Recently, I (re)finished a manuscript I started last year after a qualitative study looking at the factors that influence pre-service APE specialists when working with children with ASD. The study involved lots of interviews and observations of the students in the schools. Below is the updated abstract:
Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) present an exceptional need for varied instruction with the physical education environment. Adapted physical educators need to be prepared to make a significant amount of choices in regards to adaptations and modifications given the situations they may encounter with their students. However, many pre-service adapted physical education (APE) specialists may be unprepared to address the unique challenges faced when teaching children with ASD. This study involved interviews and observations of four pre-service APE specialists who were working one-on-one with a child with ASD during a practicum. In this analysis four factors, 1) physical environment, 2) instructional strategies, 3) behavioral issues, and 4) personal discernment, surfaced as major influences in the decision making of the pre-service teacher. This analysis looks to build a foundational understanding of how this relationship exists in the APE setting with children with ASD. This study reveals that pre-service teacher have limited knowledge which leads to an inability to make important instructional decisions and overcome barriers that arise with children with ASD. Teacher-training programs should address these concerns in order to build confident and successful teachers.
The article's title comes from a quote one of the participants said and I thought it summed up a lot of what the teachers were trying to do when working with their students.
Currently, this article is under review at the International Journal for Special Education.