Rebekah Bush—Newton College (Peru)
This study explores the education of young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) within the framework of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP). A mixed methods approach was used, including a literature review, teacher interviews, and classroom observations involving 42 educators across eight IB schools in five Latin American countries. The researcher concluded that due to the extensive range of teaching styles and strategies which may be implemented within the context of the PYP, this model can support the education of young children with autism. The potential barriers related to educating this population of students are largely unrelated to the PYP framework. Furthermore, it was found that despite teachers’ perceptions that they lack autism-specific professional development and sufficient knowledge of practical strategies for teaching children with ASD, the majority of teachers had very positive attitudes towards educating students with ASD within the PYP framework. The findings from this small-scale study suggest that further support for teachers of children with ASD—including, professional development related to autism-specific strategies, a coaching model during the implementation phase of classroom interventions, and increased opportunities for collaboration—would increase teacher confidence and competence, and support the optimal development of children with ASD within PYP settings.