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Title: A mixed methods study investigating a sense of belonging in young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder in mainstream education
Author: Mellon, Stacey Letitia
ISNI:       0000 0004 5990 6675
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2015
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There is a dearth of qualitative research in relation to the views of young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) educated within mainstream education. A sense of school belonging (SOSB) has been largely neglected among the UK literature (Frederickson et al., 2007), especially in relation to particular types of special educational needs, such as ASD. The aim of the study was to explore a SOSB in young people with ASD in mainstream post primary education. An explanatory sequential mixed methods design was employed. An initial quantitative phase involving four Key Stage 3 pupils with ASD was followed by a qualitative phase involving two pupils with ASD and used a multiple case study approach for the purposes of in-depth analysis. A participant selection model was utilised to select pupils for the qualitative phase. The pupils attended a large mainstream post primary school in Northern Ireland. Thematic analysis of pupil interview transcripts identified two overarching themes for the pupil with a high SOSB and included construction of belonging and strategies engendering a SOSB. Four overarching themes were identified from the pupil with a low SOSB: levels of acceptance, levels of support, school geography and perceptions of behaviour. Cross case analysis identified support as a common theme. The value of listening to the voice of young people with ASD regarding their experiences of mainstream education and a SOSB is evident from this research. Even within this small case study the heterogenic nature of ASD is apparent as there are marked differences across pupils from both phase one and phase two of the study. The pupil with a high SOSB conveyed positive experiences of school life. The pupil with a low SOSB appeared to have frequent negative experiences within school. However, generalisations cannot be made from this study due to its small scale nature.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (DECAP) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available