Date of Award

2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Education

Specialization

Special Education

Department

Education

First Advisor

Paul LaCava

Abstract

The role of early childhood educators (ECE) is changing as a result of increasing numbers of young children with autism participating in natural preschool classrooms. To understand what ECE know about autism and the evidence-based practices (EBP) that support children with autism to make progress in learning and development, 125 preschool teachers work in community, State Funded and Head Start preschool classrooms were surveyed using the researcher created tool the Perspectives of Early Childhood Educators on Autism (PECE-ASD) Scale. Results showed that ECE had basic knowledge of autism related to observable behaviors of autism; however, limited general knowledge of autism. Participants reported having knowledge of EBP they perceived as aligned to developmentally appropriate practice and a limited understanding of behavior-based interventions.

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