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date: 16 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Over the past 25 years, a growing emphasis has been placed on wellness, prevention, and strengths-based research and practice in both special education and psychology. Within special education, this positive focus has been organized around the concepts of normalization, inclusion, quality of life, and self-determination. The dominant organizing concepts in positive psychology have focused on happiness, subjective well-being, categorization and optimization of character strengths, and self-determination theory. This emerging positive orientation is in sharp contrast to the traditional disease- or deficit-based models prevalent in both fields. This chapter provides specific examples of how research in positive psychology and wellness-based special education practice has impacted educational services for students with disabilities in the areas of assessment, educational planning, behavioral management and support, and curriculum. Information exchange and collaboration between researchers focused on positive practice in both fields is recommended.

Keywords: positive psychology, special education, self-determination, prevention, wellness, youth development

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