Date Approved

8-16-2017

Embargo Period

8-22-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

MA Special Education

Department

Interdisciplinary and Inclusive Education

College

College of Education

First Advisor

Kuder, Sydney J.

Second Advisor

Accardo, Amy

Subject(s)

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy; Behavior disorders in children

Disciplines

Special Education and Teaching

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of mindfulness exercises such as counting and breathing on the reactive verbal behaviors of students who are identified as having significant behavioral and emotional difficulties. The six participants were fifth and seventh grade students who were instructed in the self-contained classroom for emotional support a minimum of three class periods daily. Mindfulness exercises were practiced twice daily for a period of three to five minutes for twenty days. Data was collected on each participant prior to, during and after the intervention implementation. The independent variable was the mindfulness exercises employed. The dependent variable was each participant's behavior as recoded on the student behavior record sheets. Overall, the study results show that mindfulness exercises such as breathing and counting do have a positive impact on the reactive behaviors, including verbal aggression, of students with emotional and behavioral difficulties. Five of the six participants demonstrated a reduction in negative verbal behaviors as evidenced by an increased number of points earned for positive tone and language. One participant showed no change in behavior. Results show that mindfulness exercises are an effective tool for the development of appropriate social emotional skills which support student success.

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