assumptions (e.g., that students with severe disabilities must be educated in separate settings) and personal beliefs relative to the study at hand ( Noblit et al., 2004 ). The interdisciplinary team of six researchers who conducted this study had backgrounds in literacy education, special education, early childhood education, augmentative and alternative communication, assistive technology, severe disabilities, occupational therapy, occupational science, and educational policy. The relevant, collective assumptions and beliefs of the research team include views of:

  • disability as dis/ability, which challenges the view of disability as a binary concept and recognizes that disability is, in part, socially-constructed ( Goodley, 2014 );
  • education as a path toward a more equitable world; and
  • themselves as researchers who are learners-about-students.

Site and Participants

The school where we conducted this study is located in the southeastern United States and is representative of the separate educational placements of nine in 10 students with severe multiple disabilities across the country ( Kleinert et al., 2015 ; Erickson and Geist, 2016 ). The school serves more than 50 school-aged students with a range of severe disabilities. The students are taught in multi-grade classrooms of six to eight students. Each classroom is led by a special education teacher who has the support of a full-time teaching assistant. Additional teaching assistants and nurses address students’ personal care needs across multiple classrooms, and full-time speech-language pathologists, physical therapists, and occupational therapists work with the children and teachers. Other teachers (e.g., art, adapted physical education, media) and specialists (e.g., a teacher of children who are blind and visually impaired and a teacher of children who are deaf and hard of hearing) serve students in this school and others in the school system.

The data in this manuscript focus on two middle-school classes that participated in the larger postcritical ethnography across two school years. We selected these two classrooms because they offered groups of students of similar ages and abilities and teaching staff with similar backgrounds and experience. None of the students reported in this manuscript have known hearing or vision loss, but both are known to be underreported among students with complex needs (e.g., Erickson and Quick, 2016 ). We have intentionally chosen not to highlight or specifically name the individual teachers and teaching assistants. Instead, we forefront the experiences of the students and the systems that impact those experiences. Our goal is to emphasize the role of these systems rather than individual teachers. Throughout, we use pseudonyms for the students in order to emphasize their personhood rather than their diagnosis or perceived deficits.

Classroom 1

There were four or five consented students in Classroom 1 depending on the year of the study. All of the students had severe disabilities and used a range of idiosyncratic gestures, vocalizations, and behaviors to communicate. All of the students had CCN and were learning to use graphic symbols and voice output communication devices to communicate with others. The student featured in the data excerpts in this study is Jamie, who was 10 years old at the start of the study. Jamie, age 10 at the start of the study, was a Latino, male student who received special education services under the IDEA eligibility category, Multiple Disabilities. He was almost always in a wheelchair that he could maneuver himself, but teachers often pushed his wheelchair in the classrooms and when moving from one location in the school to another. He vocalized, sometimes touched graphic symbols from the 36 words from the Universal Core vocabulary to communicate, and sometimes reached out or used his eye gaze to communicate. Mostly he used facial expressions to express his joy, boredom, and outright disdain. Jamie loved music and would wave his arms, dancing, circling around in his wheelchair, laughing, grinning, and raising his eyebrows in response to music. By the second year of the study, Jamie was encouraged to be out of his wheelchair for periods of time, which allowed him to crawl on all fours to get to places he wanted to go.

Tom, just shy of 11 years old when we began the study, was a White, male student eligible for special education services under the IDEA category, Multiple Disabilities. He used a wheelchair for mobility, but he was unable to maneuver it himself. At the beginning of the study, he was working on establishing joint attention and participation. Over time, he began using graphic symbols on a laminated sheet. Then, he moved on to a communication notebook that offered about 25 or 30 pages filled with graphic symbols organized by category (e.g., activities, people, and places) that he accessed by pointing to a symbol representing one of the categories on the menu page. A partner then turned to the corresponding page and Tom selected. By the second year of the study, he was also using a voice output communication device that gave him access to 30 items that were represented by graphic symbols. These included words from the Universal Core vocabulary (e.g., WANT, LIKE, NOT, GO, MAKE; Erickson et al., 2021 ), the names of the teachers in his classroom, and a symbol representing COMMUNICATION NOTEBOOK that he used to request access to the book. Throughout the results, words produced by selecting these graphic symbols are written in all capital letters.

Sophie, age 16 at the start of the study, was a White female student who received special education services under the IDEA eligibility category, Intellectual Disability-Severe. She was alternatively in a stander or a chair with a lap belt, where she often rocked back and forth. Sophie almost always had a red switch in front of her that said, “Yes, that’s the one I want!” when pressed. She also commonly wore noise canceling headphones. Sophie could often be seen with her chin pulled toward her chest and with a furrowed brow. She often lifted one hand and used her long fingers to fiddle with her ear or her eye or her mouth. Sophie was always happy when music was playing.

Classroom 2

There were four or five consented students in Classroom 2 at various points in the study. All of the students had severe disabilities and all communicated using a variety of idiosyncratic gestures, vocalizations, and behaviors. All had CCN and access to some form of voice output communication device with graphic symbols to support their communication and occasionally selected one or two words at a time to communicate with others. The two students featured in data excerpts in this study were Cameron and Devan. Cameron, age 11 at the start of the study, was a White male who was eligible for special education in the category, Intellectual Disability-Severe. He had significant seizures, which impacted his attention and often left him fatigued. When he was not fatigued, he was vocal and worked actively to interact with peers in his vicinity. Marcus could walk with the support of an adult, used a therapeutic stroller to travel long distances, and sat in a therapeutic chair with a tray during instruction. Marcus primarily communicated using vocalizations, gestures, and facial expressions. He was learning to use a voice output communication device that displayed 32 words from the Universal Core vocabulary and a variety of cards and printed displays with graphic symbols representing words related to the topic of the lesson.

Devan, aged 10 at the start of the study, was a White, male student eligible for special education services under the IDEA category, Intellectual Disability-Severe. He used a wheelchair for mobility, but he was unable to maneuver the chair himself. He could walk with physical support from an adult and could move around on the floor through a combination of rolling and combat crawling. He had a voice output communication device with 32 graphic symbols representing words from the Universal Core vocabulary. He accessed it by touching the symbols. However, Devan communicated primarily through facial expressions, vocalizations, reaching, and other movements. Devan typically tore, crumpled, and dropped materials within his reach. A social person, he was often smiling broadly, reaching out, or moving toward classmates and others who entered into his immediate environment.

It is important to note that the teachers in this school were highly trained, and the school was well-regarded. The teachers were passionate, enthusiastic, and caring. They came to school each day eager to be with their students. Nonetheless, as detailed in the results, they sometimes failed to engage all of their students, especially when it came to offering rich sensory experiences that met the students’ sensory processing needs.

