Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
In a southeast school district, students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are taught by elementary general education teachers despite their lack of training to meet the needs of such students. To provide effective education that supports the learning needs of students with ASD, exploration of the problem was needed. The intended outcome of this qualitative case study was to provide information to district administrators that could be used to develop interventions to help general education teachers meet the learning needs of students with ASD. The Iovannone, Dunlap, Huber, and Kincaid model of effective educational practices for students with ASD grounded the study. Research questions explored how general education teachers met students' individual support and service needs, academic needs, structured learning environment needs, communication and language needs, and disciplinary needs, as well as what supports and resources teachers perceived they needed to meet student needs. Ten elementary general education teachers participated in the study. Data were collected through interviews and analyzed using provisional coding and pattern coding. Six themes emerged from the analysis: (a) individual support and service, (b) academic needs, (c) structured environment needs, (d) communication and language needs, (e) disciplinary needs, and (f) teachers' perceptions of needed supports and resources. The results were used to create a professional development 3-day program from which teachers could strengthen their knowledge and skills in providing quality instruction to students with ASD. Such training may result in social change by improving the quality of education provided to students with ASD that will enhance their opportunities to live valued lives.