• Signe Romedahl Møller
  • Signe Bjørslev Busk
4. semester, Psykologi, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
The aim of the master thesis is to examine and understand why students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in mainstream public schools suffer from severe school attendance problems. The study elucidates this through an ecological perspective, in which the school attendance problems are viewed as a problem that resides within the child's environment and therefore making it a problem that needs to be solved through cooperation within this environment.
The thesis statement is elucidated through different theoretical and professional perspectives. These are supplied by the perspectives of the psychologists working in the pedagogical psychological advice unit (PPR) in Denmark, which is a group of pro-fessionals who are brought in to resolve these cases of severe school attendance prob-lems. The perspective of these professionals are examined through four semi-structured interviews with PPR psychologists, through a thematic analysis highlighting the psychologists’ relevant perspectives on school attendance problems. To emphasize this perspective we conducted a small systematic review of current research within this field. The review presents different causes for the school non-attendance such as insuf-ficient learning environment, bullying and need for better qualifications among teach-ers. The review also accentuates the positive effects of inclusive initiatives in school. The theoretical perspectives of the thesis highlight two major causes for the growing non-attendance among children with ASD in mainstream public schools. The first be-ing the political reformations and structures that underpin mainstream public schools, creating higher expectations for both students and teachers. The second major cause seems to be the inadequate inclusion of these students in the mainstream public schools.
The results of the analysis show that the psychologists are in agreement about the school attendance problems being especially severe in students with ASD in the main-stream public schools. They experience this group of students being very difficult to get back into school. The psychologists believe that the school attendance problems are partly due to the social and educational difficulties surrounding students with ASD in the mainstream public schools, mainly because the mainstream school system fails to support these students. The psychologists state that the family and school often have very different views on the child's difficulties making the cooperation within the inter-vention difficult. The psychologists also express a need for more preventive, rather than treating, intervention, enhancing the need for an earlier entry in the cases.
The thesis discusses many of the different causes as to why this group of stu-dents is at a much higher risk of school attendance problems. The discussion critically examines the inclusion of this group of students in the mainstream public schools and the issues relating to this. We discuss relevant dilemmas regarding inclusion and the risk of exclusion rather than inclusion. We debate the pros and cons of inclusion in mainstream public schools and special schools. We also highlight the need for more preventive initiatives and the need for better economical resources to accommodate the inclusion. Lastly, we discuss the reasons for the increase of the ASD-diagnosis, and highlight what we believe to be the best practices for creating an inclusive environment for students with ASD in mainstream public schools to prevent school attendance problems.
This thesis highlights interventions and initiatives to support and secure a better school attendance and inclusion of students with ASD in the mainstream public schools. Firstly, it is helpful to integrate an ecological and collective mindset to ensure inclusion and thereby uncover hidden ressources that do not depend on economics. Secondly, it is helpful to create a stronger connection between the school and the PPR, ensuring more preventive and proactive interventions. Thirdly, it is helpful to take the specific child's situation into account. Some children may benefit from inclusion in the mainstream public schools while some may benefit from a special school education, and others may benefit from an education programme in between. Finally, although the main focus of the thesis has been the school as the primary initiator for inclusion and school attendance, we believe that an ecological and collective perspective should be applied to the child’s entire ecological system.
Udgivelsesdato28 maj 2021
Antal sider121
ID: 413094566