Trainee teachers’ knowledge of autism: Implications for understanding and inclusive practice

Jonathan Vincent, Kevin Ralston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This current study draws on data from a large sample of trainee teachers in England to provide a long overdue baseline assessment of the knowledge of autism. It has particular import given the recent research that shows that 60% of autistic young people identified ‘having a teacher who understands autism’ as the main thing that would make school better for them. We find that, based on the Autism Awareness Survey, levels of knowledge were comparatively high among our n = 326 respondents. However, whilst this is encouraging, our findings also point to an underestimation of knowledge, which indicates the need for additional resources and training to develop trainee teachers’ self-efficacy and confidence in their pedagogical practice. Finally, in order to understand more about the gap between autistic children’s experiences and teachers’ understanding, this study signals a need to review autism knowledge scales to better reflect an experiential knowledge that goes beyond the clinical descriptors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-221
JournalOxford Review of Education
Volume46
Issue number2
Early online date12 Aug 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • autism
  • knowledge
  • teaching
  • pre-service
  • inclusive practice

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