Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Psychology and Special Education

First Advisor

Dr. David Houchins

Second Advisor

Dr. Kris Varjas

Third Advisor

Dr. DaShaunda Patterson

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Nicole Patton-Terry

Fifth Advisor

Dr. Robert Hendrick


Examining the use of trauma-informed care (TIC) in schools is necessary to support the academic, behavior, and social-emotional development of students with and without disabilities who encounter trauma. In Chapter One, a systematic literature review was conducted to examine TIC interventions implemented in schools. Nineteen publications were included. Review results identified P-12 school-based TIC intervention characteristics, school-based facilitators, implementation strategies, and professional development (PD) components. Limitations and future directions are discussed. In Chapter Two, an online survey was administered to special educators and paraprofessionals to assess their knowledge, skills, dispositions and PD needs regarding TIC implementation for students with disabilities (SWD) in therapeutic alternative schools. Data analysis consisted of an exploratory factor analysis (EFA), an independent sample t-test, and a one-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). A total of 164 surveys were completed by special education classroom personnel. The EFA results revealed a 3-factor solution for examining TIC in therapeutic alternative schools. The independent t-test results revealed no statistically significant difference on TIC knowledge and skills, TIC personal responsibility dispositions, or TIC PD need. The overall ANOVA findings revealed that TIC PD need was significantly different across years of experience in therapeutic alternative schools, but not across school location or grade level. These findings set the stage for TIC practice implementation and creating appropriate and relevant TIC PD for special educators and paraprofessionals in therapeutic alternative schools.