Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Timothy Lafferty


AbstractA Head Start program in Southeast Georgia, teachers were struggling to provide appropriate services to students with special needs (SWSN) in inclusive settings. The purpose of this study was to explore Head Start teacher descriptions of their roles and the barriers that inhibit implementation of inclusive education for SWSN. McKenzie and Zascavage’s model of inclusion formed the conceptual framework that guided this study. The research questions for this study addressed teacher descriptions of their roles and the barriers that inhibit the implementation of inclusive teaching strategies. A basic qualitative design was used to capture the insights of 12 purposefully selected Head Start inclusion teachers through semi structured interviews. Themes were identified through open coding. The trustworthiness of the study was established through member checking, rich and detailed descriptions, and researcher reflexivity. The findings revealed that Head Start teachers are challenged in the role of teaching SWSN, and they need time and resource support to prioritize learning needs of this special population and additional training to improve instructional strategies. This study has implications for positive social change through the identification of strategies to overcome the challenges faced by Head Start teachers in inclusive classrooms and the identification of resources and training needs to improve the quality of services provided by Head Start teachers for the benefit of SWSN