The role of experience in teachers’ social representation of students with autism spectrum diagnosis (Asperger)
2015 (English)In: Cogent Education, ISSN 2331-186X, Vol. 2, no 2, 1-18 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Support from teachers is a key strategy for accommodating students with Asperger syndrome (AS) diagnosis in the mainstream classroom. Teachers’ understanding and expectations of students, i.e. their social representations (SR), have a bearing on how they interact and accommodate, but little is known about why. Therefore, the current study examined the idea that teachers’ SR of these students are influenced by their previous experience with AS. To this end, Swedish mainstream teachers were invited to anonymously answer a web-based questionnaire (N = 153). An association task was used to obtain data on teachers’ SR and the content and structure of the SR were explored. Our results suggest that work-related experience of AS and/or private experience shape teachers’ SR of these students relative to teachers with no experience. Moreover, teachers with previous experience had more SR elements related to environment and learning factors while teachers without previous experience had more elements related to the individual’s behavior. Teachers with private experience produced fewer positive elements compared to those with work-related experience only. These results highlight the role of contextual factors and prior experience in forming SR. We conclude that contact with students with AS, e.g. during teacher training, could facilitate accommodation in mainstream schools.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 2, no 2, 1-18 p.
Autism spectrum disorder; Asperger diagnosis; teacher experience; social representations; inclusion; social representation theory
Psychology Educational Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-121058DOI: 10.1080/2331186X.2014.994584OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-121058DiVA: diva2:851263