Special Education Teachers' Attitudes toward Autistic Students in the Autism School in the State of Kuwait: A Case Study

Article excerpt

In this study, the purpose was to examine Kuwaiti special education teachers' attitudes toward autistic students in the Autism School in Kuwait. This research study is divided into two parts: Introduction (the problem statement, the purpose statement, the research questions, definition of terms), and Procedures (using a case study in research, the role of the researcher, data collection procedures, methods for verification, outcome of the study and relation to theory and the literature). The researcher analyzed data from interviews of two special education teachers who work in the Autism School in Kuwait.

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The Autism School was established in 1999 in the State of Kuwait (Kuwait) for children with autism. This school provides the appropriate educational programs for autistic children who depend on individualized learning settings and goals. Teachers try to give children the skills needed so that they can survive in society once they leave the school (KMOE, 2001). Currently, there are twenty boys enrolled in this school. This research study investigates special education teachers' attitudes toward autistic students within the Autism School in Kuwait.

Statement of the Problem

Because of the lack of the research on autism in Kuwait and in particular among school-aged children, this study is of significant importance. The researcher focused on special education teachers who work directly with autistic children in the Autism School in Kuwait. Currently the Kuwaiti universities which prepare future teachers lack courses and curricula to help pre-service and in-service special teachers understand issues related to autism. Teachers, therefore, may be ill-prepared to teach students with autism in Kuwait.

Statement of the Purpose

This research study has three goals: (1) to discover Kuwaiti special education teachers' attitudes toward students with autism, (2) to update and educate Kuwaiti special education teachers with regard to autism, (3) to suggest recommendations for the future. All three purposes of the study are discussed in detail in the following paragraphs.

First, this research study addresses selected special education teachers' attitudes in the Autism School in Kuwait to learn about their opinions towards students with autism.

Second, this research study updates the existing literature concerning students with autism in the field of special education in Kuwait and gives information for all Kuwaiti special education teachers, university faculties, and policy makers in the Kuwait Ministry of Education.

Third, if recommendations of this research study are approved by the Kuwait Ministry of Education, then all Kuwaiti universities will improve their education curricula to include special education programs for in-service and pre-service teachers who plan to work with students with autism. It is the researcher's hope that Kuwait will develop and improve its special education programs regarding autism as a result of this study and its recommendations.

The Grand Tour Question and Sub-questions

In order to answer the statement of the problem, the following open ended questions need to be addressed to teachers in the Autism School:

1. What is your overall feeling toward students with autism in your school?

2. What do you think affects your attitude towards students with autism?

3. What subject or skills do you teach students with autism in the Autism School?

Definitions

The following four terms are used in this research study: (1) the Autism School, (2) attitude, (3) a case study, (4) and students with autism. All terms are defined below.

Kuwait Autism School:

A school for autism was established in 1999 in Kuwait to provide special educational programs for children with autism in an individual learning environment with individual goals that meet their needs. …