U.S. schools have experienced a significant growth in the number of students identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The preponderance of students with ASD has challenged school leaders to adjust the ways in which they lead their schools (Riehl, 2000), as well as to understand and implement the mandates of federal laws regarding students with disabilities (DiPaola & Walther-Thomas, 2003). This multiple case study explored the various experiences of 7 school principals charged with addressing the needs of students with ASD, demonstrating that the school principal has more responsibility than ever before regarding disability and student achievement. This research study employed semi-structured interviews, participant questionnaires, field note observations, and document analyses. The unique experiences of participants offered five overarching themes: (a) visionary leadership, (b) building relationships, (c) support personnel, (d) teacher perceptions, (e) principals’ experiences with special education, and (f) parental involvement. Disability studies theory, through the lens of social justice, framed the research design and analysis. In sum, each case analysis documented the triumphs and challenges of 7 school principals destined to provide inclusive experiences for the increasing numbers of students with autism in schools today.
|Advisor:||Vallejo Pena, Edlyn|
|Commitee:||Brennan, Elizabeth, Kelly, Victoria L.|
|School:||California Lutheran University|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 77/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational leadership, School administration, Special education|
|Keywords:||Academic achievement, Autism, Developmental disabilities, Inclusion, School principals|
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