Data Collection Methods

The primary means of data collection for the study was participant observation. In addition, informal interview-style interactions occurred with teachers and other school staff seeking clarification and input regarding things that were observed and expectations regarding upcoming classroom and school activities. The content of these interactions was recorded in fieldnotes collected during the participant observations and were reflected upon in research memos. We were unable to interview the students because they did not have the symbolic communication skills required to participate in interviews or to otherwise provide first-person accounts of their perceptions or experiences in ways that we could record.

Fieldnotes were collected during classroom visits conducted from January 2018 to March 2020. Individual members of the research team visited the classrooms approximately once every 2 weeks. Members took detailed notes while observing, then clarified and added detail and commentary to the notes promptly after each observation. In addition, each researcher kept a personal researcher journal containing timely reflections that were shared and discussed in a weekly research team meeting. During these meetings, the team engaged reflexively in questioning their own and one another’s representation of the data.

Observations and interviews were supplemented with artifacts gathered by members of the research team. These included work samples, instructional materials and products, and photographs of the classrooms. Documents such as student Individual Education Programs and school system policies regarding the use of prescribed curricula and assessments also contributed to the body of data informing this study.

Analysis Methods

Data in this study were analyzed using grounded theory methodology ( Charmaz, 2006 ). This involved coding the data to distill, sort, and compare segments. Throughout this initial coding, memos were written whenever the first author felt it necessary to flesh out data points or thoughts and connections the data brought up. The memos varied in length and were shared with other team members during weekly meetings to get their perspective on emerging ideas and to develop emerging theory.

Once initial coding was done, focused coding began anew as the entire set of fieldnotes were analyzed to identify themes. In this stage, the goal was to start to group the initial coding together into more general themes ( Charmaz, 2006 ). This focused coding then led to thematic coding, resulting in three major themes: (a) students are afforded limited rich sensory experiences, (b) everyday routines make students passive recipients to school, and (c) instructional approaches result in little interaction with extended periods of waiting.

As recommended by Charmaz (2006) , all coding and thematic analysis was completed before the literature review in order to minimize the influence of the existing data around this population. As well as delaying the literature review, the first author worked to keep preconceptions that might influence the process in the forefront while tracking the way that they were influencing what was attended to and how it was understood. The authors acknowledge the fact that they approached this work from a western, White, middle or working class, and able-bodied standpoint. The first author is a pediatric occupational therapist, and the second and third authors are educators. All have previous experience working with children with severe disabilities.

Across the two classrooms, the students with severe disabilities who were the focus of the analysis exhibited a low registration sensory processing pattern ( Dunn, 1997 , 2007 ). This fact is relevant to each of the themes. What is unknown is whether these students were born with that pattern or if that pattern was a product of their abilities, environment, and experience. Due to their severe disabilities, these students had limited means of participating in or seeking out sensory experiences within the classroom context. Similarly, they had limited ability to evoke strategies to self-regulate and seek more or less sensory input. The restricted and highly controlled sensory experiences within the classroom contexts kept the students from meeting their neurological threshold, which could have helped them achieve the optimal zone for learning. As described in the following section, low registration sensory processing patterns, the instructional practices, and the environment resulted in long periods of waiting, which served to reinforce the low registration sensory processing patterns.

Students Were Afforded Limited Rich Sensory Experiences

Across the classrooms, the students were typically physically spread apart from one another in their wheelchairs or standers with few opportunities for independent exploration or independent work. The teachers moved from one student to the next, interacting briefly and moving on. The only purposeful, regularly occurring sensory experience for the students was music. Music was used to mark transitions, fill transition times, and facilitate lessons. Whenever music was used, there was a clear positive effect on the students. For example, when one teacher turned on the music, the result was:

Jamie is in his chair… dancing by himself, smiling, looking upward, shaking his hands. He seems to be enjoying the music. He has a sublime smile. The teaching assistant comes back to dance with him again, and he has a look of utter JOY. He is smiling, laughing, and full of life in a way that I have not seen through the last 30+ minutes. He turns around in his chair to look at the teaching assistant who is moving his chair to dance with him.

Across observations, music was the one activity that resulted in this type of positive reaction from the students. Each one was observed to dance with whatever independent movement they had including arm waving, finger wagging, and tapping of their toes. They also had the highest levels of interaction with teachers when dancing to the music, and they were often observed requesting more music in various unconventional ways, such as vocalizations, eye contact and smiles. Unfortunately, the teachers controlled when the music was on or off, rather than the students. This was likely a result of the fact that music was used to fill time between activities or mark the introduction to a lesson.

Music wasn’t itself viewed as a teaching tool or important sensory experience. Further, when music appeared to be used as an intentional part of a lesson, the connection was not always clear. For example, in one instance a teacher was teaching a lesson focused on the letter, W. While Whitney Houston’s song “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” played in the background, the teacher moved around the room singing, dancing, and holding up a big piece of paper with the letter W written on it and a card with the word WANT and a graphic symbol representing the card. Though the teacher presented the W and word card close to the faces of each student, there was no clear expectation that the students would respond or interact with either the sign or the symbol. Some students reached out to touch them when they were presented, but other than responding to the physical act of touching, no meaning was assigned to the action or the song. Some students seemed to enjoy this lesson, but the goal of the lesson and connection to the music was unclear. The auditory input (i.e., music) along with the gross motor movement (i.e., dancing), appeared to hit the high neurological threshold of sensory input needed to ‘wake’ these students up and get them into the optimal zone for learning, but it was not clear what they were supposed to be learning beyond looking at or touching the printed W and the symbol representing WANT.

When potential opportunities for other forms of sensory experience were noted, they were typically adult-directed. For example, teacher 2 planned for the students to make Valentine’s cards for their family members. The teacher gathered materials (e.g., stickers, glitter, glue) that typically offer students opportunity for sensory exploration with different textures, shapes, and colors while making cards. However, the students did not explore or interact with the materials. Instead, the teachers directed students step by step through making binary choices about materials and their placement on the card. The following exchange offers an example:

The teacher presents a running string of questions in a rhetorical way, “Do you want glitter glue? Or googly eyes? Do you want colors? Help me put glue on the eyes--oh no, they are sticky back. Should we put a smirk down here? Do you want beads on your card? Do you want to put, ‘I’m watching you?’ If you don’t answer, I will start putting stuff on. I’m putting ‘I’ and dotting ‘t’s.”
Cameron responds with smiles, reaches, and shakes his head ‘no’.
The teacher states, “I think you should write, ‘I love you and you better believe it’”. The teaching assistant states, “Your mom will like that.”
Cameron smiles.
The teacher asks, “What about ‘You are the sparkle in my heart’.”
Cameron responded, “Eh”.
The teacher concludes the lesson by saying,” Ok, let’s write that and then let it dry. We need to get ready for lunch”.

