Date of Conferral







William Tetu


Autism spectrum disorders are pervasive developmental disorders in which a student’s inability to communicate, undeveloped social skills, and restricted interests require intervention from trained professionals. Autism spectrum disorder is an eligibility for special education where students can be affected by the presence of a lack of qualified teachers. Teachers who work with students with special needs experience more frustration and burnout than do teachers of typical students; research has suggested that teachers with higher self-efficacy have more success than do teachers with lower self-efficacy. The study’s theoretical basis was derived from Bandura’s self-efficacy theory. This phenomenological qualitative research study explored 8 Head Start teachers’ self-efficacy and experiences teaching children with autism spectrum disorders. A modified van Kaam method was used to analyze the data in this study. Results indicated that the majority of Head Start teachers had poor or negative feelings of self-efficacy and they held negative feelings about teaching children on the autism spectrum. However, all participants expressed a need for more training to help them teach children on the autism spectrum. Findings from the study may be used by Head Start administrators as the basis for additional teacher training, resulting in positive social change.