Electronic Theses and Dissertations


Monica Bester



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education



Committee Chair

William Hunter

Committee Member

Alison Happel-Parkins

Committee Member

Lacretia Dye

Committee Member

Suman Rath


In recent years, there has been a growing body of research on childhood trauma and its potential effects on the development of a child into adulthood. The findings of this research indicate that those who have undergone traumatic experiences might demonstrate effects in their behavior, interactions with others, management of stressful situations, and even in their career decisions as they mature in age. As research on the impact of trauma on career choices continues to expand, this study looks at trauma’s impact on the experiences and decisions of Special Education Teachers. This qualitative case study uses Contemporary Trauma Theory as a conceptual framework to explore how childhood trauma has impacted the career choice and teaching experiences of five Special Education teachers who teach students who have also experienced trauma. The findings illustrate how Special Education teachers, administration, and teacher preparation programs can leverage teachers' personal experiences of trauma to incorporate co-regulation techniques, enhancing teacher-student relationships within a trauma-informed environment. The experiences of Special Education teachers demonstrate how adverse life situations can be transformed into positive influences on the next generation of change agents. Keywords: Special Education, Childhood Trauma, Career Choices, Trauma Co-Regulation


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest.


Open Access