Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Tammy A. Hoffman


The reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act brought about initiatives to educate students with disabilities in mainstream settings as frequently as possible. Although the policy trend is moving toward inclusive education, preschool children with disabilities continue to be underrepresented in mainstream early childhood classes. This study was conducted to explore the perspectives of parents and teachers about the inclusion of preschool students with disabilities in general education classes. This qualitative case study was grounded in the social model of disability, which asserts that individuals with disabilities are hindered more by their environment than by their disability. The research questions were designed to gain an understanding of parent and teacher perspectives as they relate to providing equal opportunities in education for young children with disabilities. Data were obtained through semi-structured interviews with 10 parents and 10 teachers, as well as observations of preschool inclusive classrooms. Data were coded and analyzed for common themes. Based on the data analysis, major themes emerged that included parents and teachers. Parents and teachers generally looked favorably on including preschool children with disabilities into general education. Among parents, the theme of meeting the needs of diverse learners was apparent throughout the study. The recurring theme among teachers was the need for support when including children with behavioral disabilities. This study has the potential to affect positive social change by shedding light on the importance of the perspectives of crucial stakeholders when designing inclusive preschool programs to enhance learning for all students.