Parental Perceptions of the Efficacy of Diagnostic and Educational Pathways for Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder in Northern Ireland

Prof Doc Thesis

Adair, Carole 2010. Parental Perceptions of the Efficacy of Diagnostic and Educational Pathways for Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder in Northern Ireland. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsAdair, Carole
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Services for children with autism in Northern Ireland, over the past decade, have been reviewed and developed. The purpose of this study was to explore parental perceptions
of the efficacy of resource allocation within education, and to highlight areas for further improvement.

Two groups of parents were surveyed, in 1994 and in 2009. Parental opinions in relation to assessment, diagnosis, education and support services were examined across both years, to evaluate the match between the parental definition of effective service delivery and the aims, intentions and actions of the strategic planners.

A mixed method design was used, incorporating descriptive and inferential statistics,content analysis of open-ended responses, and a thematic analysis of final comments.
The aim was to identify general trends across the participant parent populations (1994 and 2009), in relation to their perceptions of service delivery, but also to record detailed accounts of parents' personal experiences of the present systems.

Findings indicated that although assessment and diagnostic procedures for children with autism appear to have improved, following diagnosis, there was still a distinct lack of support, advice and guidance for parents in relation to educational issues.

Parents in both years felt that the Special Educational Needs (SEN) system did not cater specifically for children with autistic spectrum disorder, and that a Statement of
SEN was a legal necessity to safeguard educational provision and resources.

In both 1994 and 2009 parents suggested that schools needed to equip themselves more thoroughly, through training of teachers, and translation of learned skills into classroom practice, to work with the strengths of the children with autism, rather than the deficits. More attention needed to be given to the development of a social skills curriculum and extra-curricular activities.

In addition to highlighting parental opinions on the efficient use of scarce resources, this study adds to growing research, illustrating the importance of developing parent professional partnerships in Northern Ireland.

KeywordsParental perceptions; Children with autism; Education
Publication dates
PrintSep 2010
Publication process dates
Deposited07 Oct 2013
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