There is a growing body of support that indicates that while inclusion may be the best answer for mildly autistic children, it may not be the best setting for those with moderate to severe autism. Until now, research into the autistic child in the classroom has focused on taking the position of either for or against inclusion in the general classroom. However, when one takes the body of literature as a whole, it appears that inclusion is good for some and bad for others. This leads to the logical conclusion that differences exist between children who are successful under inclusion and those that are not. Understanding these differences is the key to taking the proper action for an individual.
Literature regarding autism and inclusion missed the important point that in order to make the program a success, we must decode the keys to success. One of these keys lies in understanding the various characteristics of children that are successful with the inclusion model and those that are best served by other classroom settings. This study will concentrate on filling the gap that exists in literature regarding the need to develop an instrument for helping to determine which children are more likely to succeed in inclusive programs and those that are likely to be better served in an alternative classroom setting. It will use a survey of teachers with autistic children in the general classroom setting to attempt to uncover factors that may indicate a greater or lesser chance for success.
This study will examine the characteristics of children in the inclusive classroom setting in an attempt to understand which factors are likely to lead to success and which are likely to lead to failure for the student, teacher, and other children within the classroom. It will use a survey regarding the attitudes of teachers regarding their experiences with inclusion of autism in their classrooms. It will seek to explore the common factors between successes and the common factors among failures.
The study will be conducted by administering a survey to teachers in the general classroom setting in the local school district. They will be teachers of grades 1-6 and will have been teaching for at least one year prior to the survey. They may or may not have had an autistic child in their classroom, in which case, they will answer only those questions that pertain to their general attitudes towards inclusion of autistic children in the classroom.
Surveys will be handed out by the administrative secretary so that teachers can return them at their convenience. However, a final deadline will be set to turn them in. The administrative secretary will collect the surveys and keep them in one place until the end of the study, at which time the research will pick them up. Administrative personnel responsible for distributing and collecting the surveys will be asked to avoid reading them and to keep them confidential. A manila envelope with a clasp will be provided for this purpose. The administrative secretary will be asked to store them in a secure file cabinet, when they are not being used.
The target sample number is 200 surveys. Surveys will be sent and collected until this number is reached, at which time schools can discontinue distributing the surveys. This study will use a random sampling technique, where the researcher does not have any control over the make up of the study group. Only teachers in the general classroom will be included in this study. Exclusionary criteria will include special needs teachers, or other teachers in special settings, such as reading labs, etc.
This group of teachers were chosen, as the literature indicates that they are the most likely to be exposed to autistic children in the regular classroom. They are most likely to have had experience with and understand the impact of inclusion on their classroom. This group of teachers has no control over whether they will have a child with autism in their classroom. It is mandated that they will have this responsibility thrust upon them and they have no choice but to attempt to make accommodations to adjust to and inclusion setting.
Data will be analyzed using descriptive and comparative statistical techniques. Subjective data will be coded using a scheme that is used to recognize general patterns in the responses. The frequency of these patterns will be analyzed using frequency distribution. Two-tailed analysis will be used. A p-value of 0.05 will be used to determine which conditions are statistically significant.
This study methodology directly addresses the gap discovered in the literature review regarding the inclusion of autistic students in the classroom. It is expected that this method will reveal patterns in the children who are successful in their inclusion experience and those that are not. This research will contribute to our understanding of which students are likely to be successful in an inclusionary setting and which ones would be better served by a different classroom situation.
7584 Apple Ridge Drive
Shelton, Kansas 45987
This is a survey related to the inclusion of students with autism in the general education setting.
1. Your position within the school district (optional):
a. General Education Teacher b. Special Education Teacher
2. Subject(s) you teach (optional):
3. Number of students with disabilities in your class:
4. Number of students with autism in your class:
5. What age range of child do you work with?
6. What is the student/teacher ratio of your class?
Please circle the number that best represents your impression of each of the following statements.
You may make additional comments on any survey item or use a separate sheet of paper for comments.
The scale is as follows:
Strongly Disagree (SD)
Strongly Agree (SA)
7. Students with disabilities actively participate in classroom 1-2 3-4 activities with their peers without disabilities in the general education classrooms.
8. Students with disabilities who spend half of their school day 1-2 3-4 or more in the special education classroom have access to the general education curriculum.
9. General education teachers attend IEP meetings and 1-2 3-4 have input on student placement.
10. General education teachers are provided information 1-2 3-4 on accommodations for students with autism.
11. The benefits of inclusion in this district outweigh the 1-2 3-4 challenges.
12. Teachers in this district collaborate effectively to help 1-2 3-4 students with disabilities.
13. The professional development provided by the district 1-2 3-4 has had an impact on my classroom practice this year.
14. The structure for the delivery of services to students with 1-2-3 4
Autism in this district is successful.
15. All teachers and support staff have sufficient administrative 1-2 3-4 support in planning and preparation time to meet the needs of students with autism in and outside of their classrooms.
16. Other supports must be implemented in my district 1-2 3-4 in order for inclusion to be effective.
Dybvik, a (2004). Autism and the inclusion mandate: what happens when children with severe disabilities like autism are taught in regular classrooms? Daniel knows. Education Next. Winter 2004. Retrieved March 10, 2009 at http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0MJG/is_1_4/ai_111734750
Fighting Autism (2003). Autism Prevalence Reports, School Years 1992-2003. Retrieved March 10, 2009 at http://www.fightingautism.org/idea/autism-prevalence-report.php
Horrocks, J., White, G., & Roberts, L. (2008). Principals' attitudes regarding inclusion of children with autism in Pennsylvania public schools. J Autism Dev Disord. 38(8):1462- 73.
Humphrey, N. & Lewis, S. (2008). Make me normal': the views and experiences of pupils on the autistic spectrum in mainstream secondary schools. Autism. 2008 Jan;12(1):23-46.
Jordan, R. (2008). Autistic spectrum disorders: A challenge and a model for inclusion in education. British Journal of Special Education, 35(1), 11-15.
Kluth, P. (2003). "You're going to love this kid": Teaching students with autism in the inclusive classroom. Baltimore, Maryland: Brookes Publishing.
Lindsay, G. (2007). Educational psychology and the effectiveness of inclusive education/mainstreaming. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 77, 1-24.
Reiter, S. & Vitani, T. (2007). Inclusion of pupils with autism: The effect of an intervention program on the regular pupils' burnout, attitudes and quality of mediation. Autism. 11 (4): 321-333.
White, S.W., Scahill, L., Klin, a., Koenig, K., & Volkmar,…