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Educational discourse and the autistic student: a study using Q-sort methodology

Milton, Damian Elgin Maclean (2016)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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With some notable exceptions (e.g. Jones et al., 2012), current guidance regarding best practice for the education of children on the autism spectrum often reflects a medical / behavioural model approach that seeks to remediate perceived deficits (Cumine et al., 1998, Hanbury, 2005, Hewitt, 2005, Worth, 2005, Hagland and Webb, 2009). Such advice can be contrasted with that given by autistic writers (Sainsbury, 2000, Lawson, 2010) often situating itself within a social model of disability. This study utilised Q-sort methodology (n = 60), followed by qualitative interviews (n = 6) to investigate the ideology and priorities of differing stakeholders, including autistic adults, parents of autistic children, practitioners and academics working in the field, and those occupying multiple positions, regarding the education of autistic pupils of secondary-school age. Eight factors were extracted through the PoetQ application for analysis. Two of these factors were dominant within the data-set. One represented a critical radical pedagogy frequently favoured by autistic adults, the other an approach akin to a Positive Behavioural Support (PBS) model often preferred by non-autistic parents. Practitioners and academics were found to hold a less-defined eclectic approach between these two main factors. The thesis concludes with a reflection regarding this ‘three-way dispositional problem’ and offers a number of recommendations for future research and practice.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Waltz, Mitzi and Wittemeyer, Kerstin and Jones, Glenys
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Department:School of Education, Autism Centre for Education and Research
Subjects:HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
LC Special aspects of education
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:6505
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties.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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