Vol 11, No 1 (Jan 2022)

Table of Contents


January 2022 Editors’ Note

Anna Osipova and Jemma Kim, Co-Editors

Dear Readers,

Happy New Year! We are excited to offer for your attention the first 2022 issue of the Journal of Special Education Apprenticeship (JOSEA). This issue is of a particular significance for our editorial team. In August 2021, Dr. Jemma Kim and I took on the roles of JOSEA’s Co-Editors, working closely with Dr. Sang Seok Nam. In the first few months we renewed the Editorial Board and welcomed new board members. We would like to thank our Editorial Review Board for their continued availability to serve as peer reviewers. We also worked with the authors who submitted their manuscripts to the previous editorial team and reviewed newly submitted articles. Thank you for your patience with the Journal during the transition period between the editorial teams. We are grateful to the community of early career faculty, graduate and doctoral students and their advisors, for continuing their research and working on publications despite the difficult times that we live in.

We would like to report that according to the latest Digital Commons Readership Snapshot for October 2021, JOSEA had 927 full-text downloads. While the number of downloads only tells part of the journal’s significance to the field of special education, it is an important number that illustrates that research and practice articles published in JOSEA are reaching a wide audience of scholars and practitioners. We aim to continue providing support and encouragement to the authors while upholding a high level of rigor in reviewing the submissions and promoting scholarship in our field.

This issue includes five articles that illustrate continued and current hot topics in the field. The articles represent a wide focus on all of the stakeholders in special education and their diverse needs: beginning special education teachers, paraprofessionals, parents, and students with disabilities. Larios et al.’s qualitative study examines the district level (mentorship) and the university supports available to alternative certification special education teachers (interns). Their findings emphasize the importance of time factor in finding the school site mentors and establishing supports for beginning teachers, especially those who are getting their credentials while teaching in the field. The study also differentiates between the needs of the first-year and second-year teachers. The article by VanLone and colleagues also focuses on the needs of the pre-service teachers. This single subject design study explores the effects of a video self-analysis package on pre-services teachers’ use of behavior specific praise. The study ties two very promising techniques - video analysis (especially important for beginning teachers) and use of behavior specific praise - into a meaningful and socially valid intervention. Research that focuses on teaching would not be complete without the studies that focus on paraprofessionals. Lichte and Scheef’s work examines the training needs of paraprofessionals who work with students with disabilities. The results of the study indicate the need for training related to specific job requirements and outline the broad list of areas of training reported as critical for paraprofessionals.

Two articles in this issue focus on students with disabilities and needs of their families. The quasi-experimental study by Buxbaum and colleagues investigated comprehension of memes by three groups of adolescents: teens who were deaf or hard of hearing, teens with language disorders, and teens who were typically developing. The findings suggest the need for explicit direct instruction of humor that that includes social media when working with adolescents with disabilities. The study by Gordon et al. turns our attention to the needs of families of students with disabilities in the COVID-19 times. The authors examined online parental guidance and special education documents published by the 50 states and the District of Columbia’s department of education websites. The findings reveal the overwhelming difficulty of such documents with readability levels exceeding the recommended reading levels established by research.

As you can see, the issue touches upon many urgent topics. We hope that you will find it useful and informative. We would like to thank the authors for their high-quality articles and the reviewers for their timely and thorough reviews. We would also like to thank the educators who take the evidence presented in the articles and field-test it translating it into practice that improves the lives and education of diverse learners with disabilities and their families.

Looking forward to new exciting submissions,

Anna Osipova
Jemma Kim


“What Doesn’t Kill You, Makes You Stronger!” Alternative Certification Programs: Interns Perspectives About Mentorship

Rosalinda J. Larios1, Andrea Zetlin2, & Leila Ricci2
1Department of Special Education, California State University, Fullerton
2Division of Special Education and Counseling, California State University, Los Angeles

Abstract: Given the national shortage of special educators, many are entering the profession through alternative certification, assuming full responsibility for classrooms or caseloads before they are fully licensed as special education teachers. This qualitative study explores the support provided to beginning alternative certification teachers in a special education program. Through several sources of data, we describe the perspectives of first-year versus second-year interns about the frequency, helpfulness, and nature of support they received from their assigned mentors, other sources of support at their school sites, and their university intern program. The findings illustrate the need for universities and schools to immediately identify a school site mentor for first-year interns and the need to provide more intensive support for an initial period when the intern first assumes responsibility at a school.

