This promising practice explores the use of young adult literature as a supplement to texts in an undergraduate introduction to a special education course. Literature portraying adolescent characters with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) were used to build schema of preservice teachers. Participants' knowledge and attitudes about ASD were examined before and after reading a young adult novel of their choice. Results indicated that students in the literature group out-performed peers in the control group on measures of ASD content. Exemplars of students' responses suggested students who read the novel expressed increased knowledge and interest, recognition of commonalities, and complex and nuanced views of ASD. Participant satisfaction with reading the novels outside of class was also high, suggesting students found the authentic literacy experience enjoyable.
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