Educators Describe the “Best Things” About Students with Autism at School
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This study examined educators' descriptions of the positive character traits of students with autism spectrum disorder at ages 7-8 and 10-11, using an adapted version of the Values in Action (VIA) Classification of Strengths. The most commonly endorsed strengths at both age intervals were kindness, specific skills, self-regulation, and perseverance. Higher scores for challenging behavior were associated with a lower likelihood of endorsement for Happiness and Courage traits. Higher autism symptom severity scores were associated with a lower likelihood of endorsement for Courage traits. Few significant differences were found for endorsement of trait categories by students' educational placement or the type of curriculum they received. Results may have implications for student-teacher relationships, educational assessments, and school-based interventions that emphasize strengths and resilience.
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