Date of Conferral







Donald Yarosz


Coordination of special education prekindergarten (PK) to kindergarten (K) transition programming for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) represents significant changes for students within inclusive school environments. The problem addressed by this basic qualitative study involved barriers, challenges, supports, and successes in the coordination of transition programming from PK to K for students with ASD. This study addressed a gap in the literature on educators' perspectives on the coordination of transition programming. Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory framed this study that explored the perspectives of 11 educators. Data were collected from semistructured digitally audio recorded interviews conducted with six PK and five K teacher volunteers who worked in inclusive classrooms in three public suburban schools located in the southern region of the United States. Data were analyzed using an inductive approach, including organizing data, coding, and finding patterns, categories, and themes to address the research question. Thematic analysis revealed six themes. Participants viewed coordination of transition programming as successful when there were (a) professional learning opportunities; (b) communication among stakeholders; (c) mutuality in relationships; (d) cycles of planning, implementing, and assessing; (e) team collaborations; and (f) accountability practices. Additional studies on special education transition programs are recommended. Findings of this study can promote positive social change by heightening awareness and providing a deeper understanding of the importance of coordination of transition programming for PK to K students with ASD, their families, and early childhood educators in inclusive settings.