Graduation Date

5-2019

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree

Master of Science

Program

Education

Program Director

Elizabeth Truesdell, PhD

First Reader

Jennifer Lucko, PhD

Second Reader

Amy Gilbert, MLIS

Abstract

Adolescence is a vulnerable period to a child’s emotional and social environment due to the puberty-related changes in hormones, which has an effect on their judgement, impulse control, and emotional regulation. Middle school students face several daily stressors at school, at home, and in their communities. Although adolescents face stressors in and out of school, a mindfulness-based intervention (MBI) can be beneficial. This research focuses on the effects of a mindfulness-based intervention on middle school special education students in regards to their attention and behavior in general education classes as well as their self-perception. While prior studies address the benefits of an MBI on students at the elementary and high school levels, there is little research showing how mindfulness affects middle school students, specifically students with special needs. Taking a mixed methods approach, this study involved implementing a mindfulness-based intervention in a life skills math class of ten sixth, seventh, and eighth grade special education students. Data was collected through surveys, focus groups, interviews, and observations. The findings from the research show that the MBI was significantly effective for improving the attention and behavior of students who qualify for special education services under the Other Health Impairment (OHI) category. In addition, students’ self-perceptions in regards to school motivation and attention improved after participating in the mindfulness-based intervention.

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