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Francophone students with autistic spectrum conditions speak about their experience of inclusion in mainstream secondary schools.

  • Aubineau, Morgane
  • Teresa, Blicharska
Publication Date
Feb 01, 2019
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Background. An increasing number of students with autistic spectrum conditions (ASC) attend mainstream secondary schools in both France and Quebec. The importance of considering their views on subjects that affect their daily life is now well established in education research. Still, little is known about how these students cope with specific aspects of inclusion. Objective. This article explores the school experience of teenagers, considered as “the most expert, most capable of telling what it is like to be them” (Speraw, p.736), regarding their academic and social inclusion. Specifically, we aim to identify inhibitors and enablers to promoting successful educational experiences in a Francophone context. Methods: 25 students with ASC (aged 12 to 16), attending mainstream secondary schools in France (N=16) and Quebec (N=9), were interviewed. Results. Managing sensory aspects, perceived immature behaviours from their peers and tiredness are identified as the main hardships of school life. Being included in an intensive academic program, being driven by a passion and having a friend inside the school are reported as important enablers. Perspectives. For students with ASC, transition into adult life constitutes one of the major challenges and has to be anticipated as soon as possible. Recommendations for practice are put forward to foster their empowerment and specify support needed to help them gain essential autonomy and practical skills necessary in the work place and to be able to speak for themselves.

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