Charles KempFollow




School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Gail Collins


nclusive Educaion, Low Incidence Disabilities, State-level Leaders


Curriculum and Instruction | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Disability and Equity in Education | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Psychology


The purpose of this holistic single-case study was to examine the state leaders’ perceptions of the readiness for public schools to implement inclusive education for students with low incidence disabilities. The adult learning theory (Knowles, 1990), the sociocultural theory (Vygotsky, 1978, 1986), and the implementation science framework (Blasé, Van Dyke, Fixsen, Duda, Horner, & Sugai, 2009) provided the theoretical framework for this study. The study, set in a Midwestern state, sought to understand from state-level leaders’ perspectives the readiness for and the roadblocks to implementation of inclusive education for students with low incidence disabilities. The data for this study was derived through individual interviews with eight supervisors of the educational support teams, a focus group of five state-level leaders, and an examination of site documents from a Midwestern state. I followed Saldaña’s (2013) data analysis approach of coding and theme naming in order to understand the phenomenon of inclusive education from state leader’s perspectives. An analysis of the state-level leaders’ perceptions of inclusive education revealed the following themes: a) change the conversation, b) change the culture, and c) change the system. The findings revealed that some districts already practice inclusive education for some students, but most districts struggle to include students with high incidence disabilities, much less students with low incidence disabilities. State-level leaders also believe that preservice teachers are not prepared to face the challenges of diverse needs in today’s classrooms. Additionally, state-level leaders perceive that inclusive practices happen where district and building leadership support exists. The greatest roadblock to implementation of inclusive practices is adult attitudes. Lastly, state-level leaders perceive the need to cast a vision for inclusive education for all students regardless of disabilities.