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An exploration of extracurricular clubs for building the 21st century skills of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Hall, Laura J.
Smith, Deborah D.Kraemer, Bonnie K.
Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) experience a wide range of deficits in social communication that directly impact their post-school employment outcomes, and there are a growing number of these students being taught in inclusionary settings at public high schools. In order to improve outcomes for this group of students with ASD who are educated largely outside of special education classrooms, a focus on building their 21st century skill competencies should be considered. This exploratory, mixed-methods research looks at the opportunities that exist for high school students with ASD to practice 21st century skills, including social communication, during extracurricular clubs, utilizing the Framework for 21st Century Learning’s “4 C’s” (collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking) an operational and theoretical guide. Data were collected through a mixed methods approach that included surveys of special educators and club advisors, observations of clubs in which students with ASD participated, and interviews with students with ASD who were themselves members of clubs at their schools. Findings indicate that extracurricular club settings are rich contexts in which all participating students, including those with ASD, have opportunities to practice 21st century skills, especially communication. Implications for both practitioner response and future research related to this topic are extended according to the results. Keywords: autism spectrum disorder, high school, social communication, 21st century skills, college and career readiness, extracurricular activities, clubs, employability skills, social skills, Framework for 21st Century Learning, mixed methods
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Claremont Graduate University and San Diego State University, 2017
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