Early childhood teachers’ beliefs and practices about the inclusion of children with Autism in Jamaica
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In view of the need for more cross-sectional studies in different socio-geographical contexts to investigate teachers’ perceptions regarding inclusion, the present study sets to explore early childhood teachers’ attitudes towards inclusion in a context where research on this topic is limited; Kingston, Jamaica. The target group consisted of nine (N=9) early childhood teachers working with children with Autism in an established pre-primary inclusive setting. Teachers’ qualitative responses, elicited through semi-structured interviews, were analysed through Content Analysis. Results showed that teachers generally uphold positive beliefs towards inclusion. A key theme that emerged from the data is that in-service training and teaching experience positively influence practices and beliefs as well as differentiated instruction. This study makes theoretical and practical educational contributions. The research provides an understanding of inclusion in Jamaica and contributes to the limited body of literature available on Autism in the country. In practice, this study contributes to policy decision-making in the attempt of facilitating greater in-service training within early childhood institutions in order to develop the skills of educators and facilitate greater inclusive principles.