An Examination of In-Service Teacher Attitudes Toward Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Implications for Professional Practice
Keywords:teacher attitudes, autism, special education, inclusion
Teacher attitudes can influence the successful instruction and interventions within the classroom. The present study examined in-service teachers attitudes toward students with and without autism spectrum disorder in the United States. A total of 234 teachers (pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12) from public and charter schools in a metropolitan city participated in a survey. Participants read two scenarios, one featuring a student displaying autistic symptoms and another featuring a typical student. They then indicated their attitudes toward each student. Results revealed that in-service teachers perceive the student with ASD as more different from typical students and the teachers are more likely to dislike and avoid the student with ASD. Standard regression analysis demonstrated that being female, teaching at the elementary level, and holding special education certification are predictors of a teachers positive perception of a student with autism spectrum disorder. The implications of these findings for professional practice are discussed.
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