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

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          The 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.


          As 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).


          A 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/implications

          This 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 implications

          Parents 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 implications

          The 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.


          There 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.

          Related collections

          Most cited references 50

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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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            Loneliness, friendship quality and the social networks of adolescents with high-functioning autism in an inclusive school setting

              • Record: found
              • Abstract: not found
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              Perceptions of social support and experience of bullying among pupils with autistic spectrum disorders in mainstream secondary schools


                Author and article information

                Advances in Autism
                Emerald Publishing
                03 April 2017
                : 3
                : 2
                : 87-99
                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:
                591767 AIA-09-2016-0024.pdf AIA-09-2016-0024
                © Emerald Publishing Limited
                Page count
                Figures: 0, Tables: 3, Equations: 0, References: 51, Pages: 13, Words: 7545
                research-article, Research paper
                cat-HSC, Health & social care
                cat-LID, Learning & intellectual disabilities
                Custom metadata

                Health & Social care

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


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