Knowledge and barriers to inclusion of ASC pupils in Scottish mainstream schools: A mixed methods approach

Carrie Ballantyne*, Claire Wilson, Martin K. Toye, Karri Gillespie-Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Inclusion of pupils who have autism spectrum conditions (ASC) into mainstream schools is common practice and staff should have adequate knowledge on teaching and managing classroom behaviour. However, autism knowledge among teaching staff may be inconsistent. A mixed methods design was utilised to examine differences between school staff in autism knowledge, what the perceived barriers to inclusion are and what they required to support their roles. 138 early years staff, school teachers and pupil support assistants (PSAs) were recruited from Scottish schools. Knowledge and experience were assessed using the Knowledge about Childhood Autism among Health Workers questionnaire (KCAHW; Bakare, et al., 2008). Qualitative measures were used to address perceived barriers to inclusion and recommended supports. Significant differences in the knowledge of autism scores were shown, with early years reflecting the most knowledge. Similar themes were identified across all staff with five main themes found for barrier to inclusion (Knowledge, Support, Training, Management of ASC features and Parent involvement) and four themes relating to required support (Individualising educational experience, Changes to learning spaces, Opportunities to learn about ASC and Communication). Government inclusion policy should take a whole school approach and consider staffs’ actual and perceived barriers to inclusion of children with autism.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Inclusive Education
Early online date16 Feb 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Feb 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • special educational needs
  • inclusive education
  • educational policy


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