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Title: Inclusion of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in mainstream primary schools in Saudi Arabia : a case study of two girls' schools
Author: Binhayyan, Maha
ISNI:       0000 0004 7232 0484
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2017
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The research described in this thesis considers the inclusion of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in mainstream primary school education in Saudi Arabia. Inclusion is a term used here to describe the practice of educating disabled pupils in mainstream schools alongside their non-disabled peers. Although the inclusion of disabled pupils in mainstream schools has increased in Saudi Arabia in recent years, the policy is in its infancy and, as of yet, many teachers are unsure about implementing inclusive educational practice. The study focuses on ASD, a developmental disorder that affects social perception and development, and the efforts made by the educational system in Saudi Arabia to introduce an inclusive educational programme to educate pupils with ASD in mainstream schools. This research focuses on the methods used to educate children with ASD in a mainstream environment, and how successful the uptake and application of inclusion has been. The research considers several aspects within the topic of the inclusion of children with ASD in Saudi Arabian mainstream primary schools: the extent to which these children are currently included; the main factors that encourage or discourage the adoption of inclusive practices in these schools; the perspectives of parents, teachers, non-SEN children, and staff regarding inclusion; and the lessons that can be learned from those schools that have adopted inclusive practices. The research takes the form of a qualitative study involving the case studies of two primary mainstream schools in Saudi Arabia (one public and one private), incorporating interviews and classroom observations. The main findings of this research are that teachers at both the public and the private schools made an effort to treat pupils with ASD equally in the mainstream classroom, and non-SEN pupils at both schools made a considerable effort to welcome and include pupils with ASD in scheduled and unscheduled activities. Also, the parents of pupils with ASD noticed that their child’s social skills improved after spending time at a mainstream school. However, several problems were found concerning the implementation of inclusive practice at both schools. It seems that teachers lacked an understanding of the needs of pupils with ASD, and auxiliary staff was not available to assist beyond the resources room. There was a lack of communication between staff and parents. Members of staff were not available to help pupils with ASD interact during unscheduled periods of the school day; as a result, the non-SEN peers of pupils with ASD, especially at the public school, felt overly responsible for the care of pupils with ASD in their class. The research contributes to current knowledge on the inclusion of pupils with ASD in mainstream primary schools by exploring how inclusive practice relating to pupils with ASD has been implemented in Saudi Arabia, the importance of staff assistance for some pupils with ASD, and by exploring how inclusion of pupils with ASD is implemented and what works in an all-female environment. The research also explores the differences between the inclusion of pupils with ASD and the integration of their needs in school life. What we now know about inclusion is that it brings out the caring side of non-SEN pupils, and through this extensive study of how the inclusion of pupils with ASD affects all participants in the school community, we are now aware that inclusion, with extra support and involvement of teaching staff, can be effectively implemented in Saudi Arabian primary schools.
Supervisor: Lawson, Hazel Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available