Scientia 2008: Caryn Culp

Caryn Culp is receiving a Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Education. Following graduation, Caryn intends to attain a position as a music educator and attend graduate school in the near future. During her time at Marywood University, Caryn held the presidential position of Marywood’s chapter of the Music Educators’ National Conference for two years, volunteered at a private school as a music teacher, and was inducted into Pi Kappa Lamda, the National Music Honor Society. Caryn chose to pursue a citation in honors in order to take advantage of the wonderful opportunity to enrich her studies and receive one-on-one attention from highly regarded professors. Caryn would like to thank her advisor and director, Sister Joan McCusker I.H.M., PhD. and her reader, Dr. Patricia Arter. Without their knowledge and advice this thesis would not have been possible. She also wishes to thank Christina Marie Elvidge for her guidance over the past four years and her family for their love and support.

Music for Special Education Students in Northeast Pennsylvania Schools

Director: Sr. Joan McCusker, PhD
Reader: Dr. Patricia Arter


There are many children with disabilities in the schools of Northeast Pennsylvania who benefit from music instruction in their schools. Music and other special subject areas are some of the first subjects into which special education students are mainstreamed. Music teachers, like many general education teachers, have to face the issue of inclusion, with varying degrees of success. Also varied are the amounts of training these teachers have in teaching special education students to ensure they are providing an education that will maximize benefits to the students.

One of the first things one needs to do when discussing students with disabilities is to define the most encountered disabilities found in classrooms. There are many types and levels of student disability in our schools, and the type and degree of disability determine where a students will be placed and in which related arts areas - for example, music, art, and physical education - they can be placed. The type of disability will also determine the types of activities these special learners can successfully perform in music class. Part of this thesis will outline different types of disabilities that are commonly found in schools; students will most likely be participating in school music programs.

To understand this topic, it is important to establish a broader context regarding the disabled students in our schools. This work will also include a discussion of inclusion and educational rights for the disabled in the United States. There is a long history of laws that affect our special education students. This paper will also examine the most prominent law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), as well as the legislation that led to its creation, and the specific rules and processes implemented by the current laws on the education of our handicapped students.

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