Special education teachers’ perceptions of substance abuse issues and related classroom pedagogy : a national survey
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This study employed a survey design. 5,000 special education teachers were sampled across the nation to determine their perceptions of knowledge of substance abuse, and instructional and behavioral management skills to address students with disabilities who are abusing substances. The following research questions were addressed: (a) What are special education teachers’ perceptions of substance abuse intake among their students; (b) What are special education teachers’ perceptions of their knowledge of different substance abuse areas; (c) What are special education teachers’ perceptions of their classroom knowledge in addressing instructional and behavioral management issues of special education students abusing substances; (d) Are there differences in the teachers’ perceptions of their substance abuse knowledge and related classroom pedagogy skills across: (i) school levels kindergarten/elementary, middle, high school), (ii) school locations (rural, urban, suburban), and (iii) teacher disability assignment (as determined by their students’ primary disability). Descriptive statistics, one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) repeated measures, and multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was used to analyze the data. The results revealed that although special educators perceive their students abuse substances, they think it is only by a small percentage of students. Significant differences were noted in the teachers’ perception of knowledge in the six substance abuse areas assessed. Significant differences of the teachers’ perceptions of knowledge were also noted across school locations and teacher disability assignments. Future studies should focus on conducting more extensive research in this limited area of study.