Barriers to inclusion, a study of mainstream schools and ASD

Carrie Ballantyne, Claire Wilson, Karri Gillespie-Smith

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


The study aimed to assess autism knowledge and investigate if it is associated to level of education, autism specific training, and personal experience across different sectors in mainstream schools. Additionally, measures of job satisfaction and perceived barriers were examined.

Inclusion of pupils with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) into mainstream schools is becoming common practice, and staff should have adequate knowledge on teaching and managing classroom behaviour. However it is found that autism knowledge among teaching staff vary across individuals. A mixed methods design was utilised to look at differences between school staff in autism knowledge and what the perceived barriers to inclusion are.

120 school teachers and pupil support assistances were recruited from Scottish schools. Knowledge and experience was assessed using the Knowledge about Childhood Autism among Health Workers (KCAHW; Bakare, Ebigbo, Agomoh & Menkiti, 2008). Qualitative measures were used to assess perceived barriers and job satisfaction.

Significant differences in the knowledge of autism scores were shown between school staff, with early years reflecting the most knowledge. Furthermore, themes differed relating to barriers to inclusion, with secondary teachers focused on difficulties with the curriculum and primary school teachers highlighting attitudes of parents. Lastly, results indicate that pupil support assistances are more satisfied compared to teachers in working with children with ASD.
Disparities in the knowledge and awareness of ASD in teaching professionals are highlighted across the different stages in mainstream education. Moreover, the study highlights what staff deem important for successful inclusion of ASD pupils.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sep 2019
EventBPS Cognitive Psychology Section & Developmental Psychology Section Joint Conference 2019 - Best Western Plus Stoke on Trent Moat House, Stoke On Trent, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 Sep 20196 Sep 2019


ConferenceBPS Cognitive Psychology Section & Developmental Psychology Section Joint Conference 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityStoke On Trent
Internet address


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