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More students with High Functioning Autism (HFA) are in inclusive settings than ever before. The physical combination of students with autism and their typical peers alone, is insufficient to address the social deficits of students with autism. While evidence-based practices (EBPs) for social skills exist, these practices are not being implemented routinely in public schools. A mixed-methods study was conducted to identify barriers to the implementation of EBPs for social skills for students with HFA in early elementary inclusive settings. Thirty-three (n=33) district inclusion related elementary school stakeholders completed a survey created to examine the barriers to the implementation of EBPs for social skills. Qualitative data collection methods included an open-ended survey question, a focus group (n=12 of the 33 survey respondents), semi-structured interviews, and researcher field notes. Training, time, support, prioritization, materials, and staff mind-set were the top six barriers to the successful implementation of EBPs for social skills as identified by elementary inclusion stakeholders. The barriers could be summarized into three key ingredients needed to successfully implement EBPs for social skills: support, preparation, and motivation. The identification of barriers is considered the first step in bridging the gap between research and practice within inclusion school settings.
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