Perspectives of children with autism spectrum disorder and parents of the transition from primary to secondary school

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Abstract

Perspectives of children with autism spectrum disorder and parents of the transition from primary to secondary school

Internationally, most education systems involve a move between primary and post-primary stages. This transition can be viewed as a significant life event for children, parents/carers and other family members, offering both opportunities and challenges. For children with additional support needs the move from primary to secondary school may be a time of potential risk. Therefore, it is important to understand the risk and protective factors, at the levels of the child, family and environment, during this period of transition. The international drive towards more inclusive educational practices has led to greater interest in listening to the views of key stakeholders and developing appropriate methodologies. Furthermore, listening to the views of a range of stakeholders provides a more holistic picture. This paper presents the findings from a small-scale study in one local authority in Scotland into the perspectives of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their parents during the transition from primary to secondary school. The findings drew on data from a larger study that involved the development, implementation and evaluation of a transition programme that complemented the local authority’s transition arrangements. The study employed a longitudinal design with the aim of exploring children’s and parents’ perspectives of transition. A sample (n=9) of children was purposively selected from the population of all pupils with a diagnosis of ASD, attending the last year of a mainstream primary in two quadrants of the city, and eligible to transfer to a mainstream secondary school. Children’s and parents’ perspectives on the move from primary to secondary school were gathered at three time-points using different methods. Aspects of transition explored included expectations and experiences; feelings associated with the move; and the support provided. Pre-transfer, children and parents completed questionnaires; two months following the transfer they participated in a group activity; and six months following the transfer they participated in semi-structured interviews. Findings are discussed in the context of previous transitions research and theoretical perspectives (resilience and ecological systems). Implications for educational policy and practice are considered.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2017
EventPromoting Inclusion Transforming Lives (PITL) International Conference 2017 - University of Dundee, Dalhousie Building, Dundee, United Kingdom
Duration: 14 Jun 201716 Jun 2017
http://pitl.org.uk (Link to Conference website)

Conference

ConferencePromoting Inclusion Transforming Lives (PITL) International Conference 2017
Abbreviated titlePITL 2017
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityDundee
Period14/06/1716/06/17
Internet address

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