Date of Conferral

2017

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Jo Beth DeSoto

Abstract

The question of which strategies for teaching daily living skills (DLS) are most effective for students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) requires increased attention. Special education elementary teachers may not have the instructional strategies necessary to teach DLS to students with ASD. DLS instruction for students with ASD is important because these skills are essential to functioning in school as well as society. The aim of this study was to identify elementary special education teachers' perceptions about their ability to teach DLS to students with ASD. The study's conceptual framework was rooted in a synthesis of ideas from current refereed literature, along with Bandura's social cognitive theory. Purposeful sampling identified 10 participants for individual interviews. Findings indicated 2 themes that emerged from Bandura's (1993) self-efficacy theory: lack of competency to teach DLS and teachers' beliefs about DLS instruction. Thematic and open coding indicated the following themes: lack of time, lack of administrative support in formally addressing DLS deficits, and strategies influencing DLS acquisition. The results indicated that special education elementary teachers did not feel efficacious about their ability to teach DLS to students with ASD and did not feel that they had time and support to provide DLS instruction to students with ASD. This study suggests a need for ongoing, sustainable professional development opportunities for special education teachers related to teaching DLS to students with ASD. Social change implications include improved teacher practice focused on increasing DLS performance for students with ASD so that they will be able to independently perform DLS in various environments, along with increased awareness and comprehension of the value of teacher voice in DLS instructional practices for students with ASD.

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