All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Loucrecia Collins

Advisory Committee Members

Margaret Rice

Boyd Rogan

Foster Watkins

Martha Barber

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Education


To date, a vast amount of research has been conducted on disruptive behavior dis-orders such as conduct disorder (CD), oppositional defiance disorder (ODD), and atten-tion deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD. However, a paucity of research exists in spe-cific areas such as how teachers’ handle students diagnosed with these disorders. The cur-rent situation in pre-kindergarten may undermine the ability of these students to succeed in the school system. This is seen in the fact that a large number of these students are removed from pre-kindergarten programs across the United States (Webster-Stratton, Reid, & Hammond, 2004). Understanding pre-kindergarten teachers’ lived experiences in handling these students provided an understanding to help both children with the problem those who serve them and those who prepare teachers, administrators, and supporting professionals to work with them. This phenomenological study explored how practicing teachers in pre-kindergarten handled students diagnosed with CD, ODD, and ADHD in the southeastern United States. The central research question for this study asked how pre-kindergarten teachers’ handling children identified with CD, ODD, and ADHD in the southeastern United States. The purposeful sample included 20 female teachers currently teaching in public schools with pre-k classes and with 3 to 25 years of experience. The data were col- ii lected through initial face-to-face interviews and subsequent follow-up interviews with each participant. The data analysis followed the procedures outlined by Moustakas (1994). After transcribing interviews verbatim, invariant horizons or statements significant to the cen-tral phenomenon and reinforced by more than one participant were pulled from the tran-scripts. The statements were organized into given themes based on the reported lived ex-periences: (a) teacher preparation, (b) inclusion of students, (c) isolation-feeling alone, (d) sources of support, (e) professional learning communities, and (f) valued strategies. These findings should empower administrators and fellow pre-k teachers to work effec-tively with students of behavioral disorders so that they can better teach and develop strategies to assist students in and out of the classroom.

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