Date of Award

Spring 5-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dr. Meghan Cosier

Second Advisor

Dr. Dawn Hunter

Third Advisor

Dr. Mary Falvey


Despite the preponderance of scholarly literature advocating the benefits of including students with disabilities in general education, students with ESN continue to be educated in restrictive settings. Limited research exists on how to facilitate access to inclusive opportunities in these segregated self-contained settings, yet this is primarily where these students are educated. Additionally, educators of these students are often “caught in the continuum;” teaching in a system that is set to exclude their students while attempting to facilitate access. This qualitative research study used collective case study methodology and methods to analyze this gap in the literature. This dissertation aimed to determine how educators in segregated self-contained settings facilitate access to general education curriculum and peers for students with ESN at the student, school, and district levels. Subsequently, it aimed to identify the educational practices special educators use to facilitate this access and what challenges and barriers they encounter. Through semistructured interviews and related documentation, findings highlight the perspectives of special education teachers, including the supports, educational practices, and barriers they experience when providing access for their students with ESN. These findings lead to recommendations for future research and practice as we continue to endeavor for access for all.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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