Date of Conferral







Anthony R. Perry


Mainstreaming special education students has created challenges for teachers, resulting in significant lesson time allocated to classroom disruptions related to maladaptive behavior. This correlational study examined the extent to which specific sensorimotor deficits predict maladaptive behavior among special education students (aged 8-12 years) based on archival data of teacher assessments in New Zealand. Piaget’s cognitive and affective development theory was used as the theoretical foundation. Results from standard multiple regression demonstrated that higher levels of sensorimotor deficits (vision, touch, taste and smell, body awareness, balance and motion) predicted high levels of maladaptive behavior (internalizing, externalizing, and overall maladaptive behavior indices); similarly, higher deficits in taste and smell predicted low levels of adaptive behavior. These results may lead to positive social change by stressing the importance of early sensory assessment among young school children. In addition, the results may also be used to improve interventions or programs designed to reduce maladaptive behavior in the classroom, reducing teachers’ time devoted to managing maladaptive behavior and improving special education students' mental health.