Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Rehabilitation Counseling

First Advisor

Dr. Bruce Reed

Second Advisor

Dr. Noreen Graf

Third Advisor

Dr. Cheryl Fielding


This qualitative research study’s purpose is to garner a better understanding of the barriers and expectations of general and special education elementary teachers when teaching students with autism. Pervious research indicates that school aged children being identified with Autism Spectrum Disorder has significantly increased (Evans, 2016). According to federal law (Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, 2004; No Child Left Behind, 2001) teachers are required to educate all students in their classroom including students with special needs. While several studies have been conducted on how to education and support students with autism in the classroom, few qualitative studies have been conducted from the educator’s perspective. Through a grounded theory approach, the barriers and expectations of general and special education teachers allowed the participants to provide their own perspective and resulted in a better understanding of factors that influence teacher’s view of students with autism. Additionally, these factors provide an introductory model of how to support teachers who instruct students with autism.


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