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Administrative Issues Journal

Abstract

This study addressed the compromise skills taught to students 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, but 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. Teacher observations and compromise interventions were open coded and analyzed thematically using descriptive statistics. For the quantitative sequence, an ANCOVA and descriptive statistics were used to analyze posttest scores between the treatment group and the control group while controlling for pretest scores. The three most frequently occurring themes that emerged were in regard to teachers’ need to (a) understand the cognitive deficits exhibited by students, (b) receive instruction in emergence theory-based curriculum, and (c) plan lessons together using emergence theory. The ANCOVA revealed a significant interaction between the pretest scores and the curriculum used. This study indicated the importance of remediating the cognitive deficits of students with ASD and improving educator understanding and success in working with this student population.

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