Teachers’ Perceptions of Including Children with Autism in a Preschool

Nornadia Mohamad Razali, Hasnah Toran, Sazlina Kamaralzaman, Norshidah Mohamad Salleh, Mohd. Hanafi Mohd. Yasin

Abstract


Inclusive education supports the vision of the United Nations (UN) in upholding the fundamental rights of children with special needs towards education. In Malaysia, the Persons with Disabilities Act 2008 recognized the rights of children and persons with disabilities in regards to education. However, the implementation of inclusive education for children with autism in Malaysia has been problematic, especially in preschool. Therefore, this study investigated teachers' perceptions of including children with autism in a mainstream preschool. The objectives of this study were: 1) to determine the attitudes of teachers towards inclusive education 2) to identify the knowledge and skills of pre-school teachers regarding inclusive education 3) to identify the barriers and challenges in implementing inclusive education in pre-school 4) to investigate the reasons behind the non-acceptance of preschool teachers on having children with autism in their classes. Data were collected using a structured interview. Three pre-school teachers in Selangor agreed to participate in this study. The interviews were transcribed text verbatim and information was analyzed by identifying relevant themes. The findings showed that the teachers were not prepared to teach children with autism in their class because they did not know the characteristics of children with autism and did not understand the importance of inclusive education. In conclusion, the practice of inclusive education in pre-school is yet to be implemented successfully due to some constraints experienced by teachers and lack of support in the environment.

Full Text: PDF DOI: 10.5539/ass.v9n12p261

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Asian Social Science   ISSN 1911-2017 (Print)   ISSN 1911-2025 (Online)

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