Morgan Milham, M.S.


Education: Bachelor of Arts in elementary and special education (December 2001)

Master of Science in special education from Kansas State University

McNair Project: A Survey of Special Educators Regarding the Costs and Benefits of Behavioral Interventions for Students with Disabilities (2001)

Mentor: Marilyn Kaff, Ph.D.

As a result of the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), special education teachers have been largely responsible for educating students with disabilities. The goal is to prepare each student to be a productive, responsible, and contributing member of society. To allow full participation in the community, each student must be educated in academic content, adaptive behavior skills, and/or social skills. There has been adequate research into appropriate teaching strategies and techniques for exceptional learners. However, the most pressing problem for most teachers centers on the issue of behavior management for students with disabilities. General educators look to their special education colleagues to help them develop effective behavioral intervention plans that are easy to implement, will help students develop and maintain appropriate classroom behavior, and are not too labor intensive. The purpose of the current study was to survey a diverse group of special education teachers to determine what kinds of communication, and behavioral interventions they were likely to use, which ones were effective, how labor intensive teachers thought the interventions were and which ones they thought general education teachers were likely to use. A further examination of the data will also shed light on which interventions work for certain students (elementary vs. middle school vs. high school). With this information, special education teachers can better discern what interventions might work well for their own students, as well as provide them with ideas for helping their general education peers develop effective behavior management plans.