Later the card was put in Cameron’s backpack for him to bring it home for his mother. Throughout, Cameron’s access to sensory experience was limited in ways that reflected the adult directed interactions and activities that dominated in both classrooms.

Students Were Afforded Limited Gross Motor Activity

Other missed opportunities for sensory experience resulted from limited gross motor movement in the classroom. All but one student in the two classrooms used a wheelchair for mobility, but only one was able to independently maneuver his manual wheelchair and one other had a motorized wheelchair. The remaining students were dependent on others to move them from one location to another when they were in their wheelchairs. Furthermore, the brakes on the manual wheelchairs were often on the back of the chair, presumably to maximize student safety, but eliminating any potential for the students to independently unlock their wheels to allow them to try to move around the classroom. A few students could independently move themselves on the floor by crawling and rolling, but perhaps because they were older children and adolescents, there were few observed opportunities for them to be on the floor. In fact, there was only one recorded instance where a student was noted to independently crawl across the room, with encouragement from the teacher. In this instance, the teacher provided Jamie with extended time and encouraged him to move to his wheelchair after he was taken out of the standing frame. Jamie moved across the room, and pulled himself up and into his wheelchair with minimal assistance. He was then observed wheeling himself back to his spot at the worktable for some free play. The researcher noted that this was the first time in more than a year of observations that Jamie was seen independently moving himself in or out of his wheelchair. As a rule, teachers moved students, transitioning them from one position to another, pushing their wheelchairs to the desired spots, and locking the brakes to when the chairs were in the positions the teachers selected.

Outside of the classroom, more gross motor movement was observed. During one instance, the researcher accompanied students to their adaptive PE class. The clear change in mood observed in the students was repeatedly noted. During the session, each student was given a chance to take a football down to a basket, drop it in, and ring a bell. The students each worked one-on-one with an adult. A researcher worked with Sophie and “she seems to come alive [during PE class] …with only a little encouragement [she] walks the length of the field several times.” The researcher noted another student, who had been whining and crying as a means of complaining all morning, joined in on the fun. Although most students needed full support from teachers, they seemed to have no complaints about the effort it took to walk the length of the gymnasium and ring the bell. This gross motor movement seen in their adaptive PE class, as with music activities, appeared to meet the students’ high neurological threshold, which then helped them engage and participate more actively.

Students Were Afforded Limited Touch Experiences

Touch was another sense that was rarely observed in the classroom. Touch was observed during care activities such as feeding, wiping a nose, or when a student needed to be changed or moved from one piece of equipment or another. Touch during those times served a specific purpose, rather than promoting connection. Importantly, students were sometimes observed trying to connect during these goal-directed interactions with teachers. Unfortunately, their efforts were not understood or acknowledged. For example, in one instance, a teaching assistant grabbed a tissue and said to Tom, “Let me wipe your nose.” In reply Tom used his communication device to say, “NO.” When Tom appeared to note that the teaching assistant still had the tissue and looked ready, he added “GO, FINISHED.” The teaching assistant repeated what Tom said but did not appear to make the connection that maybe he was saying he did not want his nose wiped; she then wiped his nose.

Touch is an important means of establishing connections and communicating with others. The students certainly seemed to understand this. At times, students were observed to reach out for other students or the teacher. Sometimes it was clear that the students were pinching or hitting others because they were frustrated, but at other times, they were using touch to connect in a positive way. For example, students reached out to hold hands with each other, and reached to pull themselves closer or gain attention from peers and teachers. Unfortunately, when teachers noticed this touching, they typically interrupted and redirected the students. Often, unlocking the brakes on their chairs and moving them further away. At other times, students were simply told to stop without explanation. This negative response to student sensory seeking patterns was noted to increase student frustration. It also served to reinforce a low registration sensory processing.

Everyday Routines Made Students Passive Recipients to School

Student passivity throughout the school day may have been a reflection of a general state of low registration sensory processing; however, there was recurring evidence that the students may have learned to be passive as a result of their everyday school experience. Students had very little control over what they did at school. The teachers posed questions, but rarely provided students with the time or means of responding to the questions. When they were offered a means of responding, the answer options were either highly restricted (as an array of 2 or 3 items) or they did not match the content of the question. For example,

The teacher is scurrying around the room but stops long enough to look at Jamie’s face. She says, “You are NOT happy, are you?” She holds up Jamie’s communication board and points to LIKE NOT WANT GO as she says, “Do you LIKE it or NOT like it?” Jamie reaches with his right hand toward NOT, but she is distracted by one of the other students, puts down the communication board, and walks away before Jamie has a chance to reply. Jamie does not appear to be dejected and does not seem to react in any way to not getting his message delivered.

Teachers also talked to students when the students had no means of responding or initiating a different topic. For example, in one observation, a teacher displayed two cards close to Jamie’s face, each presenting a word and graphic symbol. One card had the word and symbol representing GOOD and the other had the word and symbol representing NOT. In the interaction, the teacher said, “They said it was NOT GOOD,” as she moved the cards for NOT and GOOD, respectively. Then she added, “They did NOT like it,” as she moved NOT and then added, “It was NOT GOOD” as she moved the cards for NOT and GOOD again. Throughout this interaction, the teacher controlled the symbols and was just showing him each card and repeating lines that included the two words. Throughout the interaction, Jamie sat with eyes averted while the teacher talked to him.

When students did look in the expected direction or otherwise actively try to engage with the cards and symbols during these interactions, the teachers often reinforced the act of looking or touching rather than the potential meaning of the communication act. This focus on a behavioral response rather than building a communicative interaction may have systematically taught students to be passive recipients across the school day. Other evidence that teachers were not expecting active communication or participation was found in the words and symbols teachers selected to display during these everyday instructional routines. For example, during one language arts activity, the teacher selected cards with the words and graphic symbols representing WHEN and IT. The teacher held the cards up to match her words when she asked, “WHEN did IT start?” There was a clear question, but no way for the student to utilize the symbol cards to respond given the choice of WHEN and IT. On another occasion, a teacher selected the cards with the words and symbols representing WHAT and WEATHER. As she held up the cards she asked, “WHAT is WEATHER?” Sophie reached for the card representing WHAT. The teacher did not acknowledge her reach or the fact that Sophie said, “Ma ma ma.” Instead, the teacher pulled out a single message voice output device programmed to say, “Yes, that’s it.” She put the device in front of Sophie who quickly responded by touching it. The teacher repeated, “Yes, that’s it!” and moved on to the next student. Sophie responded as expected, but the response did not generate any meaning or ongoing interaction that may have helped her shift from a passive to an active role.

