Lisak Šegota, N., Lessner Lištiaková, I., Stošić, J., Kossewska, J., Troshanska, J., Petkovska Nikolovska, A. & Cierpiełowska, T. & Preece, D. (under review, European Journal of Special Needs Education) Teacher education and confidence regarding autism of specialist primary school teachers

Abstract. Legislation and policy within Croatia, the Republic of North Macedonia and Poland supports the educational inclusion of children with autism; however, such inclusion is nascent in these countries. A survey of experienced teachers working directly with children with autism in both inclusive and special schools was undertaken in winter 2018-19. Five hundred and sixty questionnaires were distributed and 340 returned (61% response); after cleansing, 242 responses were analysed. Over a quarter of respondents had received no instruction regarding autism during initial teacher education; almost half had undertaken no continuing professional development on the topic. Special school teachers reported higher overall confidence, but levels remained low within a number of key domains. Teachers identified a need for appropriate teacher education regarding theory, relevant practical strategies and mentorship/supervision. Implications regarding inclusive practice and teacher education in these countries are identified.

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