School of Education


Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)


Gail Collins


HFA, Christian education, K-12, perceived preparedness, self-efficacy


Education | Special Education and Teaching


The purpose of this case study in a Pre-K-12 Christian school environment was to understand the perceived preparedness and perceived efficacy of education professionals and general education middle- and high-school teachers for inclusion of students with high-functioning autism (HFA). The education professionals included a school nurse, one special education teacher, a director of special education and a religion teacher. Three theories guiding the research were self-fulfilling prophecies as defined by Merton (1948), Gilbert and Wilson’s (2007) theory of prospection, and Bandura’s (1995) theory of self-efficacy. The central research question was: How do education professionals and general education teachers in a Christian middle- or high-school perceive their preparedness for inclusion of students with HFA? Faith Christian Academy, St. Joseph’s School, and Southside Christian School comprised the case. Data collection included a participant-constructed graphic representation, individual interviews, and two focus groups. Data analysis was achieved following the guidelines set forth by Stake (2011). This research revealed that general education teachers and education professionals in a Christian school perceived that they were prepared for inclusion of students with high-functioning autism. The findings also revealed that these same individuals lacked specific training on the inclusion of students with HFA, were unfamiliar with the non-exclusionary discipline practices such as PBIS, commonly used for these students, and had little understanding of the IEP process, also common to these students.