There were times when teachers asked yes/no questions or offered choices and worked with students to try to find a means of responding that led to mutual understanding and ongoing interaction. For example, during one observation, the teacher was trying to get Devan to make a choice between two books.

The teacher holds up one book at a time in front of Devan and says, “Devan, do you want to read the ABC book? Use this arm (touching one of Devan’s arms). Use your words. Do you want to read The Cat in the Hat ?” Devan laughs and reaches out to the book. The teacher responds by continuing to hold up one book at a time saying, “Do you want One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish ?” Devan laughs and reaches out again … “or do you want Green Eggs and Ham ?” The teacher taps Devan’s arm with book, Devan reaches out to touch the book. The teacher still does not recognize the reaching behavior and says, “One more time, Devan.” Then the teacher holds up the first book again saying, “ABC book?” Devan responds by laughing and putting his head down.

Throughout the day, students demonstrated a low registration sensory processing pattern. When they did respond to their teacher’s direct requests or bids for attention, their efforts rarely resulted in ongoing interactions or active participation. Overall, there were few instances when the everyday routines encouraged or supported more active engagement or patterns of sensory processing.

Instructional Approaches Resulted in Little Interaction With Extended Periods of Waiting

The way teachers organized and controlled the classrooms resulted in students spending a great deal of time sitting and waiting throughout the day. They waited to be moved, to be touched, to be interacted with, to be talked to, and to be given something to do or attend to. Often, they waited while their peers had a turn. As one researcher observed, “the other kids have to sit and wait the whole time the teacher is cycling through with the other kids. It would be so easy [for the students] to check out.” It appeared that these students did “check out” of the lesson, as the researcher noted, but they were regularly observed looking around the room at the teachers coming and going, chewing on their fingers, reaching out to touch a peer, rocking back and forth and more. The limited structures of interaction observed in the classroom lead the students to find other ways to engage themselves.

During one lesson, Cameron continually looked around the room and fidgeted. It appeared that he was unengaged in the lesson. He communicated his apparent boredom in a few ways, as illustrated by the following excerpt from the fieldnotes. His teacher was reading a book aloud to the class, and Cameron was seated in a therapeutic chair with a lap belt and an empty desk in front of him.

Cameron looks up and watches as the teacher is reading. He looks to the right toward the teaching assistant, or maybe he is just looking down. He waves his left arm left toward another researcher and bangs on the table three times. Cameron looks left toward me and checks me out, watching me type. He waves his head side to side in a ‘no’ motion, then rubs his left arm on his tray. He puts his finger in his mouth then looks over at me. He looks up to the left…Cameron continues looking to his left and putting his hand in his mouth.

Many of Cameron’s behaviors could be characterized as stimming , which is a self-stimulatory behavior that is marked by a repetitive action or movement of the body ( Stimming, n.d. ). However, the question here is whether he was engaging in “stimming” or was he just trying to fulfill his sensory needs given limited options. This type of behavior could easily be classified as sensory-seeking. Across multiple observations, the students were reported to rock back and forth, bite their fingers, look at the teachers moving around the room and in the hallway, and engage in other behaviors that could collectively be classified as sensory-seeking. In each of these instances, a lesson was going on, however, the lessons offered few opportunities for students to engage, interact, or otherwise meet their neurological thresholds. As a result, the students appeared to find other ways to meet them.

Understanding the impact of sensory experiences relative to sensory processing patterns is important. In the case of children with severe disabilities and CCN, sensory experiences and opportunities are especially important given their limited ability to self-regulate and either seek or reduce sensory input in a way that matches their neurological thresholds. As described in the current study, limited sensory experiences might contribute to what presents as a low register, passive sensory pattern among many children with severe disabilities and CCN; however, a closer look at what is often classified as stimming behavior may suggest that at least some of these children are seeking higher levels of sensory input to meet their needs.

Severe disabilities can interfere with the development of sensory processing and the ability to enact active patterns in response to sensory input. The student participants in this study had limited mobility, which made it difficult for them to engage actively in sense making. With these students and others with severe disabilities, intentional efforts to support participatory sense making ( Di Paolo and De Jaegher, 2012 ) may offer much-needed sensory experience. Regular observations of the student participants “waking up” when there was music, dancing, and gross motor activity, suggest that the student participants in this study benefited when these efforts were made. Further the students’ responses during these interactions supports the assertion that students who otherwise appeared to have high neurological thresholds for sensory input with passive self-regulation patterns may, in fact, have learned to be passive in the face of repeated, limited sensory experience. During these instances of more intensive sensory input, the student participants socially interacted with the teacher and teaching assistant. They vocalized, laughed, and appeared eager to exert effort and participate. The general mood changes that resulted from vestibular input were repeatedly documented in fieldnotes. For example, Jamie’s affect, participation, and engagement all improved when dancing in his chair and with the teaching assistant. Although this did not change Jamie’s low registration, the gross motor movement, one-on-one attention, and apparent interest in the music aroused Jamie and other students. Increasing the amount of movement and vestibular input children with severe disabilities receive throughout the day may lead to a shift in register in the long term.

Other sensory experiences included touch and vestibular input. The teachers would grab the students’ hands, sometimes help them stand up, and sway them back and forth. This was one of the only times that touch was used for purely social interaction. Other than during dancing, touch focused on goal-directed duties required to meet the students’ personal care needs. As in the example of the teaching assistant wiping Tom’s nose, touch was used to address needs as perceived by the teachers, which eliminated students’ bodily autonomy. Tom was a middle school student. It would have been reasonable to provide Tom with a choice regarding who touched him and how, especially since Tom very clearly used a communication device with efficiency and accuracy to express his desire not to be touched. Unfortunately, the teaching assistant either did not understand or respect Tom’s communication efforts, as she simply repeated his words rather than responding to them meaningfully. The teaching assistant may have felt it was important to everyone’s health and hygiene to wipe Tom’s nose, but by not explaining this to him, she was reinforcing Tom’s low registration sensory processing pattern.

