Date of Award

11-2008

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Jason Berman

Second Supervisor

David Rostetter

Abstract

Autism is a disorder present from birth or very early in childhood that affects social interaction, communication of ideas and feelings, imagination, and relationships with others (National Research Council, 2001 ). Most of the research has categorized students with autism according to disability and failed to look at the importance of culture. Such limitations may reflect a lack of awareness of cultural issues and the ways that these issues affect students with autism and their families. Also, such missing information may compromise the quality of the fields of professionals who work with multicultural students (Obiakor, Wilder, and Dyches, 2004). Professionals who work with multicultural students with autism and their families should be concerned about the relative paucity of research specific to the challenges they face. Published research often drives what services should be available to .individuals with autism (Dyches, Wilder, Sudweeks, Obiakor, and Algozzine, 2004). This researcher examined the impact of culture on current classroom teaching practices which include multicultural students with autism, Specifically, do classrooms with multicultural students with autism exhibit culturally responsive teaching and do special education teachers exhibit skills and knowledge that demonstrate culturally responsive teaching? The results of this study revealed the absence of cultural responsive teaching in the. classrooms. In addition, the special education teachers lack the knowledge and skills to demonstrate culturally responsive teaching. Implications for improving practice are discussed.

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