The Spectrum of Inclusive Practice for Pupils with Autism Attending Mainstream Primary Schools
Citation:MCELROY, COLIN, The Spectrum of Inclusive Practice for Pupils with Autism Attending Mainstream Primary Schools, Trinity College Dublin.School of Education, 2019
ColinMcElroyPhD-FINAL-Hardbound-pdf.pdf (PDF) 4.984Mb
The experiences and attitudes of inclusion for pupils with autism attending mainstream primary schools and relevant stakeholders in Leinster were ascertained through the use of questionnaires, interviews, focus groups, visual methodology and documentary analysis. Eight primary schools participated in this research and each school had access to a special class for pupils with autism. This study looked at the impact of inclusive policies on the provision of supports and services for pupils with autism and their overall learning and social experiences in each school. The findings of this research highlight many positive elements of good practice in each school. It was apparent throughout this research that professionals in schools were committed to enhancing the learning and social experiences for pupils with autism. The importance of positive home-school relationships was identified, as positive relationships greatly influenced the outcomes for young children with autism. The majority of teachers, principals and SNAs would like to see more opportunities regarding continuous professional development to accommodate the diverse needs of pupils presenting in schools on the autism spectrum. Evidence in this study highlighted inconsistencies in practice and mixed experiences for all stakeholders across each school environment. Findings from this study suggest that schools are working within a policy vacuum that is negatively impacting on the learning and social experiences for pupils with autism. In this research, the majority of parents had difficulty accessing adequate clinical and educational supports. Many parents do not have access to a special class in their locality, which can cause isolation and loneliness for their children locally. Most schools had exclusionary clauses in enrolment policies that made school choice difficult for parents. There was overwhelming consensus from parents and professionals that mixed ability special classes are not viable and the current structure, purpose and role of the special class needs to be revised in that regard. Mixed experiences were reported from parents regarding their children transferring between schools. The transfer from primary to post-primary was a great source of anxiety for the majority of parents of children with autism. This research suggests that inclusive policies must be implemented to provide adequate resource provision and requisite funding to enhance the learning and social experiences for all pupils with autism attending mainstream primary schools.
Author: MCELROY, COLIN
Publisher:Trinity College Dublin. School of Education. Discipline of Education
Type of material:Thesis
Availability:Full text available