ERG SES E 08, Special Education
The current national and international trend of inclusive schooling has resulted in the proliferation of pupils with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) attending mainstream schools. Inclusion is defined by UNESCO (2005) as a process concerned with the identification and removal of barriers to education. UNESCO advocates a rights based approach to education, based upon the principles of equality, inclusion and access to free, quality education in terms of content and processes. Recent research has questioned the effectiveness of inclusion and highlighted many barriers to inclusion being achieved. Definitional inconsistencies and varied outcomes have led to inclusion becoming a highly contested and complex concept in many countries (Allan, 2010; Ferguson, 2008; Graham & Slee, 2007). Despite many policy developments and subsequent legislation addressing inclusive education, inclusive practices have failed to become firmly embedded in Irish schools. The belief that pupils with special educational needs (SEN) will benefit from their inclusion in mainstream schools has been challenged, as issues and challenges surrounding the benefits of inclusive policies on the academic and social outcomes for pupils with SEN still remain (McCoy & Banks, 2012).
In Ireland, parents are recognised as the primary educators of their children (Ireland, 1937). The important role of parents in the education of their children with SEN has been acknowledged in successive policy documents and statements published in recent years. (EPSEN Act, 2004; NCSE, 2015; UNESCO, 1994).
This research describes the attitudes and experiences of mainstream schooling for pupils on the ASD spectrum and relevant stakeholders. In total, 134 stakeholders participated in the school-based data collection phases (3-7) from January 2013 to September 2015. Three data sets were purposively sampled to carry out the research aims and objectives. The first data set consisted of parents that were recruited from an online posting on autism support websites, requesting suitable candidates to participate during phase 1 of this research. The pilot study was conducted in Phase 2. The second data set consisted of eight mainstream primary schools in Leinster with access to an ASD special class. These schools completed questionnaires in phase three. Four schools were then selected for in-depth analysis in the subsequent phases of the research. A multiple embedded case study describes the experiences of inclusion for thirteen primary pupils with ASD across four primary schools (Yin, 2009). This research centred around the following research questions:
- What are the attitudes to and experiences of inclusion for pupils with ASD attending mainstream primary school and relevant stakeholders?
- What facilitates inclusive practices in school?
- What are the challenges or barriers to inclusive practices in school?
- What are the experiences of transition and transfer?
- What is the evidence of best practice in the case study schools?
- Can you design your 'ideal school' for pupils with ASD?
This research is underpinned by constructivist principles that inform and guide the research design, the chosen methods of data collection, data analysis procedures and the recording and presentation of research findings. There is no single, absolute truth, as this research acknowledges the multiple realities that can be experienced by various pupils with ASD in their respective school environments (Denzin & Lincoln, 2011). The parsimonious Bronfenbrenner Model (1994) provides a suitable theoretical framework to investigate the processes of teaching, learning and transition, and to describe the various levels of engagement and participation experienced by pupils with ASD at different phases of their schooling. These processes are analysed within the context of each school, community and home environment. The triangulated viewpoints of case study participants will give greater insights to the attitudes and experiences of inclusion for pupils with ASD and relevant stakeholders.
Ainscow, M. (2014) From Special Education to Effective Schools for All: Widening the Agenda. In. L. Florian (Ed.). The SAGE Handbook of Special Education 2nd Edition volume 1 (171-186). Thousand Oaks, California: Sage. Beresford, B., Tozer, R., Rabiee, P., & Sloper, P. (2007). Desired Outcomes for Children and Adolescents with Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Children & Society, 21, 4-16. Booth, T. & Ainscow, M. (2011). Index for Inclusion. Developing learning and participation in schools. Bristol: CSIE. Booth, T. and Ainscow, M. (1998). From Them to Us: An international study of inclusion in education. London: Routledge. Denzin, N.K. & Lincoln, Y.S. (Eds.). (2011). The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, California: Sage. Frederickson, N., Jones, A.P. & Lang, J. (2010). "Inclusive provision options for pupils on the autistic spectrum." Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs 10(2): 63-73. Guldberg, K. (2010). "Educating children on the autism spectrum: preconditions for inclusion and notions of 'best autism practice' in the early years." British Journal of Special Education, 37(4): 168-174. Hodkinson, A. (2010). Inclusive and special education in the English educational system: historical perspectives, recent developments and future challenges." British Journal of Special Education, 37(2): 61-67. Humphrey, N. (2008). Including pupils with autistic spectrum disorders in mainstream schools. Support for Learning, 23(1), 41-47. Jones, G., English, A., Guldberg, K., Jordan, R., Richardson, P., & Waltz, M. (2008). Educational provision for children and young people on the autism spectrum living in England. London: AET. McCoy, S. & Banks, J. (2012). Simply academic? Why children with special educational needs don't like school. European Journal of Special Needs Education, vol.27, no.1, pp.81-97. Miles, M.B. & Huberman, A.M. (1994). Qualitative Data Analysis (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, California: Sage. Parsons, S., Guldberg, K., MacLeod, A., and Jones, G. (2009). International review of the literature of evidence of best practice provision in the education of persons with autistic spectrum disorders. Dublin: NCSE Rose, R., Shevlin, M., Winter, E. & O’Raw, P. (2010). Special and inclusive education in the Republic of Ireland: reviewing the literature from 2000 to 2009. European Journal of Special Needs Education, vol.25, no.4 , pp.47-63. Slee, R. (2001). "'Inclusion in Practice': does practice make perfect?" Educational Review, 53(2): 113-123. Warnock, M. (2010) Special Educational Needs: A New Look. In: Terzi, L. (ed.) Special Educational Needs A New Look. London: Continuum, pp.11-45. Yin, R.K. (2003). Case Study Research (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, California: Sage.
- 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.