Date of Award

2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

First Advisor

Stephen Laws

Abstract

With an increase in the number of children being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder comes an increase in students with autism being integrated into regular education classrooms. While general education teachers strongly support inclusion, they do not feel prepared to implement inclusion practices in their classrooms. This dissertation was designed to gauge perceptions of self-efficacy among K-5 general education teachers in regards to teaching students with autism in inclusion settings. The researcher conducted digital surveys and personal interviews among K-5 regular education teachers who had inclusion experience with students with autism. Teacher perceptions were measured in the areas of preparedness, support, and overall attitude towards students in inclusion. An analysis of the data revealed that teachers held positive views of inclusion overall, with the most positive area being the benefits of inclusion and the lowest area being lack of preparedness. While the literature review blamed lack of training for low perceptions of self-efficacy, participants never cited training as a source of preparedness. The three biggest factors which influenced teacher perceptions overall were (1) personal experiences with students with autism or other disabilities, (2) open communication with parents before and during inclusion, and (3) an established environment where all students are accepted and respected.

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