Despite years of schooling and at least two years during the current study with restricted sensory experience, the student participants persisted in seeking sensory input, connection, and communication. There were numerous occasions when students attempted to interact with one another, when they danced in their locked wheelchairs, and when they quietly engaged in behaviors that could be interpreted as stimming that provided sensory experience. Unfortunately, these efforts were unnoticed, ignored, or interrupted by the teachers in the classrooms. There were many instances of missed opportunities of communication, interaction, lost bids for attention, and teachers physically directing, or controlling students rather than seeking to understand them. It is important that teachers work to understand all of their students’ communication efforts while helping them develop the symbolic communication skills that Sheehy and Nind (2005) warn are critical to ensuring the mental health of people with severe disabilities.

Active engagement and interaction are central elements of effective symbolic communication development for children with severe disabilities and CCN ( Erickson et al., 2021 ). Unfortunately, one of the most salient themes that appeared in the field notes was the amount of time the students spent sitting and waiting. Each of us spends time each day waiting—waiting for the toaster to pop, the light to change, or the lecture to get started. But in these classrooms, the student participants spent a disproportionate amount of time waiting. This waiting typically ensued without interruption given the students’ apparent low registration processing pattern. Without the students actively seeking input through gross movement or loud vocalizations, there was no impetus for teachers to shorten the periods of waiting. Instead of working to improve student sensory processing and optimize the environment for student learning and engagement, teachers were being reinforced by students’ low registration, which then led teachers to reinforce students’ passive, low registration patterns.

It is unclear if the students’ low registration sensory processing patterns were learned or innate, but the classrooms in this study definitely reinforced this low registration sensory processing pattern over a sensory seeking one. The students could not engage in many sensory seeking behaviors, as they sat in locked wheelchairs far enough away from one another to eliminate opportunities for physical interaction. However, there was evidence that they engaged in self-stimulatory behaviors, stimming, that provided sensory input when the environment did not. This suggests that perhaps they were innately driven to seek sensory input and that the low registration pattern had been learned and reinforced over time. It also points to the need for teachers to provide more opportunities for participatory sense-making.

Implications

Improving outcomes for students with severe disabilities requires that educational teams attend to their sensory needs. Though more research is needed to understand the impacts of sensory and play based learning in students with severe disabilities, the current study provides important initial evidence of the need to inform teachers of the impact of limited sensory input and different sensory processing patterns. Professional development courses could be a way to help teachers understand the senses and the impact of purposeful sensory experiences on learning, motivation, and self-regulation. This could also be accomplished by occupational therapists who provide direct and indirect services to students. These professionals could help teachers understand and apply the model of sensory processing by Dunn (1997) . This would allow educational teams to identify patterns of individual students and offer specific strategies to manage sensory experiences to maximize student engagement and participation throughout the school day. Understanding the different types of sensory processing and how to help each type, especially low registration, get to the optimal zone could also significantly improve the experience, engagement and interactions between teachers and the students.

The limited rich sensory experiences observed in these two middle school classrooms have a profound impact on all students, but especially students with severe disabilities who may be unable to meet their own sensory input needs due to physical and environmental constraints. Without environments and other people to help them meet their sensory needs, the students are more likely to establish passive sensory processing patterns, which then reinforce increasingly long periods of waiting and more passivity. A low registration sensory processing pattern compounds the impacts of learning environments that offer few sensory experiences, and more research is needed to understand how to increase purposeful sensory experiences and the impact these experiences can have on students with severe disabilities.

Data Availability Statement

Ethics statement.

The studies involving human participants were reviewed and approved by Office of Human Research Ethics at UNC-CH. Written informed consent to participate in this study was provided by the participants’ legal guardian/next of kin.

Author Contributions

SA, KE, and CD’A contributed to the conception of the analysis for the current manuscript. KE was the PI and CD’A the project director of the larger project. KE and CD’A collected the data, contributed substantially to the methods, and revised all sections of the manuscript. SA analyzed the data with support from KA and CD’A and wrote the first draft of this manuscript. All authors contributed to the article and approved the submitted version.

The research reported in this article was made possible in part by a grant from the Spencer Foundation (#201800037). The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Spencer Foundation.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

Publisher’s Note

All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article, or claim that may be made by its manufacturer, is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher.

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank all of the students and teachers who contributed their time to this study, as well as the other members of the research team.

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Disability Employment: How Assistive Technologies Are Transforming the Modern Workplace

2024-05-21 | By Orcam Staff

Transforming Workplaces: Assistive Tech for Disability Employment

In the modern workplace, diversity and inclusion are more than just buzzwords. They are essential components of a successful business strategy.

Assistive technologies play a pivotal role in this context. They empower employees with disabilities, fostering an inclusive and productive work environment.

An inclusive workplace with assistive technologies

These technologies range from adaptive hardware to software solutions. They are designed to accommodate the unique needs of individuals, enhancing their ability to perform tasks effectively.

However, the adoption of assistive technologies is not just about compliance with legal requirements. It's about creating a culture of inclusivity, where every employee feels valued and can contribute their best.

In this article, we delve into the transformative impact of assistive technologies in the workplace. We explore their role in promoting employment equity, workforce diversity, and inclusive hiring practices.

Join us as we uncover how these technologies are shaping the future of work, empowering accessibility, and driving business success.

The Imperative of Assistive Technologies in Employment

The importance of assistive technologies in employment cannot be overstated. They serve as a bridge, enabling individuals with disabilities to access and excel in the workplace.

These technologies are not just tools. They are catalysts for change, driving a shift towards more inclusive and equitable employment practices.

Assistive technologies help to level the playing field. They allow individuals with disabilities to perform tasks that might otherwise be challenging or impossible.

Moreover, these technologies foster a sense of independence and autonomy. They empower individuals to take control of their work, boosting their confidence and job satisfaction.

In essence, assistive technologies are a critical component of employment equity. They are key to unlocking the untapped potential of individuals with disabilities in the workforce.

Legal Framework and Compliance

The use of assistive technologies in the workplace is not just a matter of good practice. It is also a legal requirement under various international laws and regulations.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), for instance, mandates reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. This often includes the provision of assistive technologies.

Similarly, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) emphasizes the right to work on an equal basis. Assistive technologies play a crucial role in realizing this right.

In essence, compliance with these legal frameworks is not just about avoiding penalties. It's about fostering a culture of respect and equality in the workplace.

Statistics: The Employment Gap

Despite progress, a significant employment gap persists between individuals with disabilities and those without. Assistive technologies are key to closing this gap.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment-population ratio for persons with a disability was 19.3 percent in 2019. In contrast, the ratio for those without a disability was 66.3 percent.

This stark disparity underscores the urgent need for more inclusive hiring practices. Assistive technologies can play a pivotal role in this regard.

By enhancing accessibility, these technologies can help to break down barriers to employment. They can open up a world of opportunities for individuals with disabilities, contributing to a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

Defining Assistive Technologies and Their Scope

Assistive technologies encompass a broad range of tools and devices. They are designed to support individuals with disabilities in performing tasks that might otherwise be difficult or impossible.

