Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


James David Ferguson

Committee Member

Bonnie Ronson

Committee Member

Kimberly Durham


autism spectrum disorder (ASD), mainstream classroom, middle school, teacher perception, teacher preparedness


The research problem for the current study was that many general education teachers feel unprepared to teach students with ASD in their general education classrooms. The purpose of this quantitative study was to describe teachers’ perceptions of their preparedness for teaching students with ASD in mainstream elementary classrooms. Three research questions guided the study, focusing on perceived levels of preparedness of knowledge and skills in the areas of (a) instructional content and practice, (b) planning and managing the teaching and learning environment, and (c) managing student behavior and social interaction skills. A quantitative method with a survey design was used. The Scale of Knowledge and Skills for Instruction and Management of Students With Disabilities was the instrument used. Participants who met the criteria for the study were mainstream classroom teachers at 8 elementary schools who taught students identified as having ASD in their mainstream classrooms during the 2015-2016 school year. The results from the data for all research questions indicated that teachers perceived their knowledge and skills in all 3 content areas to be at the “moderately” prepared level, which was less prepared than the “adequately” prepared level. A limitation to the study was that of the estimated 51 potential participants who met the inclusion criteria for the study, only 20 chose to participate by completing the survey. An implication of the study based on the findings is that participants need to have and take advantage of opportunities to better prepare them for working with ASD students in mainstream classrooms. Recommendations for future studies include using a larger sample and extending the study to secondary level teachers.

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