Public school, general education, elementary and middle school teachers’ perceptions of preparedness to teach children with high functioning autism and Asperger’s syndrome to read
Smith, Lisa A.
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Inadequate instruction for students with high functioning autism (HFA) and Asperger Syndrome (AS) prevents them from meeting their academic and life skills potential. Not only will academics and life skills be affected by teachers’ negative perceptions of preparedness, but the federal mandates of best, research-based, and least restricted environment may be compromised. This mixed methods study utilized an electronic, anonymous survey with general education, elementary and middle school teachers from 16 independent school districts in Texas. A total of 350 surveys were collected; a portion of each survey was utilized to determine the results of the study. Findings demonstrated perceptions of preparedness to be a significant predictor of the effectiveness or teaching methods and motivational techniques. The number of children with HFA and AS taught by the teacher proved to be a significant predictor of the effectiveness of the motivational techniques. The number of courses teachers received on the topic of HFA and AS also predicted the teachers’ perceptions of their preparedness. Teachers requested training on literacy regarding students with HFA and AS and a preference to receive training in the school buildings, in-district in-services, or in consultation with the special education teacher. It is recommended teachers receive training with the guidance of an expert through hands-on training conducted in the classroom.