Date of Award

June 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


George Theoharis


Assistive Technology, iPads, low incidence disabilities, students with disabilities

Subject Categories



I focused this dissertation on what is happening within schools regarding iPad usage and students with disabilities. Technology usage is thought to help provide students with another modality for learning the curriculum. iPads, specifically, are leading the technological revolution in classroom environments. One benefit of iPads in instruction is that they assist all students, especially those with disabilities by helping them complete a task with increased ease. The focus of this research was to study the usage of iPads in K-6th educational settings with students with low incidence disabilities. Technology usage among students with disabilities continues to rise, yet teachers are still unsure as to whether or not their technology integration is meaningful. I found that teachers had strong intentions to integrate iPads with students with disabilities, but oftentimes their teaching practices did not promote the usage of the devices.

This study utilized a qualitative approach including semi-structured interviews, observations, and document analysis.

I used these approaches to understand the following questions:

In what ways are iPads used in inclusive classrooms to support the needs of students with low incidence disabilities?

What are the iPad integration practices of teachers with students with low incidence disabilities?

I conducted semi-structured interviews with teacher teams to see how teachers and other school personnel integrated iPads into their inclusive general education classrooms. I interviewed student users and one parent to gather their perspectives and perceptions on the usage of the iPads. I used observations as a method to gather data on the usage of iPads to meet the needs of the user and to understand how the teachers integrated iPads into the curriculum. I completed document analyses of student IEPs (Individualized Education Programs) to understand the goals and needs of the student in comparison to their instruction.


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