School of Education
Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)
Billie Jean Holubz
Autism, Written Expression, Special Education, Writing, Communication
Hasinger, Kevin James, "High School Teachers' Experiences in Addressing the Challenges of Written Expression among Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder" (2021). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 3084.
The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to describe high school special education teachers’ experiences in teaching written expression to students with autism spectrum disorder in Parker County School District, located near the mid-eastern seaboard of the United States. At the onset of the study, written expression instruction was defined as instruction that facilitates the expression of feelings, thoughts, and ideas on paper to convey meaning to and/or persuade the reader (Flowers & Hayes, 1981). The theory guiding this study was Flower and Hayes’ (1981) cognitive process theory of writing which defined three essential elements of writing: the task environment, the writer’s long-term memory, and the writing process. Specifically, the following research question drove the research: what are the experiences of special education teachers tasked with teaching written expression to high school students who have autism spectrum disorder? Three additional questions were addressed as well: how do high school special education teachers lead students with autism spectrum disorder to identify the rhetorical problem within the task environment at the planning stage of writing; how do high school special education teachers guide students with autism spectrum disorder to access their long-term memory on a specified topic during the translation phase of writing; and how do high school special education teachers guide students with autism spectrum disorder through the reviewing phase of the writing process? Data was collected through interviews, focus groups, and participant observations and analyzed for themes and patterns via the Stevick-Colaizzi-Keen method of qualitative analysis. The results of the study were shared and discussed to build understanding among educators regarding the challenges of teaching written expression to students with autism spectrum disorder.