In-school transition challenges among primary school learners with autism spectrum disorders in South Africa: Parents and teachers' perspectives

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.18820/2519593X/pie.v39.i2.20

Keywords:

Autism spectrum disorders, School transition, Academic success, Primary school, Teachers, Parents

Abstract

Successful school transition is a basis for career development and eventual overall adult educational and socio-economic outcomes. Transitioning through primary school grades is a combination of relative academic and social skills acquired in each grade and forms the basis for subsequent academic and social success at ensuing educational pursuit and adult independent life. Evidence indicates that learners with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families experience limiting challenges in their school transition at different levels. There is a gap in the literature as to the specific factors that constitute school transition difficulties in primary school learners with ASD in the area of study. The purpose of this study was to investigate challenges that learners with ASD face as they transition through school grades. The study adopted a phenomenological design with 12 participants (6 parents and 6 teachers). Two focus group discussions were held to collect data analysed using inductive thematic analysis. The results revealed three main themes, which included poor academic achievement and skills development, social and economic challenges as well as behavioural problems. The findings of the study suggest an increased need for home-school collaboration during the early stages and throughout the school years for the effective transition of learners with ASD. Thus, providing learners with ASD and their families with academic, emotional and behavioural intervention and support can help learners with autism to develop personal resources that will encourage their educational success.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

References

Anderson, K.A., Sosnowy, C., Kuo, A.A. & Shattuck, P.T. 2018. Transition of individuals with autism to adulthood: A review of qualitative studies. Pediatrics, 141(Supplement 4): S318–S327. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2016-4300I

Audu, E.I.V. & Egbochuko, E.O. 2010. Autism among primary school pupils in Benin metropolis: Implications for counselling. Edo Journal of Counselling, 3(2): 261–272. https://www.ajol.info/ index.php/ejc/article/view/63612. https://doi.org/10.4314/ejc.v3i2.63612

Bailey-Taylor, A. 2009. Advising adult students: Connecting Schlossberg’s transition theory to the appreciative advising model. The Mentor: Innovative Scholarship on Academic Advising, 11.

Barnhill, G.P. 2016. Supporting students with Asperger syndrome on college campuses: Current practices. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 31(1): 3–15. https://doi.org/10.1177/1088357614523121.

Lewis, S. 2015. Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. Health Promotion Practice, 16(4): 473–475. https://doi.org/10.1177/1524839915580941

Durocher, J.S. 2011. Assessment for the purpose of instructional planning for students with autism spectrum disorders. Autism spectrum disorders: Foundations, characteristics, and effective strategies, 34–67.

Erasmus, S., Kritzinger, A. & Van Der Linde, J., 2019. Profiles of public and private autism-specific schools in Gauteng. South African Journal of Childhood Education, 9(1): 1–9. https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v9i1.691

Estes, A., Rivera, V., Bryan, M., Cali, P. & Dawson, G., 2011. Discrepancies between academic achievement and intellectual ability in higher-functioning school-aged children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 41(8): 1044–1052. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-010-1127-3.

Evans, D., Borriello, G.A. & Field, A.P. 2018. A review of the academic and psychological impact of the transition to secondary education. Frontiers in Psychology, 9: 1482. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01482

Forest, E.J., Horner, R.H., Lewis-Palmer, T. & Todd, A.W. 2004. Transitions for young children with autism from preschool to kindergarten. Journal of positive behavior interventions, 6(2): 103–112. https://doi.org/10.1177/10983007040060020501

Franz, L., Chambers, M., von Isenburg, N. & de Vries, P.J. 2017. Autism spectrum disorder in sub-Saharan Africa: A comprehensive scoping review. Autism Research, 10(5): 723–749. https://doi.org/10.1002/aur.1766

Friedman, N.D., Warfield, M.E. & Parish, S.L. 2013. Transition to adulthood for individuals with autism spectrum disorder: Current issues and future perspectives. Neuropsychiatry, 3(2): 181. https://doi.org/10.2217/npy.13.13

Gobbo, K. & Shmulsky, S. 2014. Faculty experience with college students with autism spectrum disorders: A qualitative study of challenges and solutions. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 29(1): 13–22. https://doi.org/10.1177/1088357613504989.

