Flexible support systems for children with autistic spectrum disorders : can an outreach model of support influence inclusive educational practice.

Prof Doc Thesis

Sheppard, Susan Anne 2000. Flexible support systems for children with autistic spectrum disorders : can an outreach model of support influence inclusive educational practice. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London
AuthorsSheppard, Susan Anne
TypeProf Doc Thesis

The thesis focuses on the impact of specialist outreachladvisory services for pupils
with autistic spectrum disorders. An outreach service can be defined as one that has
staff with specialist knowledge, skills and experience in a specific area. It offers
support to a number of recipients, such as pupils, their families and school-based staff.
A review of the literature gives a historical feel for the evolution of such support
services, and also considers current influences such as recent government policy and
legislation in relation to special educational needs. The specific nature of the special
educational needs of those with autistic spectrum disorders is outlined. A national
survey was carried out in England and Wales by sending a postal questionnaire to all
principal educational psychologists. This aimed to determine the presence of autism
outreach / advisory services. Based on a return rate of 81 questionnaires (53% of
LEAs surveyed), this revealed that 24 (3 0%) of local education authorities (LEAs)
had some form of structured outreach or advisory services specifically catering for
pupils with autistic spectrum disorders. A further 20 (24%) of returns indicated
emerging or informal services were in existence. Approximately a third of the autism
outreach / advisory services were based in a special school and only a very small
number operated from a mainstream school base. Approximately half were based on
an autonomous site. The autism services were found to vary considerably in terms of
the total number of pupils supported and the staff involved. There was evidence of a
strong LEA commitment to ensuring that there was a specialist EP responsible for
pupils with autistic spectrum disorders n= 43(53% of sample). In order to achieve a
richer picture of service delivery, two autism outreach services were evaluated in
detail using a case study approach. The methods used included interviews, a focus
group and questionnaires. The views of outreach teachers, and those staff in schools
receiving outreach support were sought. This demonstrated a shared understanding of
the aims of the services. The outreach support was received in a very positive way by
schools and was seen to have a real impact directly on the pupil as well as on staff
development. The author proposes that a specialist outreach service can effectively act
as a bridge to inclusion for a group of pupils with autistic spectrum disorders. Such a
model fits in with the latest government proposals to increase inclusion through
partnerships between special and mainstream schools. A framework for practice is put
forward for consideration which summarises processes and constraints of such
support and other service delivery issues.

KeywordsAutism; Inclusion; Education; Outreach
Web address (URL)http://hdl.handle.net/10552/1298
File Access Level
Registered users only
Publication dates
Publication process dates
Deposited11 May 2011
Additional information

This thesis supplied via ROAR to UEL-registered users is protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights, and duplication of any part of the material is not permitted, except for your personal use for the purposes of non-commercial research and private study in electronic or print form. You must obtain permission from the copyright-holder for any other use. Electronic or print copies may not be offered, for sale or otherwise, to anyone. No quotation from the thesis may be published without proper acknowledgement.

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