Exploring the Experiences of Special Educators Following the Joplin Tornado

Allyson Palmer, M.Ed. (Ph.D. Candidate)
University of Kansas

Abstract

On May 22, 2011, an EF5 tornado ripped through Joplin, MO, leaving many residents without homes and destroying or damaging several school buildings.  The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore how special education teachers responded to the needs of their students with disabilities following the Joplin tornado.  Purposeful sampling was used to select three participants who were special education teachers working in schools that were damaged or destroyed by the tornado.  The researcher used semi-structured interviews to collect data that was then coded to identify categorical themes.  The results showed the types of challenges experienced by special educators and their students, following the tornado, and the supports that were provided to help mitigate those needs.


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