To read this content please select one of the options below:

Barriers and enablers of inclusion for young autistic learners: lessons from the Polish experiences of teachers and related professionals

Marion Hersh (College of Science and Engineering, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK)
Sharon Elley (Department of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK)

Advances in Autism

ISSN: 2056-3868

Article publication date: 26 March 2019

Issue publication date: 16 April 2019

1037

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present new empirical data on the experiences of 120 teachers and professionals working with autistic children and young people across different settings in Poland where autism research on inclusive education is scarce. It explores the relationship of inclusive education to the social and neurodiversity models of disability. It makes evidence-based recommendations for good practice and modelling and evaluating future education and inclusion practices.

Design/methodology/approach

It uses a survey approach involving a combination of qualitative and quantitative data collection and embeds practical findings in theory, including the relationship of inclusive education to the social and neurodiversity models of disability.

Findings

The findings include the barriers teachers and related professionals experience in facilitating inclusive teaching and learning and how the following would be useful to autistic students: opportunities to exercise responsibilities and take leadership roles; social as well as educational inclusion; provision of a safe environment; regular funded autism training in work time; and appropriate use of additional classroom teachers.

Research limitations/implications

A survey-based approach has limitations.

Practical implications

Opportunities to exercise responsibilities and take leadership roles; social as well as educational inclusion; provision of a safe environment; regular funded autism training in work time; and appropriate use of additional classroom teachers.

Social implications

This study can be useful in the development of social skills and communication, social and educational inclusion.

Originality/value

Polish teachers’ attitudes, experiences and support needs, including some previously overlooked issues, are related to the broader international context beyond Poland. Analysis of the findings is used to derive evidence-based recommendations for good practice and modelling, and evaluating future education and inclusion practices.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank all the teachers, therapists and other educational professionals who completed questionnaires, as well as everyone who helped the authors distribute them. Particular thanks are due to Hanna Pasterny for her assistance in both improving the language of the questionnaire and distributing it. The authors would also like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions.

Citation

Hersh, M. and Elley, S. (2019), "Barriers and enablers of inclusion for young autistic learners: lessons from the Polish experiences of teachers and related professionals", Advances in Autism, Vol. 5 No. 2, pp. 117-130. https://doi.org/10.1108/AIA-06-2018-0021

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles