Teacher isolation and the inclusion of students with autism spectrum disorder: Bridging the divide


Coates, Mitchell Graeme. (2019) Teacher isolation and the inclusion of students with autism spectrum disorder: Bridging the divide [Thesis]. https://doi.org/10.26199/5ddf4ad11bd85
AuthorsCoates, Mitchell Graeme
Qualification nameDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Both researchers and clinicians have observed an apparent increase in the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in current and upcoming student populations (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2016; CDC, 2018). In response to these findings, the Australian Federal Government and Queensland Government have policies in place to support students in inclusive general education settings for children with ASD. The purpose of this study was to develop a more sophisticated understanding of expectations of teacher capacity to implement the inclusive practices required in Queensland educational policy, and the actual capacity of teaching staff to support their students with ASD in one school with a Special Education Program (SEP) attached. The epistemological stance adopted for this study is constructionism with the theoretical perspective interpretivism, and embedded within this perspective is symbolic interactionism. Consistent with these perspectives, case study methodology has been used where data collection, adopted to investigate the case, included document analysis, survey and semi-structured individual interviews. During the exploration phase, data were obtained from the document analysis of pre-service courses offered to teachers and teacher-aides in Queensland, Australia and an online survey of 24 participants, consisting of both teachers and teacher-aides. During the inspection phase, data were obtained from individual, semi-structured interviews with 16 of the 24 participants, comprising 12 teachers and 4 teacher-aides. This research supports previous research findings which outline a need for more ASD-specific pre-service and in-service training for teachers, however, these findings have been extended through the use of a Symbolic Interactionist lens, where five theoretical propositions have been advanced. Drawing on these theoretical propositions, the D.I.S.I Dilemma Model has been promoted as a reflection of the school environment. The findings have clear implications for departments of education and pre-service training institutions for both teachers and teacher-aides.

KeywordsAustralia; Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD); case study; constructionism; education; inclusion; interpretivism; Queensland; Special Education Program (SEP); symbolic interactionism; teacher-aides; teachers
PublisherACU Research Bank
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.26199/5ddf4ad11bd85
Final version
Publication dates14 Jan 2019
Permalink -


  • 7
    total views
  • 20
    total downloads
  • 0
    views this month
  • 0
    downloads this month
These values are for the period from 19th October 2020, when this repository was created.

Export as