Publication Date



Open access

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Psychology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Michael Alessandri

Second Committee Member

Heather Henderson

Third Committee Member

Craig Marker

Fourth Committee Member

Michael Cuccaro


For more than two decades, special education teacher shortages and attrition have concerned policymakers and administrators who work to recruit and retain special educators. It is imperative, therefore, to investigate the possible causes underlying the decision of special educators to leave the field. The aim of this current study was to explore teacher commitment to model philosophy and burnout across two well-established preschool treatment models for children with ASD: TEACCH (Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication-Handicapped Children) and LEAP (Learning Experiences and Alternative Program for Preschoolers and their Parents). Additionally, these constructs were explored in Business As Usual (BAU) classroom models. Results indicated that LEAP teachers were significantly more committed to LEAP philosophy and practice relative to the TEACCH and BAU teachers and TEACCH teachers were not significantly more committed to TEACCH philosophy relative to the LEAP and BAU teachers. Additionally, BAU teachers are not significantly more committed to either LEAP or TEACCH, but do share commitment to both classroom approaches. Lastly, post hoc analyses provided support for a quadratic relationship between teacher commitment and aspects of teacher burnout. Implications for school districts and teachers working within the field of special education are discussed.


Autism Spectrum Disorders; Teacher Commitment; Teacher Burnout; Fidelity Of Implementation; Preschool Comprehensive Treatment Programs