University of Tasmania
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Teachers' decision-making with respect to evidence-based practices for students with autism spectrum disorder

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posted on 2023-05-28, 12:25 authored by Garrad, T-A
Teachers have been criticised for their inconsistent use of evidence-based practice (EBP) when working with students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, a lack of training about what constitutes an EBP has hindered teachers' abilities to adopt the most appropriate approaches to meet the specific needs of their students. Deficient guidance and training have also resulted in the cessation of their use. In response to these issues, this thesis sought to explore teachers' decision-making processes regarding EBP concerning students with ASD to identify criteria that may be used to guide decision-making about the adoption and maintenance of EBP in Australian mainstream schools. Given the perceived gap in the literature exploring decision-making in this context, a new survey tool was created to measure the importance of a range of criteria impacting teachers' decision-making regarding the adoption and cessation of EBP. The resulting Evidence-Based Practice Innovation Adoption Survey (EBPIAS) was then made available to Australian primary school teachers for completion. Overall, teachers were found to be adopting EBP based on the individual needs of their students with ASD; similarly, cessation was reported to be because the EBP did not meet the needs of students. A possible reason for this outcome was due to teachers' reported difficulty with implementing EBP within the classroom. Historically, these difficulties have been attributed to insufficient or inadequate levels of specialist training. However, teachers rated training as one of the least important criteria in the decision to adopt EBP. These findings suggest that teachers need to better understand the importance of specialist training and implementation requirements of practices to ensure the adoption and maintenance of EBP. Communications of EBP need to highlight how the EBP supports the needs of students with ASD as well as bringing more considerable attention to the training and implementation procedures required. The intention is to better support higher adoption rates of effective EBP while decreasing cessation rates. As such, the findings of the survey could inform how EBP needs to be promoted and communicated to teachers.


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