These technologies can be hardware, software, or standalone devices. They can be customized to meet the unique needs of each individual.

For instance, assistive technologies can help individuals with physical disabilities to navigate their work environment. They can also support those with visual or hearing impairments in accessing information.

Moreover, assistive technologies can aid individuals with cognitive or learning disabilities in processing and understanding information. They can also support those with communication difficulties in expressing their thoughts and ideas.

In essence, the scope of assistive technologies is vast. They can support a wide range of functions, from mobility and communication to learning and task management.

Examples of Adaptive Technology in Action

Consider the example of screen readers. These software applications convert text into speech, enabling individuals with visual impairments to access digital content.

Similarly, speech recognition software can transcribe spoken words into text. This can be invaluable for individuals with physical disabilities that affect their ability to type.

For individuals with hearing impairments, assistive listening devices can amplify sound. These devices can make it easier to participate in meetings and conversations.

Moreover, for individuals with cognitive or learning disabilities, there are tools that can simplify complex tasks. These include graphic organizers, predictive text software, and text-to-speech applications.

In essence, these examples illustrate the transformative potential of assistive technologies. They show how these tools can empower individuals with disabilities to thrive in the workplace.

The Role of Assistive Devices in Fostering Inclusive Hiring

Assistive technologies play a crucial role in fostering inclusive hiring practices. They enable individuals with disabilities to perform tasks and roles that they might otherwise be unable to do.

By providing the necessary support, these technologies can level the playing field. They can ensure that individuals with disabilities have equal opportunities to contribute and succeed.

Moreover, assistive technologies can also support the recruitment process. They can make job advertisements, application forms, and interview processes more accessible.

In essence, assistive technologies can break down barriers. They can open up a world of opportunities for individuals with disabilities in the workplace.

Case Studies: Success Stories of Workplace Inclusion

Consider the case of OrCam, a company dedicated to transforming lives through innovative assistive technologies. OrCam has made significant strides in fostering an inclusive workplace by implementing a range of technologies to support employees with disabilities.

Empowering Employees with Visual Impairments

One of OrCam’s flagship products, the OrCam MyEye, uses artificial intelligence to provide real-time audio descriptions of the visual world. This technology is invaluable for employees with visual impairments, enabling them to navigate their work environment independently and access information with ease.

Supporting Neurodiverse Employees

OrCam has also focused on supporting neurodiverse employees. The OrCam Read device, for instance, helps individuals with reading difficulties by instantly converting printed and digital text into spoken words. This tool has been particularly beneficial for employees with low vision, enhancing their productivity and job satisfaction.

Creating an Inclusive Culture

These case studies illustrate the transformative potential of OrCam’s assistive technologies. By providing the right tools and support, OrCam has fostered an inclusive and diverse workplace where every employee can thrive.

The Business Case for Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion are more than just buzzwords. They are key drivers of innovation and business performance.

A diverse workforce brings together a variety of perspectives, experiences, and skills. This diversity can fuel creativity and drive innovation.

Moreover, an inclusive workplace can boost employee morale and job satisfaction. It can foster a sense of belonging and community among employees.

In essence, diversity and inclusion can enhance a company's reputation. They can make a company more attractive to top talent and customers alike.

Innovation and Performance Benefits

Research has consistently shown a positive correlation between diversity and innovation. Diverse teams are more likely to generate novel ideas and solutions.

For instance, a study by Boston Consulting Group found that diverse companies produce 19% more revenue. This is attributed to innovation.

Moreover, assistive technologies can further enhance this innovation. They can enable employees with disabilities to contribute their unique perspectives and skills.

In essence, diversity, inclusion, and assistive technologies can be a powerful combination. They can drive innovation and business performance to new heights.

Overcoming Barriers: Integrating Assistive Technologies

Despite the clear benefits, integrating assistive technologies can be challenging. These challenges can range from financial constraints to lack of awareness or technical expertise.

For instance, small businesses may struggle with the initial investment required for assistive technologies. However, government incentives and subsidies can help offset these costs.

Moreover, there can be resistance from employees due to unfamiliarity with the technology. This can be addressed through comprehensive training and support.

In essence, while there are challenges, they are not insurmountable. With the right strategies, businesses can successfully integrate assistive technologies.

Strategies for Effective Technology Integration

Successful integration of assistive technologies requires a strategic approach. This includes understanding the needs of employees, choosing the right technology, and providing ongoing support.

Firstly, it's crucial to involve employees with disabilities in the decision-making process. Their input can ensure the chosen technology meets their needs and enhances their productivity.

Secondly, businesses should consider the interoperability of assistive technologies with existing workplace tools. This can ensure a seamless integration and user experience.

Lastly, ongoing training and support are key. They can ensure employees are comfortable using the technology and can troubleshoot any issues.

Looking Ahead: The Future of Assistive Technology in the Workplace

The future of assistive technology in the workplace is promising. With advancements in technology, we can expect more innovative solutions that cater to a wider range of disabilities.

For instance, the rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning can lead to more personalized and adaptive technologies. These can better cater to the unique needs of each individual.

Moreover, the shift towards remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of digital accessibility. This trend is likely to continue, further driving the demand for assistive technologies.

In essence, the future workplace will likely be more inclusive and accessible, thanks to assistive technologies.

Emerging Trends and Ethical Considerations

While the future of assistive technology is exciting, it also brings new ethical considerations. For instance, data privacy and security become paramount as more technologies collect and process personal data.

Businesses must ensure that the use of assistive technologies respects the privacy of employees. They must also have robust data protection measures in place.

Moreover, there's a need for ethical design in assistive technologies. This means ensuring the technology is not only functional but also respects the dignity and autonomy of the user.

In conclusion, as we embrace the future of assistive technology, we must also navigate these ethical considerations with care.

Conclusion: A Call to Action for Employers and Policymakers

The transformative power of assistive technologies in the workplace is undeniable. They not only empower employees with disabilities but also foster a more inclusive and diverse work environment.

However, the adoption of these technologies requires commitment from employers. It also calls for supportive policies from government and regulatory bodies.

In conclusion, assistive technologies are not just tools for accessibility. They are catalysts for change, driving us towards a more inclusive and equitable society. Let's embrace them and work together to create a workplace that truly values diversity and inclusion.

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Empowerment and advocacy culture within higher education for adults with intellectual disabilities: a qualitative case study.

