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ERIC Number: ED519520
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 252
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1242-5527-9
In-District Programs for Students with Autism: How Do New Jersey Special Education Directors Describe and Understand the Factors that They Think Influence Their Decision to Adopt and Use Applied Behavior Analysis?
Cook, Irene
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Teachers College, Columbia University
This dissertation examined the perspectives of New Jersey public school special education administrators on factors that influenced their decision to use or not use applied behavior analysis (ABA), an educational methodology, for their in-district programs serving children with autism. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has called autism an urgent public health concern, with 1 in every 91 children diagnosed with autism. Currently, there is no cure for autism and education is the primary form of treatment. New Jersey school districts are responding to the burgeoning population of students with autism. One common response is adopting new in-district autism programs, and many of these programs rely heavily on one specific educational approach, ABA, in part because ABA enjoys considerable support in the research literature and among practitioners across the nation. I administered an electronic survey via the Internet to 415 special education administrators of New Jersey public schools, and received a 23% response rate. Using descriptive statistics for the analysis the results of this study showed a number of findings, including the following. First, for those in this study, student enrollment size was the most influential factor on decisions to serve students with autism through either in-district or out-of-district programs. Fewer small districts had in-district programs, while all large districts offered in-district programs. Next, the support of families of children with autism was the most influential factor on special education directors' decisions to adopt and use ABA for their in-district autism programs. In addition, due process proceedings were not very influential on special education directors' decision to adopt and use ABA. An analysis of findings by District Factor Groups, New Jersey's approximate measure of socioeconomic (SES) status, showed a few differences in perspective across low to high SES districts. For example, respondents from high-SES districts believed state funding was inadequate when adopting ABA, and respondents from the lowest SES districts did not believe there were enough ABA-trained paraprofessionals when deciding to continue to use ABA in their autism programs. Implications of the findings, as well as recommendations based on the results of this study, were provided. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Jersey