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ERIC Number: ED551566
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 157
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2678-3261-0
Autism Spectrum Disorders: Teachers' Experiences in the Elementary Classroom
Hall, Christa L.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Cambridge College
Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) affect over one-half million individuals under the age of 21. As the number of school-aged persons with these disorders continues to climb, so have concerns about identifying best practices for including ASD students in an inclusion class, since schools are often ill-equipped to educate ASD students effectively. The primary purpose of this study was to become familiar with the experiences of general education teachers who have worked with ASD students; additionally, the study sought to describe the teaching and learning processes of students in an inclusion setting, and to examine socializing processes between regular education students and ASD students to better identify best practices. A qualitative research design was used for data collection which included teacher interviews and observations. First-hand accounts of eight elementary teachers charged with integrating students with ASD into regular classroom settings were obtained through interviews. Observational accounts of their classroom work were collected over a four-week period during the summer of 2010. Observations of the socializing processes between ASD and regular education children at work and play, collected over a period of one week, provided data on peer relationships. The data suggested that teachers were more receptive to including ASD students into regular classrooms if they were provided with the necessary training, resources, and support. Further, although the regular education students appeared willing to socialize with ASD students, opportunities were too few. ASD students seemed reluctant to form and maintain positive social relationships and teachers did not actively engage in encouraging the students to form peer relationships. These findings suggest the following: 1) teachers were not equipped with the necessary tools needed to educate ASD students within the regular education setting; 2) teachers required adequate training on meeting the instructional, social, and emotional needs of ASD students; 3) classrooms were also in need of paraprofessional assistance, whether full or part-time, for the teachers who are educating ASD students; and, 4) strategies for improving the socializing process between ASD students and regular education students were also needed. Overall, the findings suggest that if ASD students are to be educated within regular classroom settings, schools and communities must actively focus on making the changes needed to bring about positive learning and social outcomes for all students. [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: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A