School Staff’s Social Representation of Inclusion of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (Asperger)
2015 (English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Inclusion of students with autism spectrum disorder in the mainstream classroom is problematic. The link between teachers’ individual practice and broader institutional forces has shown to be crucial to an inclusive environment. For example, school staff’s social representations (SR), have a bearing on how they accommodate for them in mainstream classes. Therefore the current study examined and compared the SRs concerning the inclusion of students with Asperger diagnosis (AS) among principals, school health professionals and teachers. Swedish school staff were invited to anonymously answer a web-based questionnaire (N=229). An association task was conducted to obtain data on principals, school health professionals and teachers’ SR of inclusion of students with AS. The content and structure of the SRs were explored by using the theoretical framework of social representation theory. Our results suggest that principals are mainly concerned with the organization and structural level of inclusion. Moreover, school health professionals emphasized students’ needs and their individual (different) potentials. Teachers more often than principals or school health staff referred to students as assets. School health professionals in general produced more negative phrases as compared to teachers who produced more positive phrases. These results highlight the need to bridge the gap between the organizational level, the classroom level and the individual student level in order to reduce barriers for students with AS to fit into an inclusive environment.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Inclusion, school staff, autism spectrum disorder, Asperger diagnosis, social representations, social representation theory
Psychology Educational Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-121059OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-121059DiVA: diva2:851265