Publication Details

Webster, A. & Wilkinson, J. (2015). Leading school communities to implement a sustainable school-wide model leading to enhancing learning outcomes for students with ASD. Special Education Perspectives, 24 (1), 27-37.


The crucial role of school leaders in inclusive schools for students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has received more attention in recent years. A pilot study was conducted in three Australian/Queensland schools to trial a shared model of school leadership in implementing a whole school approach for students with ASD. Schools established an ASD leadership team, which was headed up by the school principal and head of special education (HOSE) but also included a classroom teacher, and a parent of a child with ASD. Together the principal and HOSE led the team in assessing their current practices and establishing an action plan to establish effective practices for students with ASD at a whole school, classroom and individual student level. Findings indicate that the active engagement of the principal in leading the vision and development of inclusive practices was essential to empowering the HOSE to become an instructional leader in the school. In addition, the partnership between the principal and head of special education were important in helping the principal to gain knowledge and skills in effective practice for students with ASD, and to position the HOSE to create effective instructional practices throughout the school for students with ASD.