Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Teaching and Learning (Education)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Elizabeth Harry

Second Committee Member

Michael Alessandri

Third Committee Member

Batya Elbaum

Fourth Committee Member

Jannifer Langer-Osuna


The call for high quality teacher implementation of evidence-based practice (EBP) through legislation and the increase in the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) creates a need for researchers and educational stakeholders to produce more effective professional development programs for teachers of young children with ASD. Video analysis has been used as a method for familiarizing teachers with students’ diverse approaches to learning. As a need for more specialized training in using data to guide instruction for young children with ASD has been indicated, this research examines potential learning outcomes for teachers during the use of classroom video observation. Specifically, this qualitative study explored the application of a Structured Observation Guide (SOG) to help improve teachers’ observation skills in social responsiveness of preschool students with ASD. Further, this dissertation analyzed observational and interview data surrounding teachers’ use of structured and unstructured video observation. Findings indicated that during unstructured video observation, teachers have a tendency to observe a pattern of immediate thoughts, personal reflection, and the formation of generalizations. Further, the unstructured observational content mainly focused on ASD characteristics and instructional critique, as opposed to the SOG observational content of identifying and reflecting on specific social tendencies. Although teachers believed both video observational approaches promoted reflection, encouraged knowing the student, and were more beneficial than live observations, participants found the SOG to improve focus, reduce bias, and increase reflection rooted in video data. Despite technical issues affecting usability, the SOG was noted as being an effective professional development tool that encouraged the integration of data into instructional reflections.


Professional development; Early childhood special education; Autism Spectrum Disorder; Video analysis; Social responsiveness; Structured observation