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Abstract

By determining preservice teachers’ prior knowledge, concerns, and preconceptions regarding the inclusion of students with special needs prior to beginning their first college course in Teaching Elementary Students with Special Needs, professors can better determine what to include in the university curriculum. The “Inclusion Conclusion” was based on surveys that were completed by 53 future elementary teachers. A general inductive approach to categorizing and reporting the qualitative data was utilized. Prior knowledge of people with special needs, based on experience and coursework, was examined. The students highlighted concerns about inclusion that included fear and intimidation, lack of experience, meeting the students’ needs, level of patience, peer reaction, and empathy. In this qualitative article, the preservice teachers also outlined their coursework needs as: observations/field experiences, understanding laws and IEPs, practical strategies, and preservice curriculum.