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Administrative Issues Journal

Abstract

This study addresses the compromise skills that are taught to students diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) and related social and communication deficits. A private school in the southeastern United States implemented an emergence theory-based curriculum to address these skills, yet no formal analysis was conducted to determine its effectiveness. Guided by cognitive development and constructivist theories, a concurrent, mixed methods, case study design was used to investigate the impact of this curriculum on teaching compromise skills to middle school students with ASD and related deficits. For the qualitative sequence, teacher observations and compromise interventions from eight participants were open coded and analyzed thematically. The frequency of each thematic occurrence was analyzed using descriptive statistics. For the quantitative sequence, an ANCOVA and descriptive statistics were used to analyze posttest scores between a treatment group that used emergence theory-based curriculum and a control group, while controlling for pretest scores. Three most frequently occurring themes emerged regarding teachers’ need (a) to understand the cognitive deficits exhibited by students, (b) for further instruction in emergence theory-based curriculum, and (c) for opportunities to plan lessons together using emergence theory. Moreover, the ANCOVA revealed a significant interaction between the pretest scores and the curriculum used. This study indicated that importance for remediating cognitive deficits related to compromise within the population of students with ASD and improving educator understanding and success in working with this student population.

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