Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Fred J. Galloway, EdD; Paula A. Cordeiro, EdD; Caren Sax, EdD


community youth organizations, disabilities, inclusive, Leadership studies, quantitative, organizational change, perception, San Diego County (California), self-reflective tool, stakeholders


Over the last thirty years, a cultural transformation has occurred in public schools as students with disabilities have slowly moved from segregated sites and special day classes to more inclusive classroom environments. Although this change has largely been driven by legislative mandate, including the requirement that students be supported in the least restrictive environment possible, the benefits of inclusion have been exceedingly well documented in the literature. Unfortunately, the inclusiveness seen within schools has not extended to the provision of out-of-school programs, and as a result, sixteen years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, children with disabilities are still grossly under-represented in out-of-school time programs throughout the nation. As provider organizations slowly begin to adopt more inclusive practices in their out-of-school programs, it is imperative for them to understand, from the perspective of their stakeholders, the extent to which they are making progress in creating a more inclusive environment for children with disabilities. As such, this study examined and compared the perceptions of four stakeholder groups associated with five youth development organizations in San Diego County, defined as the leadership, staff, and parents of children with, and without disabilities, to see how far along the developmental continuum each of the groups felt their particular organization was in terms of including children with disabilities. A total of 216 stakeholders responded to the Organizational Developmental Model of Inclusion for Individuals with Disabilities, a self-reflective survey tool that used a five-point Likert scale together with 50 statements that represented conditions and practices within their organization. Results suggest that there were significant differences in the perceptions of these four stakeholder groups, with leadership typically feeling that their organization was further along the continuum than the other groups. Similarly, when leadership and staff were combined and parents were combined, all five organizations perceived that they were further along the continuum than did their consumers. As such, the results of this study support the use of a self-reflective tool before and during the change process, so that organizations can assure that their behavior represents genuine and not merely symbolic inclusion.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access