The Use of Professional Development to Enhance Education of Students with Autism: A Systematic Review

Linda Petersson-Bloom, Emma Leifler, Mona Holmqvist

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The study objective in this article was to present the state-of-the-art on teachers’ professional development to enhance educational quality for students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in primary and secondary education. A systematic review was conducted, following the PRISMA guidelines. Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods studies were eligible for inclusion. Fifteen studies were identified and summarized. To identify the eligibility criteria, we applied the SPIDER framework. Quality appraisal was applied using the MMAT. A thematic summary and narrative synthesis of the included studies was conducted to establish a comprehensive understanding of what makes a difference in preparation for teachers of autistic students. Two key factors were found regarding the design of professional development for teachers to enhance their skills to teach autistic students. Firstly, teachers’ developed autism-specific knowledge, and secondly, the need for practice-based training with a focus on the challenges teachers meet at their own schools. Multiple ways of addressing teachers’ need for professional development regarding autistic students may further contribute to inclusive values and actions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number966
JournalEducation Sciences
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2023-Sept-21

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Educational Sciences (503)


  • autism spectrum disorders
  • development disorders
  • disabilities
  • education
  • professional development
  • special education


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