Date of Conferral







Peggy Locke


AbstractAdults with ASD Perceptions of Inclusion Education by Susan M. Weiss

MA, Adelphi University, 1989BS, Hofstra University, 1987

Dissertation Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy Education Special Education

Walden UniversityFebruary 2021

AbstractThe perspectives and experiences of adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are not included in the body of educational research on inclusion education. Because students with ASD are academically capable, they are placed in inclusive education environments. The perspectives of adults with ASD about their inclusion experiences could offer valuable information to educational practitioners and parents of students with ASD. Using a conceptual framework of disability studies, the questions in this phenomenological study were designed to explore the lived experiences adults with ASD involving academics, social interactions, sensory experiences, and transition services in inclusion education. Participants were recruited from the Northeast and Midwest United States and included 12 adults with ASD between the ages of 19 and 55. In-depth interviews were transcribed and coded into themes using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Results revealed adults with ASD believed there was an absence of positive school-wide ethos regarding students with disabilities. Participants also expressed difficulties in learning, feelings of sensory overload, social confusion with peers and adults, and inadequate transition supports. They called for educational professionals to recognize them as experts on autism. This study offers educators the opportunity to include the voice of adults with ASD into the development of improved educational supports and positive social structures in inclusion education for students with ASD.

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