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Title: Life skills provision in the UK for young people with Autism Spectrum Disorders : an investigation of the views and needs of parents, young people and education providers
Author: Chantziara, Sofia
ISNI:       0000 0004 9351 1167
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2019
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The aim of the thesis was to investigate life skills provision for high functioning young people with ASDs and to contribute to the development of future school-based interventions. A mixed methods design including two qualitative and one quantitative study was employed. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with young people with ASDs and their parents to obtain their views and experiences in relation to life skill training they have received, their aspirations for adulthood and needs for future training. Interviews were followed by focus groups with education providers to explore their views with regards to life skills training they offer and their recommendations for improvements. Findings from these two studies provided the basis for the design of two questionnaires aiming to further investigate and compare the views and experiences among parents and education providers. Parents and young people expressed a strong need for individualization of life skills support. Parents voiced a request for mentoring/befriending while young people asked for assistance with peer-relationships. There were also signs of parental conflict regarding their involvement in the support. Schools appeared to be corresponding to this need for individualization. They exerted great efforts to meet the specific needs of their pupils, and tried to incorporate life skills training into daily activities. However, support was applied in an informal, impromptu way, at the expense of more structured and effective programs. Furthermore, the involvement of neurotypical peers and parents in the support encountered obstacles, thus limiting the opportunities for generalization of the learned skills. Improving co-operation between schools and parents could be the first step in advancing school provisions. Emphasis should be placed on individualized support while also making use of evidence-based practices. Schools could also provide more hands-on support with peer-relationships and make use of "natural" opportunities available for practising life skills. Future interventions, should further investigate the involvement of neurotypical peers in life skills training and the effectiveness and applicability of mentoring /befriending, particularly within a school setting. The role of parents in the support should also be negotiated in each case as they may not always perceive their involvement as desirable or beneficial.
Supervisor: Bratt, Alison ; Krska, Janet ; McGill, Peter Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available