Rachel R. Kovach , Liberty University Follow

School of Education

Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)

Christian L Raby

empowerment, advocacy, intellectual disabilities, higher education

Disciplines

Educational Leadership | Higher Education

Recommended Citation

Kovach, Rachel R., "Empowerment and Advocacy Culture within Higher Education for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities: A Qualitative Case Study" (2024). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects . 5530. https://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/doctoral/5530

The purpose of this case study was to understand the impact that advocacy and empowerment practices have on the intellectual disabilities community in academic and social constructs for students within community colleges and disability programs on the West Coast of California. The theories that served as the foundation of this study are intergroup contact theory and empowerment theory. Intergroup contact theory assures that the acceptance of societal norms and expectations must be agreed upon and embraced by all within a subpopulation for cultures to adapt and advance. Empowerment theory states that a fundamental goal during moments of progress and struggle is to achieve self-actualization and fulfillment by gaining peer, professional, and personal efficacy by developing and sharing one’s voice and perspective. With 20 participants, nine partook in individual interviews, and two separate focus groups of five-to-seven per group were formed, with the remaining 11. This allowed participants to communicate their insights and perspectives on their relationships with higher education and their connections to empowerment and advocacy practices within their daily lives. 10 of the 20 participants submitted work samples demonstrating their connections to empowerment and advocacy skills. Based on the data collected, the participants found it more important for their skills to assist in improving the lives and realities of their peers and passionate causes before themselves. Experiences gained within the classroom environment, as well as overcoming social and medical adversity, provided participants the resources necessary to convey the importance and effectiveness of empowerment and advocacy practices for future students as well as their peers and have ultimately offered them opportunities to be more fully developed students, employees, and global citizens.

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This Mother's Day, I'm celebrating the fact that I can bake with my kid again. Not long ago, that wasn't the case.

  • I baked with my dad and wanted to do it with my kids, but an undiagnosed illness made it impossible.
  • When I learned I had multiple sclerosis, I finally started receiving treatment.
  • Spending time in the kitchen with my son is the best gift I could ask for.

Insider Today

When I was little, I'd stand on a kitchen chair by the counter as my father poured flour into the mixer. "Turn it on," he'd say, and together we'd watch the ingredients morph into batter. He did the same with his mother, and I always thought I'd do the same with my kids, but we never had the chance. I stopped baking during those early parenting years because I was living with undiagnosed multiple sclerosis (MS). I physically couldn't do it.

When my younger son was a toddler, I couldn't stand long enough to cook dinner, let alone bake. It was one of many hobbies this disease stole from me as my body declined and my search for a diagnosis grew.

Flour. Sugar. Baking powder. Vanilla extract. Butter. Eggs. By the time I'd collected all the ingredients on the counter, my legs were devoid of energy. I stirred until my arm muscles throbbed — often, it wasn't long enough.

Some days, I'd push on anyway, determined to hang on to this one piece of myself so that I wasn't defined by this disease. But after sifting, pouring, mixing — and standing — weakness and pain would win.

As my legs begged for rest, I'd slowly sink downward into a sitting position until I reached the kitchen floor. There, I cried, mourning the loss of who I was.

I hung up my apron as I waited for a diagnosis

"Perhaps I was once a baker," I'd tell myself. But now, I was a chronically ill mother struggling to survive, and it was hard to recognize myself.

Related stories

Being in the kitchen was a reminder that I was living with a debilitating yet mysterious disease. When cooking, I'd lean on the counter to relieve some of the weight my body was supporting, but that only helped for so long. I'd prepare meals as quickly as I could, sitting at the counter while I worked when possible.

By the time my second son was born, I'd already exhausted doctors in every specialty without receiving a diagnosis . Resting in the evenings instead of baking like I once did was the only way to push through. I simply had no other choice.

Baking became a hobby of my past, and my muffin tins found their way to the bottom of my cabinet, buried under kitchen necessities. This disease left no space for activities of enjoyment.

I learned I had multiple sclerosis

After 13 years of searching for an answer, a neurologist ordered a lumbar puncture , and with the results, he suggested, "I think what we're dealing with here is MS." With treatment, my body finally had a chance to improve. Slowly, over a few years, I found myself again. Short walks became easier. Moving around my home felt more natural. Exercising became routine. My muffin tins emerged from hiding.

At first, I found old recipes I used to bake with my father during childhood — ones I'd written on loose-leaf paper and brought to college with me. I've been on a gluten-free diet for the last decade, and I now experiment with new recipes in search of the best gluten-free muffin. I rediscovered the therapeutic nature of baking and how it relieves stress and heals trauma.

I'm six years into MS treatment, and my 12-year-old now enjoys mixing the batter with me. He's too big to stand on a chair beside me, eagerly watching the ingredients swirl together. We were cheated out of the magic of baking during toddlerhood, but we're making up for lost time. It's a chance I never knew we'd have.

My body is still imperfect. Mixing is difficult at times, and I can't stand indefinitely, but baking is now possible — and I have a helper to take over when I need to rest. This Mother's Day, as we bake together, my son and I will appreciate the little things that many people take for granted, like the smell of muffins baking in the oven, the decadence of a handful of Ghirardelli chocolate chips, the wonder of watching the batter rise through the oven door, and the ability to simply stand long enough to bake.

Baking muffins with my son helps me appreciate everything my body can do despite MS. We have a second chance to measure, sift, mix, and pour together — even though he doesn't need to stand on a chair to see the bowl. It's like finding a lost puzzle piece after many years and finally feeling whole again — it's the best Mother's Day gift I could ask for.

Watch: Jill Kramer, CMO of Accenture, says disability inclusion should be baked into creative briefs

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  1. Supporting Young Children With Multiple Disabilities: What Do We Know and What Do We Still Need To Learn?

    Several studies have been reported demonstrating the effective use of aided AAC to increase early communication for young children with multiple disabilities. These studies targeted young children with dual sensory impairments and physical challenges (Mar & Sall, 1994; Schweigert & Rowland, 1992) and children with profound multiple disabilities ...

  2. Challenges faced by learners with multiple disabilities at a resource

    The study followed a qualitative approach, with an intrinsic case study design. Purposive, criterion sampling procedures were employed to select the participants. Data were collected through semi-structured, face-to-face, in-depth interviews, complemented by observation. ... In the case of this study, having multiple disabilities, compounded by ...

  3. PDF A Case Study of a Foster Parent Working to Support a Child with ...

    A Case Study of a Foster Parent Working to Support a Child with Multiple Disabilities in a Full-Time Virtual School MARY F. RICE University of New Mexico, United States [email protected] KELSEY R. ORTIZ University of Kansas, United States [email protected] TONI M. CURRY University of Kansas, United States [email protected] RYAN PETROPOULOS

  4. Ableism in Education: A Case Study of a Student with Multiple Disabilities

    This phenomenological case study examines the journey of one female with multiple disabilities and how she achieved success in school against difficult odds. It relies on an overview of the disability movement, related legislation from the 1960s to present, and compares the theoretical models of disability. This framework of historical, political, medical, social, and ableist approaches to ...

