A Model of Practice for improving autism knowledge in teachers of mainstream students on the autism spectrum in Australia

Published June 2021
Abstract
Australian mainstream school teachers report a severe shortage of accessible autism-focused resources, strategies, and professional development (PD). This 2-part mixed methods study investigated the effect of using a web-based model of practice (MoP) for PD. The MoP contains evidence-based, autism-specific educational practices and resources designed for mainstream teachers of students on the autism spectrum. The aim was to examine teacher responses to using the MoP and the impact of the mode of delivery. In Part 1, 3 PD delivery conditions for using the MoP were trialled (8 weeks): face-to-face support, online support, or web-based access to detailed resources only. Support was provided by expert autism educators. Teachers (N = 15) reported that the MoP was an accessible, comprehensive, and practical support for educational decision-making, and that support encouraged implementation of the MoP practices. Part 2 trialled a hybrid PD model in 6 regional schools. Limited face-to-face and online support plus access to the MoP was trialled. Interview data indicated that a hybrid model can be an effective method of providing immediate support for teachers.
Citation
Bruck, S., Robinson, A. & Gallagher, E. (2021). A Model of Practice for improving autism knowledge in teachers of mainstream students on the autism spectrum in Australia. Australasian Journal of Special and Inclusive Education, 1-16. doi.org/10.1017/jsi.2021.7

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