Document Type

Capstone Project (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


Liberal Studies

First Advisor

Miguel Lopez


The young adult novel, Girls Like Us, by Gail Giles, tells a story of two young ladies—Quincy and Biddy—seeking to live a rich life post-high school. Though fiction, Girls Like Us is an insightful curriculum for educators and pre-service teachers about the need for quality education for children with special needs. This capstone traces the history of the development and implementation of the Individualized Education Plan (IEP); which at its conception was herald as a strong tool to provide children with a quality educational program. Unfortunately, the IEP has often become a simple tool which does not, in fact, articulate the real educational needs that youth with special needs require to be successful in and out of a school setting. This capstone concludes with insights for educators, in mainstream or self-contained classrooms, as to what a valuable education for students with special needs includes.