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Parental perceptions on the transition to secondary school for their child with autism

Katie Cremin , Olive Healy , Michael Gordon

Advances in Autism

Emerald Publishing

Autism, Autism spectrum disorder, Transition, Qualitative, Secondary school, Parent

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      Abstract

      PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to explore the transition to and early experience of secondary school for students with autism from the perspective of their parents. It aimed to gather the parents’ personal accounts of their views of the transition experience for their child and of their perceptions of both the positive and the negative factors inherent in the process of transition. There was an emphasis on seeking useful information for others from the parent’s perception, views and choices.Design/methodology/approachAs parents were reporting on their own perceptions and also their child’s experiences, a qualitative exploratory descriptive method was required. Thematic analysis was used as a pragmatic method to report on the experiences, meanings and the reality of the transition to secondary school from a parent’s perspective (Braun and Clarke, 2012).FindingsA variety of supports and strategies were described, parents were unanimous in their emphasis of the importance of communication to them. Parents were concerned about secondary schools not fully understanding the nature of autism, and the impact this can have on their child as an individual. Despite differing perceptions and views on the purpose or end product of secondary educations for their child, all the parents communicated a desire for their child to reach their potential and make progress within the secondary school system.Research limitations/implicationsThis was a small qualitative study with a self-selected group of parents in the Republic of Ireland, with fathers underrepresented. It did not take any account from any other stakeholders or the students themselves.Practical implicationsParents would benefit from more practical support and communication during this time in the child’s education. Their recommendations and personal experiences may serve as a useful reference point for parents preparing for this time in their child’s school life.Social implicationsThe study highlights the need to better understand how children with autism can be supported in making social attainments and connections within mainstream secondary schools in Ireland.Originality/valueThere is a small body of knowledge related to the secondary school experience for students with autism. It contributes the parental perspective and highlights areas for further research and practice.

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      Most cited references 52

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      'Make me normal': the views and experiences of pupils on the autistic spectrum in mainstream secondary schools.

      Facilitating the learning and participation of pupils with Asperger syndrome and high-functioning autism (herein referred to as AS) in mainstream schools is complex and poorly understood. We report on a small-scale qualitative study of the views and experiences of 20 such pupils drawn from four secondary schools in north-west England. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews and pupil diaries. Interpretive phenomenological analysis was used to explore how pupils with AS make sense of their educational experiences. The central theme was how participants constructed their understanding of what their AS meant to them. This was often characterized by negative perceptions of their differences, such as being 'retarded' or having a 'bad brain'. The links between this understanding and reported difficulties with peers and teachers, the desire to 'fit in', and other themes are discussed. The implications of these findings for policy and practice in this area are also presented.
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        Bullying Among Adolescents With Autism Spectrum Disorders: Prevalence and Perception

        This study examined: (a) the prevalence of bullying and victimization among adolescents with ASD, (b) whether they correctly perceived bullying and victimization, and (c) whether Theory of Mind (ToM) and bullying involvement were related to this perception. Data were collected among 230 adolescents with ASD attending special education schools. We found prevalence rates of bullying and victimization between 6 and 46%, with teachers reporting significantly higher rates than peers. Furthermore, adolescents who scored high on teacher- and self-reported victimization were more likely to misinterpret non-bullying situations as bullying. The more often adolescents bullied, according to teachers and peers, and the less developed their ToM, the more they misinterpreted bullying situations as non-bullying. Implications for clinical practice are discussed.
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          Perceptions of social support and experience of bullying among pupils with autistic spectrum disorders in mainstream secondary schools

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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            Children’s Research Centre, Trinity College, University of Dublin , Dublin, Ireland
            Department of Psychology, Trinity College, University of Dublin , Dublin, Ireland
            Author notes
            Katie Cremin can be contacted at: cremink@tcd.ie
            Contributors
            Journal
            AIA
            10.1108/AIA
            Advances in Autism
            AIA
            Emerald Publishing
            2056-3868
            03 April 2017
            : 3
            : 2
            : 87-99
            591767
            10.1108/AIA-09-2016-0024
            AIA-09-2016-0024.pdf AIA-09-2016-0024
            © Emerald Publishing Limited
            Counts
            Figures: 0, Tables: 3, Equations: 0, References: 51, Pages: 13, Words: 7545
            Product
            Categories
            research-article, Research paper
            cat-HSC, Health & social care
            cat-LID, Learning & intellectual disabilities
            Custom metadata
            yes
            yes
            JOURNAL
            included

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