Early Childhood Special Educator Of Children With Autism

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The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological research study is to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be an early childhood special educator of children with autism. At this stage in the research, the early childhood special educator will be generally defined as a licensed preschool teacher who works with toddlers and other young learners with mild to severe disabilities, including children with autism. The early childhood special education teacher should hold at least a bachelor 's degree and some amount of approved professional training in special education, typically gained by completing a four-year early childhood teaching program with a concentration in special education and practical classroom training. My personal interest in conducting this research began four years ago while I was working as a general education kindergarten teacher in my hometown of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. I had completed my Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education there, and had been teaching for two years in a private school that only offered a general education program. During that time, I quite often experienced students with undiagnosed special needs in my classroom, such as reading delays, slow processing speed, dyslexia, speech delays, social and behavioral challenges, etc., and I was deeply troubled by my lack of training and knowledge of how to meet their needs. If the school determined that these students had disabilities, they would have to be sent to a separate school that specialized in teaching children with special needs. At that time, Saudi Arabia was one of a number of countries in the world that still required all students with disabilities to receive their education in separate schools. However, after ove... ... middle of paper ... ... best prepared them, and how they cope with the physical and emotional stress of their work. Ultimately, I hope to encourage the ministry of education to consider the many benefits of early intervention services for children with autism and to enact reform towards this end. In addition, I hope that higher institutions will recognize that there is a dire need for these services, and will begin to offer specialized teacher preparation programs to students like myself who are interested in working with young children with autism. Because of my need to interact with, observe, and hold detailed discussions with early childhood special education teachers in order to better understand the essence of what they think, feel, experience, and do on an everyday basis in the classroom, I feel that a qualitative phenomenological research approach is best suited for this endeavor.
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