Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership


Educational Leadership and Curriculum

First Reader/Committee Chair

Sumbera, Becky


There is a problem when inclusion is broken in our communities and in our schools while preliminary teachers call out for more preparation for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) inclusion in their credential programs (Bryant, 2018; Busby et al., 2012; Finch et al., 2013; Loiacono & Valenti, 2010; Morgan, 2015; Robertson et al., 2003; Walters, 2012). The purpose of this study is to explore the framing of ASD inclusion by professors of multiple and single subject preliminary teacher candidates. At this stage in the research, the framing of inclusion is defined as a pre-conscious sensemaking of inclusion for individuals with ASD in a general education teacher credential program drawing upon principles of public relations. Data were collected using a qualitative single embedded intrinsic case study design employing focus groups, document review and external scoring to a frame scale. Themes that arose included human interest and proposed solutions, with increasing specificity to ASD, and social construction following reframing. Practical implications from this study include meaningful understanding and support for professors who prepare preliminary teacher candidates.

Keywords: public relations, inclusion, autism, Autism Spectrum Disorder education, diversity, equity, social justice, CRT, framing theory, strategic communication, professor, higher education, disability studies, universal design for learning, case study.