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ERIC Number: ED558803
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 150
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3032-8733-6
School Participation and Supports for Students with Intellectual Disability or Autism
Walter, Martha J.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The University of Wisconsin - Madison
Both legislative and policy initiatives call upon schools to ensure students with disabilities access the breadth of learning and social opportunities available within the general education curriculum. Yet, relatively little is known about the most widely used approaches for fulfilling this mandate. The purpose of this study was to (a) explore how schools across Wisconsin are supporting the inclusion of students with intellectual disability or autism in classroom and school activities, and (b) identify factors that may be associated with the extent to which students are included. We were also interested in learning how educators define the concept of "natural supports"--a concept receiving increasing emphasis in the support of students with intellectual disability or autism--and the specific areas in which school staff may desire additional information or training. Results from this study indicate that students with intellectual disability or autism are involved in school activities "sometimes" to "always." Students with autism were significantly more involved in both academic activities and extracurricular activities outside of the school day relative to students with intellectual disability. Educators reported variable use of strategies to support the inclusion of students with intellectual disability or autism at their schools. Strategy use ranged from "rarely" (e.g., interaction training for peers, peer networks) to nearly "always" (e.g., accommodations, modifications). Overall, participants rated having some interest in receiving professional development on the 20 different support strategies we queried participants about on our survey. Results indicated that professional development interest for peer-related support strategies was higher for educators of students with autism than educators of students with intellectual disability. Additionally, participants provided numerous examples of natural supports in terms of the people, resources, and skills that comprise natural support strategies. Given the findings of the current study, universities and schools should make professional development available to help educators develop inclusive programs for all students with disabilities, including students with intellectual disability or autism. With increased use of natural support strategies, it is hoped that educators will be able to more meaningfully include students with intellectual disability or autism in their schools. [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: Wisconsin