Teachers’ Perceptions on Teaching Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Anderson, Barbara A.
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As a result of federal legislation, today’s teachers face the challenge of educating a diverse population of learners, which includes students with autism spectrum disorders. Research has focused on teacher preparedness to teach children with autism in an inclusive classroom setting as well as teacher perceptions and attitudes about educating these children. The purpose of this research was to better understand the perceived abilities and attitudes of teachers in southeastern Wisconsin. This study used a snowball sampling method to survey forty teachers regarding their levels of knowledge and confidence toward teaching students with autism spectrum disorders. The five-point Likert survey responses were analyzed statistically through linear regression and a series of two-sample t tests assuming equal variance. Results indicate that female teachers and primary level teachers have the highest levels of knowledge and confidence in teaching this unique population of students. Additionally, findings show there is no correlation between number of years of classroom teaching and a teacher’s level of knowledge and confidence in teaching a child with autism. This is supportive of current research, which states that teacher-student relationships as well as a very specialized skill set are critical for the successful education of students with autism spectrum disorders. Further research that is more comprehensive and widely applicable should be considered.
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