Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Cameron McCarthy

Second Advisor

William E. Doll, Jr


Literature emerging in the field of special education advocates a significant departure from the traditional approach that has guided special education practices, procedures, and, ultimately the decisions made about children. To date, this literature and the debates it generates are focused primarily on special education for children who have mild or moderate disabilities. The dearth of information regarding the implications of an alternative approach for children who have severe disabilities is wanting. This study examines the life history of Joy Hamilton, a child who has severe disabilities, to reveal how curriculum has affected her life. Joy's birth, her infant intervention and preschool programs, early elementary education experiences, and her parents' hopes and concerns for her future are described in detail. As the story of her educational experiences unfold, it reveals how principles of an alternative transformative curriculum are manifested in the education of a child who has severe disabilities.