WEDNESDAY, May 11 (HealthDay News) -- The majority of general
education teachers support the notion of including autistic
children in a regular classroom environment, a small new survey
Overall, the eight general education teachers surveyed expressed
positive views of inclusion for children with autism, but they felt
additional resources would help ensure success in a mainstream
Survey co-authors P. Rosen and E. Rotheram-Fuller, of Temple
University, and D. S. Mandell, from the University of Pennsylvania
School of Medicine, are scheduled to present the findings Wednesday
at the International Meeting for Autism Research in San Diego.
The teachers surveyed worked in a single, large urban school
district. Each had between one and four students with autism
already present in classrooms that catered to an average of 25
students. The majority of the autistic students spent at least half
a day enrolled in a general education setting, according to a
meeting news release.
On average the teachers had more than 10 years of experience,
although specific work with autistic students ranged from none to
The preliminary results revealed that all the teachers shared a
positive perspective on including autistic children in an otherwise
standard classroom setting.
Doing so was completely appropriate for 44 percent of students,
and somewhat appropriate for 33 percent of students, they said. And
as a whole, those surveyed indicated that they felt most of the
autistic students (66 percent) would do well to remain in their
current classroom situation.
However, for 22 percent of students, inclusion was considered
somewhat inappropriate, and for one-third of students, a different,
more restrictive environment would be better, the teachers
Regardless of their views, the teachers generally expressed
confidence in their ability to handle autistic students, while at
the same time observing that not all of the children were
adequately prepared for the demands of a general education
Overall, the participants suggested that more resources were
needed to help promote social interaction between autistic students
and their healthy peers. Also necessary: continued support from
special education teachers and training in how to meet the demands
of individual education plans, they said.
Research presented at meetings is considered preliminary because
it has not been subject to the scrutiny required for publication in
a peer-reviewed journal.
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