  5. Supporting successful inclusive practices for learners with

    A case study approach was used to describe in detail practices and experiences of individuals working with learners with additional support needs and disabilities. According to Yin [Citation 46], case studies are used to "investigate contemporary phenomena within its real-life context". Our multisite case study included the everyday ...

  6. Intellectual and Multiple Disabilities in Schools: Three Case

    Intellectual and Multiple Disabilities in Schools: Three Case Studies Annemarie C. Tadema Talant, Beetsterzwaag Carla Viaskamp and Wied Ruijssenaars University of Groningen Abstract: Until recently in the Netherlands, students with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities (PIMD) rarely made use of the educational facilities available.

  7. Disability as Diversity: A Case Studies Companion Guide

    This book of case studies is the perfect companion to Meeks' and Neal-Boylan's recently-published book Disability as Diversity. It contains ten cases related to medicine and nursing but with significant relevance to other health professions. Each case is preceded by an introduction with instructions onhow to use it.

  8. (PDF) With Severe and Multiple Disabilities in Inclusive Physical

    Several studies in special education have indicated importance of the frequent prompt delivery strategies to foster a higher level of on-task behavior and correct task responding in persons with severe and multiple disabilities (e.g., Lancioni, Dijkstra, O'Reilly, Groeneweg & van den Hof, 2000; Lancioni, Dijkstra, O'Reilly, Brower ...

  9. Tangible Object Symbols: A Case Study with an Adult with Multiple

    A field study of a standardized tangible symbol system for learners who are visually impaired and have multiple disabilities. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 107, 180-191. Crossref. Google Scholar ... and the Transition to Disability: A Case Study with Implications for Life History Research. Show details Hide details. Ronald J ...

  10. Assistive Technology Applications in Educational Programs of Children

    Results are reported of a two-year case study that analyzed how assistive technology was used in educational programs for 14 children with multiple disabilities who had two to ten years experience with assistive technology.

  11. PDF Sip-Em Coffee Sip-Em

    Lilly is a 20-year-old young woman with Multiple Disabilities according to eligibility documentation. Her IEP indicates that she receives special education services, due to a severe ... including courses of study, that will reasonably enable the student to meet those postsecondary goals, and annual IEP goals related to the student's

  12. Advancing inclusive research with people with profound and multiple

    Inclusive research with people with profound and multiple learning disabilities. The importance of including people with learning disabilities in qualitative research has been well established (Nind, 2014; Walmsley and Johnson, 2003; Walmsley et al., 2017).Scholars have long argued that qualitative inquiries should be conceived as a process of working with, by, and sometimes to others, in ...

  13. Ableism in Education: a Case Study of a Student with Multiple

    In this study, I conducted a case study while employing the methods of narrative inquiry and elements of life history to explore the experiences of the elementary school years of one student with multiple disabilities. A case study was used to add to our knowledge so educators may better understand an individual or group of individuals (Yin, 2014).

  14. Transition for Students With Disabilities: A Case Study

    Transition for Students with Disabilities: A Case Study. This case study is intended to help student affairs professionals understand what their responsibilities are in assisting postsecondary students with disabilities who are facing transition issues. An overview of the K-12 and postsecondary laws are outlined to inform readers of these ...

  15. Sensory Experiences and Children With Severe Disabilities: Impacts on

    The school where we conducted this study is located in the southeastern United States and is representative of the separate educational placements of nine in 10 students with severe multiple disabilities across the country (Kleinert et al., 2015; Erickson and Geist, 2016). The school serves more than 50 school-aged students with a range of ...

  16. Thriving with Down syndrome: A qualitative multiple case study

    Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities (JARID) is a learning disabilities journal covering topics ranging from quality of life to medication & services. ... A qualitative multiple case study design was used to document the lives of four adults thriving with DS. Thriving was defined as high subjective well-being coupled with ...

  17. University of South Carolina

    University of South Carolina

  18. Multiple Disabilities

    The characteristics of multiple disabilities vary based on the types of disabilities. The characteristics may include hearing loss, vision loss, inability to make or maintain relationships, little ...

  19. Small Study on Stationary Cycling for People with MS

    In a small pilot study, 18 people with MS and varying levels of disability were able to complete a 12-week aerobic exercise program involving stationary cycling twice a week. Participants worked with rehabilitation therapists to address any issues with accommodations to resolve them. The exercise was well-tolerated and improved walking speed.

  20. Transforming Workplaces: Assistive Tech for Disability Employment

    Case Studies: Success Stories of Workplace Inclusion Consider the case of OrCam, a company dedicated to transforming lives through innovative assistive technologies. OrCam has made significant strides in fostering an inclusive workplace by implementing a range of technologies to support employees with disabilities.

  21. PDF Case Studies on Disability Inclusion in JICA Projects

    Five ODA projects (loan and grant projects) were selected for the case studies to examine disability inclusion efforts in JICA projects. The report summarizes the efforts, background, and contributing ... Based on the analysis of the case studies, key points for mainstreaming disability inclusion in projects are summarized at the beginning of ...

  22. Qualitative outcomes and impact of a robotic intervention on children

    A case study approach with a multiple case study design was adopted. Sixteen children with autism spectrum disorder, aged 5-11 years, were included. Participants received 12 weekly sessions of robot-mediated social skills training. The successful outcomes relating to social participation were identified as enhanced verbal expression, social ...

  23. "Empowerment and Advocacy Culture within Higher Education for Adults wi

    The purpose of this case study was to understand the impact that advocacy and empowerment practices have on the intellectual disabilities community in academic and social constructs for students within community colleges and disability programs on the West Coast of California. The theories that served as the foundation of this study are intergroup contact theory and empowerment theory.

  24. Traumatic Brain Injury & Concussion

    Nov. 6, 2023. Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Management Guideline. View clinical recommendations for diagnosis and management of adults with mild TBI. Apr. 29, 2024. Health Care Provider Resources. View resources to manage and prevent concussions. Apr. 15, 2024.

  25. Multiple Sclerosis Treatment Allows Me to Bake With My Son Again

    May 12, 2024, 4:39 PM PDT. Receiving treatment for multiple sclerosis allowed Lindsay Karp (not pictured) to start baking with her son again. Getty Images. I baked with my dad and wanted to do it ...