Keywords: alternative certification, teacher education, mentorship, university and district partnerships

The Effects of a Video Self-Analysis Package on Pre-Service Teachers’ Use of Behavior-Specific Praise

Janet VanLone, Ph.D.
Bucknell University
Jennifer Freeman, Ph.D., Brandi Simonsen, Ph.D., Susannah Everett, Ph.D., George Sugai, Ph.D.
University of Connecticut
Sara Whitcomb, Ph.D.
University of Massachusetts

Abstract: This study used a single-subject, multiple baseline across participants research design to explore the effects of a multi-component intervention on pre-service teachers’ use of behavior-specific praise (BSP). The intervention consisted of explicit instruction and modeling of the skill, followed by on-going video self-analysis, self-monitoring, and performance feedback. Participants (n=4) were undergraduate senior teacher education students who were completing their student teaching semester. Results indicate improvements in BSP rates across all four student teachers, and participants found the intervention to be socially valid. Implications for future research and practice are discussed.

Keywords: classroom management, pre-service, single-subject research, teacher preparation, video analysis

Exploration of Training Needs of Paraprofessionals to Support Students with Disabilities

Amy Lichte, M.Ed.
Palouse Prairie Charter School, Moscow, ID
Andrew R. Scheef, Ph.D.
University of Idaho

Abstract: Paraprofessionals are often hired to conduct one-on-one or small group support to students with disabilities within the K-12 school system. Existing literature illustrates a limited expectation that paraprofessionals in school districts receive training surrounding their job requirements. With the rise of students being identified for special education services and the lack of training often received by paraprofessionals, questions arise related to the training backgrounds and needs necessary for professionals to support students with disabilities in the classroom. This study sought to better understand the extent to which paraprofessionals believe they are trained to performed requisite job duties. In addition, participants identified the specific types of training they have received and would like to receive to improve their ability to support students with disabilities. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected through a cross-sectional survey. Findings show that most participants reporting general understanding of working with students with disabilities, but a split response on whether these participants had this knowledge prior to employment. Also, the results of the training section of the survey demonstrated that paraprofessionals would be interested in further training related to job requirements. Participants expressed a desire for training in a variety of areas, including culturally responsive pedagogy, evidence-based practices, and inclusive education.

Keywords: paraprofessionals, training, special education

What Do You Meme? Meme Humor Comprehension in Adolescents with Language Disorder or Hearing Loss

Lindsey Buxbaum, MS, CCC-SLP
Wilmac Special Education Unit, Williston, ND
Holly F. Pedersen, Ed.D.
Department of Special Education, Minot State University
Cheryl Gilson, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Princeton Public Schools, Princeton, MN
Lesley Magnus, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Department of Communication Disorders, Minot State University

Abstract: Easy access to the internet allows adolescents to share humor, such as memes, via social media. This quasi-experimental study investigated whether there was a difference in the number of memes comprehended on an assessment test among adolescents who were typically developing, adolescents who were deaf or hard of hearing, and adolescents with language disorders. It also sought to determine if the meme’s picture, whether related to the text or unrelated, contributed to adolescents’ comprehension. Participants were given a short reading screening and a multiple-choice test of meme comprehension. Adolescents who were typically developing out-performed adolescents who were deaf or hard of hearing or who had language disorders. Supporting pictures did not appear to aid in meme comprehension. Findings from this study suggest the need for professionals to include direct instruction of humor when working with adolescents who are deaf or hard of hearing or who have language disorders.

Keywords: deaf, humor, meme, learning disabilities, comprehension

Readability of COVID-19 Parental Guidance Documents

Amber M. Gordon, B.S.
Kurustun S. Musick, B.S.
Alison R. King, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, LSLS Cert. AVT
Erin Stehle Wallace, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
College of Education and Human Services
Longwood University

Abstract: The purpose of this study is to examine the readability levels of the state departments of education guidance documents regarding COVID-19 protocols for families of students receiving special education services. The authors searched the 50 states and the District of Columbia’s departments of education websites for their COVID-19, special education, parental guidance documents for the 2020-2021 school year. Parental guidance documents were available from 90% (46/51) of the department of education websites with 61% (31/51) of those documents specifically designed for parents of children receiving special education services. The researchers used the Flesch Reading Ease (FRES) to analyze the reading level of the 31 documents that the departments of education websites created for families of individuals receiving special education services. The FRES score was 43.05, indicating that the average reading difficulty was “difficult” with a “college reading level.” The Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level (FKGL) average score for the reviewed documents revealed an average U.S. grade level of 12.34. Thus, documents produced during the COVID-19 pandemic significantly exceeded the appropriate reading level recommended by the current research (Nagro & Stein, 2016). To improve communication and provide caregivers with the necessary information to make informed decisions regarding their children’s educational need during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is essential for parental guidance documents to be written at lower reading levels to accommodate the general population.

Keywords: COVID-19, Parental Rights, Health Literacy, Readability

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