Abstract

Extensive work has been undertaken in North America on effective practices in early childhood education, early childhood special education, and autism-specific interventions. Much of this work, however, has not been disseminated in teacher-friendly ways nor has it been translated into useable formats that support teacher uptake and incorporation into everyday classroom practice. The research presented here drew on practice literature from North America and a Design-Based Research approach to produce a Model of Practice (MoP) for Australian classroom teachers working with students on the autism spectrum in their first year of primary school. This practice model aims to support pedagogical decision making in relation to the effective and inclusive education of this student cohort. Iterative cycles of design involving generation of educational practices from the literature, content validation by experts, and social validation by classroom teachers were undertaken. These cycles were guided by MoP design principles and resulted in a prototype Early Years Model of Practice (EY-MoP) comprising 29 empirically-supported practices, which were highly endorsed by Australian teachers. The field testing of the EY-MoP should provide preliminary evidence of the applicability of this tool in Australian early years classrooms.

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