Description: A review of the literature indicated that critical skills needed by educators of students with autism had not been sufficiently identified. Research efforts using survey instruments appeared to offer a method for gathering data in order to develop and analyze a comprehensive list of critical skills for educators of students with autism. A survey instrument was developed in bifurcate format that required respondents to rate 118 skill items according to Importance and Proficiency. Two Likert-type scales were provided to enable respondents to record their perceptions of Importance and Proficiency. The instrument was mailed to a nationwide stratified sample of educators of students with autism. A total of 90 surveys were mailed with 52 (57%) returned. Four hypotheses and two research questions were developed. Data were analyzed using MANOVA to test for significant differences among the four geographic regions of the United States and within ten skill areas. The findings did not support the hypotheses; therefore, all hypotheses were rejected. In further analysis utilizing the ANOVA and Chi-Square procedures, significant differences among some regions and within some of the skill areas were found. The findings suggest that educators from the four regions tended to differ in regard to Importance and Proficiency for certain skill items. Findings led to recommendations being given relevant to future research on critical skills needed for teachers in the field of autism.
Date: August 1989
Creator: Bunsen, Teresa Dawn