Term of Award

Spring 2006

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

Grigory Dmitriyev

Committee Member 1

William Reynolds

Committee Member 2

Margaret LaMontagne

Committee Member 3

Joyce Bergin

Committee Member 3 Email



Throughout the history of special education and particularly the induction of Public Law 94-142, special educational practices have placed a significantly greater number of boys than girls in classes for children with learning disabilities and emotional/behavioral disorders. As a result, there is often only one girl per class of modified self-contained students -- spending at least three periods per day in a setting set aside for their unique characteristics and needs. The marginalization of this group of females is a cause for concern, especially in times when gender equities are at the forefromt of much of the recent public discussions, scholarly research, and social practices in which females with disabilities are still not paid the attention they deserve and need. Therefore, the main purpose of this study was to try to determine what consequences being the only girl in class have on these girls academically and socially. Females with disabilities require additional attention as opposed to their general education peers because they tend to experience a greater sense of alienation, normlessness, and powerlessness along with a lower self-esteem. Consequently, this group of females often suffers a higher rate of depression, more experiences of rejection and failure, lack of self-confidence, and a diminished sense of pride (Shoho & Katims, 1997). Having a disability and being female manifests itself through unemployment, poverty, premature pregnancy placing these young women at greater risks than their peers without disabilities (Rousso & Wehmeyer, 2001). The results of this study assisted in focusing the attention of educators, politicians, and lay citizens on this population and narrowing the substantial gap in current literature on the academic and social effects of being female in male-dominated special education classes most of the school day. It was conducted in a high school in south Fulton County, Georgia, targeting four female students who were interviewed in depth one-on-one and formally observed, which assisted in revealing emerging themes or commonalities among this set of individuals. Females with disabilities have been a neglected group for too many years and deserve to have their stories heard and their challeneges recognized.

Research Data and Supplementary Material