Secondary Teachers’ Understanding of Universal Design for Learning when Educating Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


Psychology and Special Education

Date of Award

Fall 2022


Students with emotional and behavioral disabilities (EBD) typically struggle with instruction in regular classrooms/schools. The problem peaks in secondary schools where students with EBD have some of the highest dropout rates when compared to their peers in other disability categories (Bradley et al., 2008). Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework that holds some prospects of success for students with EBD. It attempts to level the playing field, allowing students with EBD to receive instruction in regular classroom settings alongside peers. The present study employs the mixed research method to investigate secondary teachers’ understanding of UDL when educating students with EBD. Participants are secondary teachers recruited from all over the USA. Results show that participants are using some elements of UDL and believe UDL to be effective but worry about barriers to implementation. Highlighted barriers include lack of time, administrative support, and resources. Recommendations for policymakers and administrators on how to support teachers with the implementation UDL are included.


Kelly M. Carrero

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Psychology