Inclusion and autism spectrum disorder : relationships between teacher attitudes towards inclusion, self-efficacy, stress and experience

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O'Dowd, Emer
Issue Date
Higher Diploma in Arts in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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The aim of this study was to uncover relationships between teacher experience, attitudes towards inclusion (measured by the Scale of Teacher Attitudes towards Inclusion), self-efficacy (measured by the Teacher Self-Efficacy Scale) and perceived stress (measured by the Perceived Stress Scale), with regard to the inclusion of pupils from Autism Spectrum Disorder classes. This was a quantitative, correlational study which used a purposive sampling method. 51 primary school teachers responded to self-administered questionnaires. High self-efficacy had a strong positive correlation with teacher attitudes towards inclusion but there was no difference with length of teaching experience. There was no significant association between training and overall attitudes to inclusion, except at the attitude subscale level of logistical concerns. There was no difference in attitudes towards inclusion between teachers who had experience of including pupils with ASD and those who did not. Self-efficacy and overall attitudes towards inclusion did not predict the perceived stress levels of teachers but the attitude subscale of professional issues was found to predict perceived teacher stress. This study has generated new knowledge that can be used to improve future planning and policy development in schools with ASD classes. Author keywords: Autism, inclusion, teacher stress, teacher self-efficacy, attitudes, experience, training, ASD classes