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The Relationship between the Location Special Education Services are Received and Students with Disabilities’ Intrinsic Motivation


The decision on where to educate students with disabilities (SWD) has been and continues to be a debated topic. While the approach to special education has changed with the Disabilities Studies which pushes for inclusive practices, the continuum of special education placement continues to be used in some schools. SWD educational placement is measured by time spent in the classroom with their general education peers. SWD that spend less than 100% of their time in general education settings are receiving special education services in more restrictive settings. This study looked to examine if and how SWD autonomy, competence and relatedness, all components of intrinsic motivation based on the Self-Determination theory, is impacted by the percentage of time spent in general education classrooms. The study examined high school students and used a mixed method approach that aimed to understand how the location students receive their special education services impacts their autonomy, competence and relatedness, and what are the supportive and constraining factors involved. The findings highlight the importance of inclusive teaching strategies and relationships have for a SWD educational experience and feelings of competence and relatedness.

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