Publication Date

Fall 2015

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Marty J. Boman (Director), E. Carolyn Tucker, and Antony D. Norman

Degree Program

Educational Leadership Doctoral Program

Degree Type

Doctor of Education


This study examines the perceptions of general education teachers in Kentucky middle schools regarding their knowledge concerning Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), and their abilities to implement strategies designed to accommodate students on the spectrum. Participants included both general and special education teachers though the original targeted sampling included general education teachers only. Data were collected using a demographic questionnaire and a Likert scale survey created by the researcher and distributed through a web based program. Demographic characteristics collected included number of graduate credit hours, age, years of teaching experience, credited hours of training on ASD at the graduate level, as well as professional development concerning ASD and SPD. Likert items included teacher perceptions regarding the adequacy of their knowledge of ASD and SPD and their preparedness to work with students with autism. In general, participants perceived they had adequate knowledge of ASD and SPD and professional development to help students with autism be successful in their classrooms. Teachers reporting more professional development on ASD and SPD felt more prepared to work with these students. However, the more students with ASD or SPD teachers reported having in their classrooms, the less prepared teachers felt. Additionally, more experienced teachers reported less satisfaction with their professional development related to ASD or SPD. Due to information gathered from general and special education teachers, t-tests were performed to differentiate their perceptions on these topics, which indicated that general education teachers scored themselves as more knowledgeable than special education teachers. Findings indicate further study is warranted, and teachers would benefit from increased opportunities for PD concerning ASD, SPD, and classroom preparedness.


Disability and Equity in Education | Education | Occupational Therapy