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

Milton, Damian Elgin Maclean (2016). Educational discourse and the autistic student: a study using Q-sort methodology. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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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: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: School of Education, Department of Disability, Inclusion and Special Needs
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
L Education > LC Special aspects of education


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