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The mental health of young people with autism and Asperger syndrome in mainstream secondary schools: a multiple case study approach

Meehan, Louise Melissa (2011)
Ed.Psych.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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The increased prevalence and negative impact of mental health difficulties amongst those with autism and Asperger syndrome has been reported by researchers, clinicians and people with autism themselves. Schools are key environments for those with autism, but there is little research regarding how they promote or demote their mental health.

Eleven young people in Key Stage Three from three mainstream schools were part of a multiple case study, which explored and compared the perspectives of young people, their parents and school staff, regarding the mental health of those with autism or Asperger syndrome. Data was gathered using semi-structured interviews and subjected to thematic analysis.

The well-being of many young people was reported to be good, although two showed signs of stress daily. In some cases well-being had varied significantly over recent years. Eight pairs of factors that promoted or demoted mental health were identified. These related to ethos, awareness of needs, friendships, learning support, pastoral care, noise levels, predictability and organisational skills. Further research is needed to clarify these factors, but this study supports the notion of schools as mental health promoting environments for those with autism and Asperger syndrome and highlights potential areas of focus.

Type of Work:Ed.Psych.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Leadbetter, Jane
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Department:School of Education
Subjects:BF Psychology
L Education (General)
LB Theory and practice of education
LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:3028
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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