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06/25/2017

Teacher Perception of the Importance of Friendship and Other Outcome Priorities in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder


Teacher Perception of the Importance of Friendship and Other Outcome Priorities in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Neysa Petrina, Mark Carter, and Jennifer Stephenson

 

Abstract: This study investigated perceptions of teachers of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) on the importance of friendship development in comparison to other outcome priorities. Perceptions of teachers working in special classes were compared to those of teachers of mainstream classes. Friendship was rated of similar importance to social skills and emotional development, whereas intellectual and academic skills, physical skill and motor development, and creativity were rated of lower importance than friendship. When teachers were asked to force-rank priorities, friendship was third, preceded by emotional development and social skills. Special class teachers assigned higher ranks to learning outcomes that relate to the core deficits of ASD, namely social skills, friendship, and emotional development, as compared to mainstream class teachers. Furthermore, teachers prioritized friendship differently according to student levels of autistic symptomatology. When perceptions of teachers and parents were compared, both perceived social skills, emotional development, and friendship as the three most important outcomes. The implications of these findings for future educational service delivery are discussed.

 
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