Date of Conferral







Stephanie Gaddy


Students with developmental disabilities (DD) require intensive instruction from special education teachers to obtain functional skills. At the high school level, special education teachers’ instructional practices for this significant population have rarely been studied by researchers. Using Vygotsky’s social development theory as the conceptual framework, the purpose of this qualitative descriptive study was to explore how special education teachers implement instructional practices for high school students with DD. Participants were 10 public high school special education teachers who had skills and experience implementing instructional practices for students with DD. Data were gathered through open-ended, face-to-face interviews. Analysis of the data revealed instructional practices that could be grouped together in multiple themes. Participants specified numerous instructional practices for the classroom and the community; yet, all 10 special education teachers separately emphasized professional development is vital to gain effective instructional practices. The results from this study promote positive social change by informing high school special education teachers about additional, effective instructional practices for students with DD; consequently, students with DD will increase their learning skills with everyday experiences and the community will obtain positive community contributors.