Date of Award

Spring 2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education Policy, Planning, and Administration

Committee Chairperson

Merry Staulters Ph.D.

Committee Member

Crystal Loose Ed.D.

Committee Member

Dawn Patterson Ed.D.



This convergent mixed-methods study gathered insights from Pennsylvania kindergarten through eighth-grade general education teachers regarding their perceptions of preparedness for including students with autism. Utilizing Bandura's theory of self-efficacy (1962), which underscores the importance of continual opportunities for individuals to build confidence in their abilities, the study sought to understand teachers' viewpoints on their readiness for inclusion. To achieve educator insight, a combination of surveys and interviews was employed to understand better what preservice and in-service educators learned in their pre-professional and professional experiences. In the survey phase, (n=51) general educators responded to questions covering demographics, teacher education programming, professional development, implemented strategies, and suggestions for training. Ten survey respondents completed an optional virtual interview, providing further insights into their teaching experiences with students with autism and offering suggestions for future training and preparation for general education teachers. The interviews were transcribed, member-checked, and coded to identify themes related to preparedness, instructional barriers, program limitations, and recommendations for future training. Both the survey and interviews contributed valuable information to the research on teacher preparation for students with autism, offering recent perspectives from educators currently in the classroom. Their experiences and suggestions shed light on the ongoing need for adequate preparation of educators to support students with autism.