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‘This is what we’ve always wanted’: Perspectives on young autistic people’s transition from special school to mainstream satellite classes:

‘This is what we’ve always wanted’: Perspectives on young autistic people’s transition from... Background & aims According to parents, teachers and policymakers alike, including autistic children and young people in mainstream schools is notoriously difficult – especially so for the significant minority of young people on the autism spectrum with additional intellectual, communication and behavioural needs. The current study sought to understand the perceived impact of one particular, emerging model of education, in which selected students from special schools are transferred to dedicated ‘satellite’ classes in local, mainstream partner schools, while continuing to receive the tailored curriculum and specialist teaching of the originating school. Methods We conducted interviews with London-based young autistic people (n = 19), their parents/carers and teachers to understand their experiences of transitioning from specialist to satellite mainstream provision. Results Participants overwhelmingly welcomed the prospect of transition and its perceived benefits in the short and longer term. Young people and families celebrated achieving access to ‘more normal places and things’, ‘seeing what others are doing’, and greater autonomy, without losing the trusted expert support of their former special school. Young people also felt a deep sense of belonging to their new mainstream school, despite only being minimally included in regular mainstream classes and activities. Teachers were equally positive and felt that their students had responded to higher expectations in their new mainstream schools, reportedly resulting in better behavioural regulation and more sustained attention in the classroom. Conclusions The strikingly positive evaluations provided by all participants suggest that this satellite model of education might have advantages for young autistic people with additional intellectual disability, when appropriate support extends across transition and beyond. Implications These findings shed light on the experiences of an under-researched group of autistic students and a specific model of education – following a needs-based perspective on inclusion – that seeks to extend their participation in local schools. Future research should examine the potential effects of satellite classrooms on the knowledge of, and attitudes toward, autism in non-autistic mainstream peers. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Autism & Developmental Language Impairments SAGE

‘This is what we’ve always wanted’: Perspectives on young autistic people’s transition from special school to mainstream satellite classes:

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Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
Copyright © 2019 by SAGE Publications Ltd unless otherwise noted. Manuscript content on this site is licensed under Creative Commons Licenses
ISSN
2396-9415
eISSN
2396-9415
DOI
10.1177/2396941519886475
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Background & aims According to parents, teachers and policymakers alike, including autistic children and young people in mainstream schools is notoriously difficult – especially so for the significant minority of young people on the autism spectrum with additional intellectual, communication and behavioural needs. The current study sought to understand the perceived impact of one particular, emerging model of education, in which selected students from special schools are transferred to dedicated ‘satellite’ classes in local, mainstream partner schools, while continuing to receive the tailored curriculum and specialist teaching of the originating school. Methods We conducted interviews with London-based young autistic people (n = 19), their parents/carers and teachers to understand their experiences of transitioning from specialist to satellite mainstream provision. Results Participants overwhelmingly welcomed the prospect of transition and its perceived benefits in the short and longer term. Young people and families celebrated achieving access to ‘more normal places and things’, ‘seeing what others are doing’, and greater autonomy, without losing the trusted expert support of their former special school. Young people also felt a deep sense of belonging to their new mainstream school, despite only being minimally included in regular mainstream classes and activities. Teachers were equally positive and felt that their students had responded to higher expectations in their new mainstream schools, reportedly resulting in better behavioural regulation and more sustained attention in the classroom. Conclusions The strikingly positive evaluations provided by all participants suggest that this satellite model of education might have advantages for young autistic people with additional intellectual disability, when appropriate support extends across transition and beyond. Implications These findings shed light on the experiences of an under-researched group of autistic students and a specific model of education – following a needs-based perspective on inclusion – that seeks to extend their participation in local schools. Future research should examine the potential effects of satellite classrooms on the knowledge of, and attitudes toward, autism in non-autistic mainstream peers.

Journal

Autism & Developmental Language ImpairmentsSAGE

Published: Nov 6, 2019

Keywords: Transition,education,mainstream,inclusion,special,satellite

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