As the rates of diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) increase and more students with ASD are enrolled in mainstream schools, educators face many challenges in teaching and managing social and behavioural development while ensuring academic success for all students. This descriptive, qualitative study, embedded within an inclusive pedagogical approach, draws on a purposive sample of 13 elementary school teachers who have experience in teaching children with ASD within two cities in Ontario, Canada. Through in-depth interviews researchers asked about teachers’ strategies for creating an inclusive environment within their classroom. Teachers had several recommendations for successfully including children with ASD in mainstream classrooms including:
1) advocating for resources and essential training;
2) tailored teaching methods;
3) teamwork within the school;
4) building a rapport with parents and students; and
5) building a climate of acceptance within the classroom through disability awareness, education and sensitivity training.
In conclusion, teachers need to use several strategies and have appropriate training and resources to optimise the successful inclusion of children with ASD.