Parents and Teachers Perceptions of the Program Planning Process for Children with Autism in one Newfoundland and Labrador School District

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Etheridge, Nancy
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Mount Saint Vincent University
The number of children being diagnosed with autism, a pervasive developmental disorder, has risen dramatically in recent years (Kendall & Comer, 2010). Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder typically attend public schools in Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) and individual program plans are developed to meet their needs. The program planning process involves collaboration among school personal, medical and developmental specialists, and the child’s family (Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, Department of Education, 2007). The purpose of this study was to investigate parents’ and teachers’ perceptions of the program planning and implementation process when working with children with autism in one geographic area of NL. Results indicated that teachers and parents shared similar perceptions on several points such as when describing autism. Both parents and teachers mentioned that autism was associated with social and communication deficits. They also noted the importance of working with children with autism to improve their social skills and general behavior. However, participants had different perspectives in some areas, especially regarding the program planning process around issues of involvement, program implementation, and providing needed services. Results suggested that the shared perspectives of parents and teachers on some issues would be a good starting point for continued dialogue to ensure that children with autism are receiving needed services and optimal programming.
Autism Spectrum Disorder , Education - Newfoundland and Labrador