International Meeting for Autism Research: Participation In Main Stream Schools a Reality for Students with ASC?

Participation In Main Stream Schools a Reality for Students with ASC?

Friday, May 13, 2011
Elizabeth Ballroom E-F and Lirenta Foyer Level 2 (Manchester Grand Hyatt)
11:00 AM
M. Falkmer1 and T. S. Falkmer2, (1)HLK, Jonkoping University, Jonkoping, Sweden, (2)School of Occupational Therapy and Social Work, Curtin University, Perth, Australia
Background:  Existing research on inclusion for students with ASC is incoherent. Some studies report that students with ASC are well accepted by peers and teachers (1-3). Others that students with ASC are excluded from school activities (1, 4, 5). Students with ASC are at risk for dropping out of school, mainly not due to intellectual problems but to social alienation and lack of participation (6). Participation includes one aspect that can only be rated by the individual, i.e., the subjective feeling of having participated. Teachers tend to rate the participation of children with impairments as higher than the children themselves, indicating that they base their perceptions on observations, not on the child’s experience(7). Hence, increased knowledge about children with ASC and their self rated participation in schools is necessary, in order to improve their school situation and further develop inclusive school

Objectives:  The objectives were to examine if self-rated participation in school activities differs between students with ASC and their peers and, if so what may differentiates the groups? Another objective was to examine how reliable teachers’ ratings of the ASC students’ participation are, based on the students’ own ratings.

Methods:  As part of a larger study, a questionnaire was distributed to 22 students with ASC (mean age 10.9, 68% boys), attending mainstream schools and to 382 peers without ASC (mean age 10.9, 49% boys).

The study was approved by an ethical committee. The questionnaire comprised 46 questions on participation in school activities. It was distributed during lecture time to students and school staff (n=38) in 21 schools in Sweden. In the questionnaire to the staff, questions were rephrased asking them to rate their perceived level of participation of the child with ASC.

Results:  The 46 questions were divided in to ”Formal relations” (8 questions), “Quality of informal relations”(15), “Intra-personal aspects” (13) and “Quantity of informal relations” (10).

Compared with their peers, students with ASC rated their participation significantly (p<.05) lower on 38% of the questions in ”Formal relations ”, 40% in “Quantity of informal relations” and on 54% of the questions in “Intra-personal aspects”. Students with ASC and their peers differed most in the category ”Quality of informal relations” (73% ).

An analysis of the agreements between the school staff’s rating of participation of the student with ASC and the students’ own rating will be presented and the consequences of agreements and disagreements will be discussed.

Conclusions:  Students with ASC rate their participation in school activities lower compared with peers. Regarding “Informal relations”, the difference between the groups is large. Since the category is about relations to friends, this finding indicates an increased risk for social alienation in students with ASC and thus, interventions aiming to enhance social relations are of importance in mainstream schools.

1.Mesibov G, Shea V. 1996

2.Rourk JD. 1996

3.Schreibman L, Andersson A., 2001

4.Borthwick-Duffy SA, Palmer, D. S., & Lane, K. L. 1996

5.Kauffman JM, Hallahan DP. 2005.

6.Skolverket. Stockholm; 2010 .

7.Scheepstra A, Nakken H, Pijl SJ 1999

See more of: Services - I
See more of: Services
See more of: Prevalence, Risk factors & Intervention
| More