Date of Award

Summer 7-31-2020

Document Type

Project (696 or 796 registration)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Special Education


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Ximena Suarez-Sousa


COVID-19, Positive Verbal Affirmations, Distance Learning, DAPE (Developmental Adapted Physical Education)



The purpose of this study is to determine how positive verbal praise impacts the prevalence and frequency of violent behaviors among chosen students receiving special education services at Federal Setting IV sites. This study was conducted over the course of four months, three phases (baseline phase, implementation phase, and termination phase). The subjects of this study are students under the various special education disability classifications of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Emotional or Behavioral Disorders (EBD), Developmental Cognitive Delays (DCD), Physically Impaired (PI), Other Health Disabilities (OHD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and Severely Multiply Impaired (SMI). Students are chosen at random, and the trained educational staff would have came in the form of licensed teachers and educational support professionals. Positive verbal affirmations would have been used after desirable behaviors, or when the maladaptive behavior that is exhibited by students is less severe than anticipated, all to be implemented during the implementation phase. Data collected is collected in the form of affect level charts that are measured from each student. Overall data would observe the frequency of violent behaviors during the implementation phase. The hypothesis statement for this research is “Utilizing positive verbal praise in a student’s educational routine and setting will decrease the prevalence and frequency of violent behaviors by the student.”

Due to school closures occurring from the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the action research was not able to be properly implemented. Because of this, an Auto-Ethnography and a Content Analysis of journal by Chad Tauer based on his experiences as a Physical/Health Disabilities Teacher and a DAPE Teacher was written in this Action Research instead.



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