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Working together? Parent and local authority views on the process of obtaining appropriate educational provision for children with autism spectrum disorders

By Catherine Tissot


Background: There is general agreement across all interested parties that a process of working together is the best way to determine which school or educational setting is right for an individual child with autism spectrum disorder. In the UK, families and local authorities both desire a constructive working relationship and see this as the best means by which to reach an agreement to determine where a child should be educated. It has been shown in published works 1\ud 1. Batten and colleagues (Make schools make sense. Autism and education: the reality for families today; London: The National Autistic Society, 2006). View all notes\ud that a constructive working relationship is not always achieved.\ud \ud Purpose: This small-scale study aims to explore the views of both parents and local authorities, focussing on how both parties perceive and experience the process of determining educational provision for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) within an English context.\ud \ud Sample, design and method: Parental opinion was gathered through the use of a questionnaire with closed and open responses. The questionnaire was distributed to two national charities, two local charities and 16 specialist schools, which offered the questionnaire to parents of children with ASD, resulting in an opportunity sample of 738 returned surveys. The views of local authority personnel from five local authorities were gathered through the use of semi-structured interviews. Data analyses included quantitative analysis of the closed response questionnaire items, and theme-based qualitative analysis of the open responses and interviews with local authority personnel.\ud \ud Results: In the majority of cases, parents in the survey obtained their first choice placement for their child. Despite this positive outcome, survey data indicated that parents found the process bureaucratic, stressful and time consuming. Parents tended to perceive alternative placement suggestions as financially motivated rather than in the best interests of the child. Interviews with local authority personnel showed an awareness of these concerns and the complex considerations involved in determining what is best for an individual child.\ud \ud Conclusions: This small-scale study highlights the need for more effective communication between parents of children with ASDs and local authority personnel at all stages of the proces

Publisher: Routledge
Year: 2011
OAI identifier: oai:centaur.reading.ac.uk:17958

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