Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Special Education

Major Professor

Brinda L Walker, Ph.D., J.D.

Committee Member

Sarah Van Ingen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Karen Colucci, Ph.D.

Committee Member

LaSonya L. Moor, Ph.D.


Professional development, implementation, teachers’ preparation, training


The concept of evidence-based practices (EBP) for students with autism refers to a set of practices that were established based on research evidence that proved their effectiveness in helping improve functional and academic skills for children who have autism (Wong et al., 2015). Vision 2030 is an ambitious plan by the Ministry of Education in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). The ministry has published a new executive framework for the reform of teacher preparation programs (Planning and Development Agency, 2018). This reform is aimed at improving the quality of special educators, through the modernization of teacher preparation programs by focusing on the use of the EBPs that have been globally implemented with marked success.The first aim of this study was to explore Saudi special education teachers’ perspectives on the use of EBPs with school-aged students with autism. The second aim of this study was to gain a deeper understanding of the current practices that teachers are using with students with autism. These aims were explored through the use of a qualitative research design, involving seven semi-structured interviews with special education teachers as the primary source of data. Additionally, 105 survey responses were obtained to gather additional descriptive data to measure the frequency of the use of each of the 27 EBPs. Within the findings, six major themes emerged from the thematic analysis examining the teachers’ perspectives on the use of EBPs: 1) issues of confusion; 2) issues of learning and preparation; 3) issues of implementation; 4) issues of cooperation; 5) other practices; and 6) methods of learning. The participants shared comparable experiences but also unique perspectives regarding EBPs and the other practices they have implemented with their students. The findings demonstrate that there is room for improvement. It is also important to reconsider professional development and pre-service preparation programs to keep up with the new trends emerging in teaching students with special needs.