Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education and International Services


Leadership PhD

First Advisor

Shirley Freed

Second Advisor

James Tucker

Third Advisor

Jimmy Kijai


The Problem

As the number of children with autism needing educational support continues to increase, combined with the limited availability of resources, this study aims to examine how educators responsible for teaching children with autism have experienced implementation of the Connecticut Guidelines for the Identification and Education of Children and Youth with Autism (2005), (Guidelines). At this time there have been no studies done in the State of Connecticut to assess the implementation of the components for effective education of children with autism, as set forth in the Connecticut Guidelines.


The Connecticut Autism Needs Survey, an on-line self-report survey designed for this study, was used to collect cross sectional data reflecting special education teachers practices and attitudes towards the Connecticut Guidelines for Identification and Education of Children and Youth with Autism. The first three research questions assess participants experience with implementation, level of difficulty implementing and level of importance of the Connecticut Guidelines for Identification and Education of Children and Youth with Autism. To further explore implementation, level of difficulty implementing and importance the data was examined specifically for teachers practice with 17 recommended evidence based practices for students with autism. The responses to the questions were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Three additional research questions address the association between the dependent variables reported on in the first three questions and the predictor variables of (a) years of experience, (b) assignment, (c) place, (d) region of the state, (e) number of students on caseload, (f) percentage of students with ASD on caseload, or (g) personal relationship. The dependent variable for each question and the 7 predictor variables were analyzed using logistic regression.


The findings reveal 89.5% of respondents were either not familiar with the Connecticut Guidelines or found them difficult to implement. Additionally, the findings suggest an association between a special educator’s use of the Connecticut Guidelines and the specificity of their role and tenure. Teachers who are primarily responsible for students with autism were more likely to use the Guidelines than were teachers who were responsible for providing specialized instruction to students with a range of disabilities. The research found that special education teachers in private schools were nine times less likely to rate the Connecticut Guidelines as difficult to implement than teachers in public schools. The findings suggest teachers with more experience were slightly more likely to implement the Connecticut Guidelines. Interestingly, the findings identified teachers who have a personal relationship were twice as likely to use the Guidelines as those who did not. Three of the most critical evidence-based strategies for educating students with autism: pivotal response training, video modeling, and voice output communication aide had the lowest percentage of implementation and were perceived as "not important" by teachers.


The results show the Connecticut Guidelines are not used or viewed as important by the majority of special education teachers in Connecticut. The Guidelines were written 10 years ago and much has changed in the field of autism over that time period. It appears it is time to reexamine and make changes to the Connecticut Guidelines.

Subject Area

Autism in children--Connecticut; Special education--Connecticut; Connecticut Guidelines for Identification and Education of Children and Youth with Autism


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