Advances in Autism : 2018 - Issue 4 : Inclusive educational practice for autistic learners

lundi 12 novembre 2018

1. Milton DEM, Martin N. Guest editorial. Advances in Autism. 2018 ; 4(4) : 153-4.

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2. Boven F. Special interests and inclusive academic learning : an autistic perspective. Advances in Autism. 2018 ; 4(4) : 155-64.

Purpose Many people with an autistic spectrum condition have one or more “special interests” which is more restricted, and which they pursue with more than average intensity. The purpose of this paper is to offer a first-person perspective on inclusion of special interests in academic learning. The paper describes examples of special interests of university students and offers recommendations for university teachers. Design/methodology/approach The author combines the emerging strategy of using his own autobiographical material as research object with the more establish method of conceptual analysis. Findings The author finds that special interests can be a source of academic strength, but can also interfere with learning. The paper argues that including special interests in academic learning is an effective way of including students with autism in higher education, but requires some special provisions. Originality/value Existing research has focused either on the special interests of persons with autism or on their inclusion in education, but the combination of these two issues has rarely been considered. The paper addresses this neglected topic from the inside perspective of a former student with autism who, after completing a research master’s in philosophy, was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome at age 34. The author combines this inside perspective with knowledge of the theory and history of autism.

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3. Gurnett JE. How can Shakespeare’s iambic pentameter enable inclusion of and encourage participation of autistic pupils in a year 7 boy’s mainstream classroom ?. Advances in Autism. 2018 ; 4(4) : 165-73.

Purpose The purpose of this paper is to facilitate a greater understanding of verbal and non-verbal communication in an open space learning (OSL) environment. This is an exploration of the premise that by using Shakespeare’s iambic pentameter as a scaffolding for learners on the autism spectrum, a “safe place” can be accessed. Design/methodology/approach Using an action research model and following government guidelines, using common assessment framework analysing the findings using School’s assessment criteria model that is used for single exercises through to whole scheme of work : making–performing–evaluating (self-evaluation sheets/peer evaluation sheets/teacher evaluation). Findings There has been hypothesis that people with ASD may be more able to track their heart beats for longer than neurotypicals. Kimberly et al. (2015) suggest that empathetic abilities and emotional experiences in people with ASD can produce negative experiences, anxiety can occur and the interoceptive awareness and ability to positively relate to self can be caused to dislocate. The use of the rhythm of the heartbeat may aid communication skills in ASD learners. Research limitations/implications In the autistic learner, overload, caused by hypersensitivity/hyposensitivity, can also affect and be effected by environmental issues in OSL environment. The autistic learner can be deeply affected. Unlike a desk-based class there is nowhere to hide, no place of safety. Practical implications By trying to find a common ground where the autistic learners can realise their full capacity the use of the heartbeat iambic rhythm can, the author posits, impact on the autistic learners sense of self and confidence, aiding learning. Social implications As Hunter (2015) espouses, the heartbeat is a nurturing instrument. The author advocates that the heartbeat is also a unilateral marker that unifies a class/the environment at the same time as comforting the autistic learner. Originality/value There is an element in every being that has to be present from inception, the heartbeat, it is the first function an embryo performs. The heartbeat also produces a primal symbiotic interdependency in mother and child. It is a pure connection. The author posits that the replication of this pure function can comfort, reassure and foster communication. There is no empirical evidence, but research is currently taking place at the Nisonger Centre at the Ohio State University, where, under the leadership of Dr Marc J. Tasse, pilot workshops have taken place. The author also have no empirical evidence as to why the heartbeat is instrumental in helping the autistic learner to communicate. The author gives the conjecture in the paper.

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4. Baker D, Roberson A, Kim H. Autism and dual immersion : sorting through the questions. Advances in Autism. 2018 ; 4(4) : 174-83.

Purpose The dual immersion (DI) model of bilingual education, which focuses on educating language-minority and majority students side by side using the two languages in roughly equal proportions, is gaining popularity. And yet, students with disabilities – even those who are already multilingual – are routinely steered away from such programs in favor of English-only special education options. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach This paper explores the potential benefits and challenges associated with including multilingual students with autism in DI classrooms, beginning with an exploration of literature related to students with autism who are also multilingual learners (MLLs) (irrespective of educational placement), followed by a small body of literature on the inclusion of students with disabilities in general in DI programs, and finally an analysis of the characteristics of DI classrooms to extrapolate about the ways in which this environment might be both supportive of and challenging for students with autism. Findings The analysis reveals that DI programs are simultaneously well positioned (theoretically) and ill equipped (practically) to effectively support MLLs who are also on the autism spectrum. Originality/value In spite of mounting evidence that being multilingual may advantage children with autism, very little scholarship has even raised the question of whether students with autism might benefit from participation in bilingual programs where academic instruction is delivered in two languages (Beauchamp and MacLeod, 2017 ; Durán et al., 2016 ; Marinova-Todd et al., 2016 ; Seung et al., 2006). This paper identifies practical implications related to including students with autism in DI programs and suggests directions for future research.

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5. Hoy K, Parsons S, Kovshoff H. Inclusive school practices supporting the primary to secondary transition for autistic children : pupil, teacher, and parental perspectives. Advances in Autism. 2018 ; 4(4) : 184-96.

Purpose The primary to secondary school transition can have a significant and long-lasting impact on young people. Autistic children are particularly vulnerable to negative transition experiences ; however, there is a lack of research examining effective practices and provision for these pupils. This case study involves a mainstream secondary school in the South of England, which has a dedicated Learning Support base. The purpose of this paper is to collect qualitative data on experiences of the primary to secondary school transition from multiple stakeholders. Design/methodology/approach A photovoice activity followed by a semi-structured interview was conducted with five autistic pupils aged 12–16 years ; semi-structured interviews were also carried out with six parents and four teachers. Findings Five key themes emerged from the data in relation to effective practices : inclusion, child-centred approach, familiarisation, visual supports and communication and consistency. Research limitations/implications As a small-scale case study, there are limitations regarding generalisation. However, this research illuminates transition practices that are experienced as effective by autistic children, their families and teachers. Practical implications Practical implications related to each of these themes are highlighted. These implications are important in the context of the mandatory responsibilities of schools in England to include the voices of children and young people with special educational needs in decisions about their education. Originality/value The findings challenge a rights-based approach to inclusion and illustrate the importance of a needs-based approach which appropriately recognises and understands what autism means for children, their families and the teachers who support them.

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