ERG SES C 10, Health and Education
Following national and international examinations of literacy skills among young people in Ireland, the Department of Education and Skills (DES, 2011) launched a strategy ‘Literacy and Numeracy For Learning and Life (2011-2020)’. It’s sole objective is to raise the literacy and numeracy outcomes of children and young people including those with special educational needs.
Conceptual and theoretical understanding of ‘literacy’ has evolved rapidly in the last century and definitions are notably different from country to country (UNESCO, 2006). Being ‘literate’ now includes skills across fields such as science, media, ICT and visual arts. This growth mind-set of ‘literacy’ also locates it in a significant world economic view where the application of skills, move from technical literacy to critical literacy.
The Irish government in responding to diversity and the significantly increased prevalence rates of autism have established ASD units within mainstream settings and as a result have created environmental phenomena. These social, physical, spiritual, emotional and intellectual classrooms/institutions are ‘created/stabilised by the actions of it’s participants’ (Silverman, 2013, p. 114). This new phenomenon, through the lens of a ‘late modernity’ perspective, exemplifies the reactive measures of society to provide structure and agency for a rapidly changing educational landscape (Beck, Giddens, & Lash, 1994). This, Giddens (1999) and Beck (1992) assert is ‘risk management’ and requires ‘reflexivity’. They emphasise the importance of going beyond basic analysis and discourse and theorise that the agents become active, creative and reflective reality-seekers (Jones, Bradbury, & Le Boutillier, 2011).
Lanter et.al. (2012:309) determine that ‘few studies have examined emergent literacy skill development in young children with ASD’. A key finding of empirical and expert research (Parsons et al., 2009:6) suggests that additional research is needed ‘on the impact of specific educational settings and interventions across a range of ages and subgroups within autism. Specifically, they call for ‘urgent focused research attention’ on educational practices in ASD specific settings and how they ‘operate and their influence on individual outcomes’.
In this age of accountability and fiscal recession the Teaching Council of Ireland (2012) has set out a ‘Code Of Professional Conduct For Teachers’ that determines the use of reflection to inform and advance their professional practice. The Teaching Council (2012:8) specifically identifies the professional development of teachers and states that the teacher should ‘take responsibility for sustaining and improving the quality of their professional practice’. Teachers are accountable for the advancement of pupil ability and potential.
This research project ‘An Exploration of Literacy Skills Development among Pupils with ASD in an Irish Context’ is engaging practicing teachers in reflecting on effective interventions to advance key literacy skills of their pupils. It provides an exploration of pedagogical approaches to teaching literacy to pupils with ASD. A key question within the research is, ‘How is literacy development supported for pupils with ASD in special classes attached to mainstream primary schools?’
This paper seeks to present emerging data from this research project. It will evidence the interpretations of ‘literacy’ from parents and teachers of pupils with a diagnosis of Autism. Primarily it will compare the expectations parents have of their child’s literacy potential with national and international policy on ‘literacy’. Secondly it will present a snapshot of the phenomenon of teaching literacy to pupils with ASD in the ‘real-life’ context from classroom observations. This paper will provide a unique opportunity for research practitioners to consider their role in supporting parents and teachers to evolve their expectations and add to the debate on raising literacy levels and achieving realistic national targets for pupils with autism.
Bibliography Beck, U. (1992). Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity. New Delhi: Sage. Beck, U., Giddens, A., & Lash, S. (1994). Reflexive Modernisation. CA: Stanford University Press. Creswell, J. (2008). Education Research: Planning, Conducting and Evaluating Quanitiative and Qualitative Research (3 ed.). Australia: Pearson International. Crotty, M. (1998). The Foundations of Social Research. London: Sage Publication. Giddens, A. (1999). Risk and Responsibility. The Modern Law Review, 62(1), 1-10. Ireland, G. O. (2011). Literacy and Numeracy for Learning and Life: The National Strategy to Improve Literacy and Numeracy among Children and Young People 2011-2020. Dublin: Department Of Education and Skills. Ireland, T. C. o. (2012). The Code Of Professional Conduct For Teachers. Dublin: Teaching Council Of Ireland. Jones, P., Bradbury, L., & Le Boutillier, S. (2011). Introducing Social Theory (2 ed.). Great Britain: Polity. Kumar, R. (2014). Research Methodology: A step-by-step guide for beginners. London: Sage. Lanter, E., Watson, L., Erickson, K. A., & Freeman, D. (2012). Emergent Literacy in Children with Autism: An Exploration of Developmental and Contextual Dymanic Processes. Language Speech and Hearing Services in Schools, 43(July), 308-324. Merriam, S. (1998). Qualitative Research and Case Study Application in Education. San Francisco: Jossey- Bass Education Series. Palaiologou, I. (2012). Child Observation For The Early Years (2nd ed.). London: Sage. Parsons, S., Gulberg, K., MacLeod, A., Jones, G., Prunty, A., & Balfe, T. (2009). International Review of Literature of Evidence of Best Practice Provision in Education of Persons With Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Trim: National Council For Special Education. Silverman, D. (2013). Doing Qualitative Research (4th ed.). London: Sage. UNESCO, U. N. E., Scientific and Cultural Organisation (2006). Education For All: Global Monitoring Report. from http://www.unesco.org/education/GMR2006/full/chapt6_eng.pdf
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.