Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Melda Yildiz


Owing to the influx of students with autism to the general education classroom, the role of the educator has drastically changed. Limited training and negative perceptions among teachers of students with autism are concerning. A qualitative case study, based on Bandura's theory of self-efficacy as a conceptual framework, was used to gather information based on the preservice training and personal classroom experiences from 7 general education teachers who were purposefully selected based on their licensure in the state of Ohio and experience in teaching students with autism. Research questions for this study examined the types of training teachers received, perceptions and attitudes regarding the inclusion of students with autism, and classroom strategies used by teachers. Semistructured interviews with open-ended questions were used to guide the interview process. Data were analyzed through reflection, coding, and identifying prevalent themes. Findings indicated that none of the participants initially felt adequately prepared to teach students with autism but attempted to convey positive attitudes and individualize teaching strategies for each child. Based on these findings, an online course regarding students with autism was developed for preservice teachers. Successful project implementation may increase the knowledge base among teacher candidates in research-based teaching strategies that could potentially improve general teacher perceptions and encourage successful inclusion of students with autism