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Abstract

This study aimed to explore the relationship between teachers and students’ families and address the deficiencies in the body of research regarding the performance gap between children with autism and their age-equivalent peers. The research question was: How do teachers of children with autism perceive the home-school collaboration and its impact on learning? Ten state-certified special educators with at least 3 years’ experience teaching children with autism, and experience collaborating with their students’ families participated in face-to-face interviews, answering 8 open-ended questions in this generic qualitative study. Inductive thematic analysis yielded 6 themes: (a) collaboration improves learning, (b) communication is vital, (c) collaboration supports overall student improvement, (d) challenges impact collaboration, (e) parental involvement is imperative, and (f) teachers find ways to promote parental engagement. A strong home-school connection improved students’ ability to grasp material in the classroom, decreased the children’s anxiety and enhanced their sense of security; also, involved parents reinforced the learning process at home. Recommendations for future research include studying a larger sample to increase generalizability and covering a larger geographic area for better representation of the population.

Keywords

Collaboration, Teacher, Perceptions, Autism, School, Home, Learning, Generic Qualitative Methodology, Thematic Analysis

Author Bio(s)

I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Behavioral Sciences from Mercy College and then went on to pursue my Master’s in General and Special Education from Mercy College as well. With a deep passion for learning and teaching, I continued on to earn my PhD in Educational Psychology from Capella University. I started off my career as a teacher for children with autism in a private school in NY. While teaching, I began taking on administrative responsibilities, facilitated trainings, and also began tutoring and mentoring graduate learners from a local college. Facilitating trainings, professional developments, and working with college student, is what led me to develop a passion for higher education and a drive to explore and expand the body of existing knowledge in the field. I am fortunate enough to be a professor, faculty-led researcher, and course designer, which affords me the opportunity to work with learners on achieving their educational goals. I also work as an administrator in a school for students with disabilities. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: shiffyjay@gmail.com.

Publication Date

12-2-2019

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

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