Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2024

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Teacher Leadership


Department of Educational Leadership

Committee Chair/First Advisor

Sanjuana Rodriguez

Second Advisor

Dr. Megan Adams

Third Advisor

Dr. Virginie Jackson


There is an increase in the identification of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) throughout the country. There is also an emphasis on inclusion within the classrooms in the country. This qualitative study addresses the need for teachers to grasp more knowledge about Autism so that they can help children with autism have better access to the general education curriculum and increase support for success in the classroom. Through an action research project, this study aimed to gauge elementary school teachers' existing knowledge about Autism and identify areas where they desired further education. The study involved surveying teachers to understand their current awareness and their interest in learning more about effective practices for teaching Autistic students. Following the survey, a Professional Learning Community (PLC) was established to address the identified needs, providing a collaborative platform for discussions on strategies and best practices for supporting Autistic learners. The PLC's activities generated valuable insights and practical approaches for the teachers, paving the way for the school’s ongoing commitment to improving educational outcomes for students with Autism.

Keywords: Austim; professional learning communities, professional development