Experiences and Perspectives of a Speech-Language Pathologist on Strategies and Challenges for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the General Education, Inclusion-Focused Classroom Post Distance Learning
Type of Resources
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects an individual’s communication and social skills (Ibrahimagic et al., 2021). The impacts vary across individuals but often includes struggles with transitions, flexibility, and organization (Ibrahimagic et al., 2021). Students with ASD frequently struggle with pragmatic skills that are the foundation for academic experiences and peer relationships (Ibrahimagic et al., 2021; Sutton et al., 2018). These skills are often important speech-language therapy targets that are challenged by faculty buy-in, school resources, and peer acceptance (Garrote et al., 2017; Kasari et al., 2011; Koster et al., 2009; Lloyd et al., 2016; Sutton et al., 2018). The COVID-19 pandemic caused shifts in service delivery and students with ASD often struggled due to inherent challenges with transitions. While there is some information regarding the strategies and challenges to inclusion prior to the pandemic, there is limited data that represents the changes in strategies and barriers that speech-language pathologist’s (SLPs) experience for this population that considers social and behavioral factors after distance learning. The purpose of the current study was to add to foundational knowledge that is needed to inform the clinical decision-making processes of SLPs for developing effective and efficacious treatment plans when supporting students with ASD who wish to receive services in the general education classroom. The identification of three categories of emerging themes Perspective, Experience Implementing Strategies, and Specific Strategies to Support Inclusion, in this single participant case study, indicate that clinicians should use a combination of direct and consultative strategies that suit their students and IEP teams.