Mothers' experiences of a primary specialist provision for autism attended by their child

Prof Doc Thesis

Read, Emma 2013. Mothers' experiences of a primary specialist provision for autism attended by their child. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsRead, Emma
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Research evidence suggests that a significant minority of mothers of children with
autism are dissatisfied with their child’s education. However, research to date has
mainly comprised of large-scale ‘broad-brush’ methodologies which cannot capture
the detail of these mothers’ experiences. This research sought to explore six
mothers’ experiences of engaging with a specialist unit for autism attended by their
child. Their accounts of these experiences were elicited through semi-structured
interviews in order that the data obtained was detailed and reflected individual,
subjective experience. Interview transcripts were analysed using Interpretative
Phenomenological Analysis, an inductive methodology that is designed to enable
the researcher to dig deep into the data and produce a rich descriptive and
interpretative summary of participants’ experiences. Three superordinate themes
were constructed during the analytical process. The first highlighted the importance
mothers placed on feeling their child was loved and accepted by school staff.
Secondly, the uncertainties and complexities of making sense of their child’s autism
diagnosis were highlighted, as well as uncertainties relating to priorities for their
child’s learning, and knowing what expectations to have of the specialist Unit. Finally
participants’ experiences of learning are described. These learning experiences
related to finding out more about their child through contact with the Unit,
discovering principles and practice relating to specialist teaching skills utilised by
staff, and finally developing their own way of understanding and parenting their child
at home.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Publication dates
PrintDec 2013
Publication process dates
Deposited20 Jan 2014
Publisher's version
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