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Practices and experiences of general education teachers educating students with autism


As the number of students with autism included in general education (GE) increases, researchers highlight the impact of attitudes, knowledge, and experiences of GE teachers on successful inclusion. One way to support teachers is to link evidence-based autism practices to existing training initiatives. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an initiative that positively influences inclusion and shares commonalities with Classroom Pivotal Response Teaching (CPRT), an evidence-based approach for autism. Understanding teachers’ perceptions and utilization of these and other evidence-based autism strategies is important for maximizing the benefit of inclusion while minimizing teacher burden. Using a qualitative design, this study conducted focus groups with 12 GE teachers to examine the strategies they used to support students with autism in inclusive classrooms and identified common themes. Teachers reported using a variety of strategies, including some evidence-based practices for autism, and had generally positive perceptions of UDL and CPRT. Implications for future research and teacher training are discussed.

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