Barriers in Meeting the Needs of Special Education Students: A Qualitative Case Study

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Educational Leadership

Publication Date


Granting Institution

University of Phoenix

Committee Members

Heath Boice-Pardee, EdD; Michael Marrapodi, EdD; Tricia Howell, EdD


Special education students’ needs are not consistently being met in special education programs. This qualitative single case study explored special education programs based on a county education program serving multiple school districts in Northern California. The qualitative approach was selected to explore and identify potential themes in special education programs affecting special education students’ needs not being met consistently. There were 14 themes found in this study, which appeared to be potential barriers impacting students’ needs from being met consistently. The study utilized both a theoretical and conceptual framework for the study. There were 8 recommendations provided to help this educational agency begin to address these barriers within their special education programs. A leadership model was developed to help the educational agency identify a defined leadership style to use in their special education programs. Additionally, educational leaders in the United States could use these findings to begin evaluating special education programs.

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