Pre-service teachers and other educators are expected to understand and teach students from diverse backgrounds and varying abilities. One group that is growing in all classrooms across the U.S. are students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). As such, it is essential that teacher preparation programs prepare pre-service teachers and educators to teach students with ASD. The purpose of the research was to examine the effects of pre-service teachers understanding and perceptions about ASD before and after reading young adult literature about characters with ASD. Results of parallel mixed-method research showed an increase of positive attitudes of pre-service teachers and educators' perceptions concerning people with ASD after reading young adult fiction. In light of these findings, we recommend that teacher preparation programs provide experiential opportunities, in this case through authentic fictional books, to enhance the perceptions and understanding of students with ASD and their families.
Barrio, Brenda L.; Kelley, Jane E.; and Cardon, Teresa
"Pre-service educators' understanding and perceptions of ASD before and after reading ASD narrative fiction,"
Northwest Journal of Teacher Education: Vol. 14
, Article 5.