Parsons, Sarah, Lewis, Ann and Ellins, Jean
The views and experiences of parents of children with autistic spectrum disorder about educational provision: comparisons with parents of children with other disabilities from an online survey
European Journal of Special Needs Education, 24, (1), . (doi:10.1080/08856250802596790).
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A recent review of educational provision for children with SEN (House of Commons Education and Skills Committee on SEN 2006) singled out children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) as being in need of special attention and highlighted the frustration felt by parents. One implication is that parents of children with ASD find it disproportionately difficult to obtain appropriate educational provision for their children compared to families with children with other disabilities. This paper compares the views of parents of children with (n=66) and without (n=59) ASD about educational provision across mainstream and special schools from an online survey in the UK. Results show that whilst there are some differences in experiences between groups of parents (ASD vs. non-ASD), their views are more similar than different both in relation to positive aspects of provision as well as areas for improvement. A majority of parents in both groups were mostly satisfied with their child’s current educational provision although concerns about transitions between and beyond schools were common to both groups. There was no evidence to suggest that disability legislation in the UK (the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 – Part IV) had made a significant impact on parents, either in informational or practical terms. Improvements in educational provision need to support all children with SEN or disabilities rather than singling out a group of children with particular needs.
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