An Investigative study to Explore Teachers` Attitude Towards the Inclusion of Learners on the Autism Spectrum Disorder and Learners with Meares Irlen Syndrome in Private Schools in the UAE

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
"The fundamental purpose of this research paper was to investigate teachers` attitude towards the inclusion of students with Autism and Meares Irlen Syndrome in four private schools in the UAE through studying their understanding of the main features, characteristics and classroom arrangements for each case. It also explored teachers` readiness to include students with these two cases in regular classes in addition to identifying some preconceived ideas about both cases. The research adopted a mixed method approach. It utilized three research tools. The first one was an online survey that was designed for the purpose of this research, reflective responses written by teachers of students with Autism and MIS to explore their views of their teaching experience, and the third tool was a group of semi-structured interviews with staff members in special education department to explore the support these departments offer to the teachers of ASD and MIS students to achieve a successful inclusion. A total number of 117 teachers took part in the online survey and 13 teachers reflected on their teaching experience of students with Autism and MIS in addition to four interviews. Over all, the online survey revealed that the publicity of Autism over MIS increased teachers` awareness of ASD than MIS and raised the number of teachers who had a training in Autism than those who had a training in MIS, however, the data also illustrated that teachers are still in need of formal trainings to improve their self - efficacy. The data illustrated that there is a significant difference between teachers` prior knowledge of MIS and their awareness of its characteristics from one side and between their previous teaching experience from the other side. Further, teachers` training and previous experience influenced their readiness to teach an ASD student and teachers` ignorance of MIS made some of them believe that the inclusion of MIS students is harder than ASD. As for the reflective questions, the majority of participants were positive to the concept of inclusion, however, they called for additional support and training that would enhance the implementation of inclusive education. Finally, the support offered by the special education departments need to meet teachers` expectations. "
teachers` attitude, inclusion, autism, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Meares Irlen Syndrome (MIS), inclusive education, special education