Students with intellectual disabilities have at times been overlooked and denied effective reading instruction. Teachers tasked with instructing such students are often limited in the training, resources, and support necessary to effectively instruct these students in reading. These problems are further compounded by the fact that students with intellectual disabilities have historically been misperceived, often by the very educators tasked with instructing them, as either being unable to learn to read or that the prospect of teaching them to read is simply too daunting and complicated to be of sufficient worth (Aldridge, 2014; Kluth & Chandler-Olcott, 2008). Such misperception may lead to insufficient and/or misguided instruction of these students limiting their potential learning and growth (Kliewer, Biklen, & Kasa-Hendrickson, 2006). This qualitative case study explored the perceptions and lived experiences of eight special education teachers from five different school districts, who both worked with students with intellectual disabilities and mentored preservice teachers who worked with students with intellectual disabilities in the area of reading. This study focused on the perceptions of these special education teacher/ mentors before, during and after receiving training in the Targeted Reading Intervention (TRI) program, based on five areas of reading: Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Vocabulary, Fluency, and Vocabulary. Data suggested a universal lack of support and training in reading for these special education teacher/mentors. Changes of perceptions and teaching practices of the special education teacher/mentors relative to explicit reading instruction for students with intellectual abilities are explored. Implications for practice are included.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Counseling Psychology and Special Education



Date Submitted


Document Type





special education, teacher education, literacy, intellectual disabilities, case study



Included in

Education Commons