Graduation Date


Document Type

Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Department or Program Chair

Elizabeth Truesdell, PhD

First Reader

Madalienne F. Peters, EdD


Though laws relating to including children on the autism spectrum and general education in public school settings are in place, inclusion of students is still not a widespread practice in all elementary classrooms. This study examines the social needs of children with autism and in an inclusive classroom. Children with autism are often placed in separate classrooms in the elementary school. This study examines the positive social behaviors that come from having children with autism in an inclusive elementary classroom. Questions for this research are as follows: What are useful methods to enhance social behavior of autistic students in an inclusive classroom? How does the emphasis on all positive social behavior affect all students in an inclusive classroom? A review of the literature reveals specific approaches to enhance social behavior of autistic students in an inclusive classroom are effective. The research also supports that all students benefit in the area of social development in an inclusive classroom with a focus on positive social behavior. This study follows a qualitative approach by selecting and interviewing teachers on their experiences in instructing students in positive social behavior in an inclusive classroom. These teachers were purposely selected to participate in individual 30-minute interviews because they have experience with teaching autistic students. Results indicated that there are many useful methods that teachers can use to enhance the social behaviors of autistic students in an inclusion classroom. Additionally, having autistic students in an inclusive classroom is beneficial for the autistic student and the general education students.