Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP, Chair, Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Jessica Glass-Kendorski, PhD, NCSP, BCBA-D, Chairperson

Second Advisor

Yuma Tomes, PhD, ABA

Third Advisor

Nina Burleigh, PhD


This study explored teachers’ knowledge of the causes, characteristics, assessment, and treatments of autism spectrum disorder. This study also examined teachers’ experiences and perceptions of the causality of the disorder. Research questions included whether special-education teachers possessed more accurate knowledge of the disorder and if experience (professional and/or personal) with autism led to more internal causes of autism spectrum disorder. One hundred seventy-two educators who self-identified as a general educator, special educator, paraprofessional, or academic specialist completed a 24-question survey pertaining to the topic. Results showed that, although special educators scored significantly higher on their knowledge questions as compared to the other three roles, general scores were low in terms of the participants’ knowledge about the disorder. In terms of causality, no relationship was found between experience, training level, and perception of causality of autism spectrum disorder. School psychologists and other related service providers should consider collaborating to create a professional development and training for staff in their schools to address the lack of knowledge and help aid in the understanding of characteristics and interventions.