Document Type


Publication Date



With recent changes in the legislative directions (NCLB and IDEIA 2004) affecting education and the support to students with special needs, new thoughts have emerged in the identification, assessment, placement, and instruction of these students. The purpose of this study was to explore the prototypical thinking of teachers toward students with disabilities based on the categorical labels used in the classification of students. Social Cognitive and Ecological Theory provided a structure for a risk-resiliency framework to guide the research. Regular (n=18) and Special Education (n=18) teachers rated the categorical label stimuli on the two constructs of risk and resiliency. A repeated measure ANOVA was used to examine the differences in rating between the two teacher groups and a multidimensional scaling analysis (MDS) provided a topographical perspective of the neighborhood and dimensional aspects of the prototypes for each group on the two constructs. Results showed no differences between the groups based on the ANOVA however a unidimensional and the multidimensional analysis show distinct groupings mainly along physical-cognitive dimensions. The two teacher groups differed in their views of risk and resilience. A model of risk-resiliency is presented.


Ph.D. Dissertation, Capella University, April 2008.