Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Wendy LaRue


Students, at a partial hospital setting in Western Tennessee with high functioning autism spectrum disorders (HFASD) were being removed from general education classrooms. Researchers have indicated that restrictive settings preclude interaction with neurotypical peers and access to general education experiences. The purpose of this case study was to examine educational inclusion for children with HFASD from the perspective of 2 teachers, 2 therapists, and 2 parents of students at the distirct site. This study was grounded in the principles of social learning theory and theory of mind, executive function, and central coherence processes. The guiding research questions focused on how parents, teachers, and therapists perceived behavior and social skills of the child with HFASD could be supported and developed in inclusive environments and what support was needed to foster inclusion of students with HFASD. Individual interview data were transcribed, open coded, and thematically analyzed. Findings included 3 primary themes: providing support in inclusive groups, helping included students develop relationships with those who are different from themselves, and considering the individual nature of the children. The participants also noted that orientations were needed for peer group, parents, and teachers. Implications for positive social change include providing recommendations to the local district on how to best support inclusion