Parent-Teacher Communication about Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: An Examination of Collaborative Problem-Solving

Effective parent-teacher communication involves problem-solving concerns about students. Few studies have examined problem solving interactions between parents and teachers of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), with a particular focus on identifying communication barriers and strategies for improving them. This study examined the problem-solving behaviors of parents and teachers of children with ASD. Participants included 18 teachers and 39 parents of children with ASD. Parent-teacher dyads were prompted to discuss and provide a solution for a problem that a student experienced at home and at school. Parents and teachers also reported on their problem-solving behaviors. Results showed that parents and teachers displayed limited use of the core elements of problem-solving. Teachers displayed more problem-solving behaviors than parents. Both groups reported engaging in more problem-solving behaviors than they were observed to display during their discussions. Our findings suggest that teacher and parent training programs should include collaborative approaches to problem-solving.

Keywords: autism; autism spectrum disorder; parent-teacher communication; problem-solving.