Preschool teachers’ selection of social communication interventions for children with autism: An application of the theory of planned behavior

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


LAY ABSTRACT: Preschool special educators' are more likely to choose an educational practice to teach a young child with autism a social communication skill if they have positive beliefs about it. We asked preschool special educators to read a description of an autistic student and their social communication goal and imagine they were the student's teacher. We then asked them to pick one of five practices to teach the student. We also asked them questions to understand their attitudes about, confidence in their ability to use, and their perception of their coworkers' support of each practice. There are many research-based practices that a teacher could use to help children learn, and preschool teachers often make these decisions for their students. Teachers' beliefs varied in how supportive they were of each practice, and research shows people are more likely to do something that their beliefs support. In this study, they had more supportive beliefs and were more likely to use some practices, like naturalistic intervention, than other practices, like discrete trial teaching. By knowing this, researchers can help teachers use practices that their beliefs support and help change teachers' beliefs to be supportive of a practice they may need to use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-200
Number of pages13
Issue number1
Early online dateJun 15 2021
StatePublished - Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was financially supported by the National Center for Leadership in Intensive Intervention, Office of Special Education Programs (#H325H140001), and the Institute of Education Sciences (#: R305B170021).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.


  • autism spectrum disorders
  • decision-making
  • early childhood special education
  • evidence-based practice
  • implementation science
  • teachers

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


Dive into the research topics of 'Preschool teachers’ selection of social communication interventions for children with autism: An application of the theory of planned behavior'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this