Factors that correlate with teachers' perceptions of student outcomes of children with autism included in general education

Myra Kelly, Fordham University


This study investigated the factors that correlate with how 30 elementary school children with autism responded in the general education setting known as inclusion. The primary purpose of the study was to determine whether the teachers' attitudes toward inclusion were related to their perceptions of the progress made by the students over the period of the study. Nine special education and 21 general education teachers rated the students at the beginning and end of approximately a 5-month period. The students were rated on the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) and the Vineland socialization subscales. The teachers completed a 17-item attitude questionnaire, a teachers' demographic survey, and a students' demographic survey. Some of the teachers were also interviewed to determine their views on inclusion. The analysis of the data suggests that the students in the study made no significant change either positively or negatively in their social skills. There was, however, a decrease in symptoms of autism as indicated by the general education teachers ratings on the CARS. In neither teachers' group was there a significant correlation between attitude toward inclusion and pretreatment to posttreatment changes on the CARS. The findings suggest that teachers' favorable or unfavorable attitude toward inclusion does not have an effect on a teachers' ability to accurately rate children's social skills. They also suggest that negative teacher attitudes toward inclusion do not necessarily mean that the students with autism who are included will not improve. The general education and the special education teachers felt that the included students' behavior was the most crucial characteristic to be considered when deciding which students would be included. They felt that only those students with mild forms of stereotypical behavior attributed to students with autism should be included. Generally speaking, the primary focus of the special educators was on socialization. The primary focus of the general education teachers was the students' academics.

Subject Area

Special education

Recommended Citation

Kelly, Myra, "Factors that correlate with teachers' perceptions of student outcomes of children with autism included in general education" (2004). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3137015.