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A study of the educational programs serving three children with severe special needs

Lorri Ann Ventura, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The purpose of the study was to examine and compare the service delivery models of three students with severe disabilities in three different settings and to detail the benefits derived in each of the programs. The study included classroom observations, analysis of individual educational plans (IEPs), interviews with families and teaching assistants, and presentation of in-depth cost data. The study found three examples of unsuccessful inclusion, as determined by observed social isolation, documented skill loss, and feedback presented by the teaching assistants. Analysis further revealed a lack of staff support and training. Cost analysis found that the highest expenses incurred among the participants were for individual aides and transportation. Implications of the study focus on the importance of thoroughly assessing a child's needs prior to placement in an inclusive setting, and then comparing those needs with existing and potential programmatic resources. Finally, inclusion strategies deemed effective in serving students with mild to moderate special needs in all likelihood will provide insufficient support to youngsters with severe disabilities.

Subject Area

Special education|School administration

Recommended Citation

Ventura, Lorri Ann, "A study of the educational programs serving three children with severe special needs" (1997). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9737592.