Date of Conferral





Human Services


Nicole V. Hamilton


The number of students diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is increasing. The overall problem in this study focused on showing how a lack of teacher training in ASD-specific courses could result in a lack of competencies in meeting the educational needs of children with autism in an inclusive setting. The purpose of this nonexperimental quantitative cross-sectional study was to determine if a difference exists in four teaching competencies among general education elementary teachers teaching children with autism in the general education classroom in the U.S. Virgin Islands based training. The theoretical framework was grounded in Medley’s teaching competence theory that outlines how general education teachers use teaching competencies to help a student with autism learn in an inclusive setting. The independent categorical variable was the two groups of teachers: general education elementary teachers with training in ASD-specific courses and teachers with no training in ASD-specific courses. The dependent variables were continuous and represented the four teaching competencies: attitude, knowledge, skills, and agency. The four dependent variables were measured using Mu et al.’s Learning in Regular Classroom Teacher’s Professional Competence Scale. A one-way MANOVA was used to analyze the significant difference between the variables in the study. Results suggest that training did not have any significant differences on the four teaching competencies. The results of this study have potential implications for positive social change by increasing awareness of the impact of teaching competencies in the academic functioning of children with ASD in the general education classroom.