Date of Award

8-2009

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Ray Giamartino

Second Supervisor

John Mavromatis

Abstract

In an effort to comply with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2000 (IDEA, 2004), schools are moving toward full inclusion in classrooms to offer students with disabilities the least restrictive environment. This has led to an influx of students on the spectrum of autism in general education classrooms at the middle school level. Students on the spectrum of autism are receiving social interventions as indicated on their Individualized Education Plan. There has been no use of consistent measures to establish if social interventions are effective and generalizable. A study consisting of 7 middle school students in a suburban school district in Western New York was conducted to measure if the social skill interventions being administered to students with autism are effective. Parents and teachers were interviewed and rated students' social interactions during the course of a school year. Results indicated that school based interventions delivered at Green Hill Middle School are effective in helping students on the spectrum of autism navigate their social interactions. It was also determined that they were able to transfer the learning to other environments such as home and settings_without a special education teacher. The results also indicated that the students' Individualized Education Plan goals were not aligned to where the students' greatest gains were socially. Therefore, recommendations for pre/post test along with a better assessment method are necessary for schools to accurately measure student success.

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