Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and challenging behaviours (CB): training and content knowledge of teachers in the Republic of Ireland

  • Brian Fennell

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    With rising prevalence rates of autism spectrum disorders worldwide (i.e. current prevalence of 1:88; CDC 2012) it is imperative to implement efficacious interventions to improve functional outcomes for those diagnosed with autism. Applied behaviour analysis has been shown to produce advantageous outcomes (e.g. raised IQ scores, improved verbal skills, and increased adaptive behaviours; Fein, 2013; Dawson et al. 2010) and is widely accepted as an evidence-based practice for educational interventions for individuals with autism spectrum disorders (Odom,2010). Irish teachers of students with autism spectrum disorders were surveyed regarding their knowledge relevant to autism, challenging behaviour, and applied behaviour analysis. The data were analyzed to comparing results among respondents based on professional development training in the content areas. The teachers reporting training through the Special Education Support Service showed slightly higher rates of correct responses yet the performance of this group did not support the claimed high level of knowledge in these areas.

    This study indicates a need for research to validate professional development training modules as a means of ensuring improved teacher knowledge and skills being brought to practice in classrooms for students with ASD in Ireland.

    Date of AwardApr 2014
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Queen's University Belfast
    SupervisorKarola Dillenburger (Supervisor)

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