Guest, G., Namey, E. & McKenna, K. 2017. How many focus groups are enough? Building an evidence base for nonprobability sample sizes. Field methods, 29(1): 3–22. doi.org/10.1177/1525822X16639015

Gurbuz, E., Hanley, M. & Riby, D.M. 2019. University students with autism: The social and academic experiences of university in the UK. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 49(2): 617–631. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-018-3741-4

Hagner, D., Kurtz, A., Cloutier, H., Arakelian, C., Brucker, D.L. & May, J. 2012. Outcomes of a family-centered transition process for students with autism spectrum disorders. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 27(1): 42–50. https://doi.org/10.1177/1088357611430841

Hendricks, D.R. & Wehman, P. 2009. Transition from school to adulthood for youth with autism spectrum disorders: review and recommendations. Focus Autism Other Dev Disable, 24(2): 77–88. doi:10.1177/1088357608329827

Hofmann, W., Schmeichel, B.J. & Baddeley, A.D. 2012. Executive functions and self-regulation. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 16(3): 174–180. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2012.01.006.

Hoy, K., Parsons, S. & Kovshoff, H. 2018. Inclusive school practices supporting the primary to secondary transition for autistic children: pupil, teacher, and parental perspectives. Advances in Autism, 4(4): 184–196. https://doi.org/10.1108/AIA-05-2018-0016

Hume, K. 2008. Transition time: Helping individuals on the autism spectrum move successfully from one activity to another. The Reporter, 13: 6–10. http://www.iidc.indiana.edu/irca/education/TransitionTime.html

Imam H. 2012. Educational policy in Nigeria from the colonial era to the post-independence period. Italian Journal of Sociology of Education, 4(1): 181–204. https://doi.org/10.14658/pupjijse-2012-1-8

Ismaila, R., Baharib, F., Rahimc, N.F.A., Seokd, C.B., Abdullahe, S. & Mutangf, J.A. 2016. Challenges and problems of school transition to workplace for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in ethnically diverse families. Asia Pacific Institute of Advanced Research, 2(2): 771–799.

Jackson, S.L.J., Hart, L., Brown, J.T. & Volkmar, F.R. 2018. Brief report: Self-reported academic, social and mental health experiences of post-secondary students with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 48(3): 643–650. https ://doi.org/10.1007/s1080 3-017-3315-x.

Janesick, V.J.2011. “Stretching” exercises for the qualitative researcher (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Kapp, S.K., Gantman, A. & Laugeson, E.A. 2011. Transition to adulthood for high functioning individuals with autism spectrum disorders. A Comprehensive Book on Autism Spectrum Disorders, 451–478.

Kurzius-Spencer, M., Pettygrove, S., Christensen, D., Pedersen, A.L., Cunniff, C., Meaney, F.J. & Rice, S. 2018. Behavioral problems in children with autism spectrum disorder with and without co-occurring intellectual disability. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 56: 61–71. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rasd.2018.09.002

Lagunju A, Bella-Awusah T.T. & Omigbodun, O.O. 2014. Autistic disorder in Nigeria: Profile and challenges to management. Epilepsy and Behaviour, 39: 126–129. https://doi. org/10.1016/j.yebeh.2014.08.020

Lei, J., Calley, S., Brosnan, M., Ashwin, C. & Russell, A. 2018. Evaluation of a transition to university programme for students with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 1–15. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6435-8_102485-1

Lequia, J., Wilkerson, K.L., Kim, S. & Lyons, G.L. 2015. Improving transition behaviors in students with autism spectrum disorders: A comprehensive evaluation of interventions in educational settings. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 17(3): 146–158. https://doi.org/10.1177/1098300714548799

Lesi, F.E., Adeyemi, J.D., Aina, O.F., Oshodi, Y.O., Umeh, C.S., Olagunju, A.T. & Oyibo, W. 2014. Autism in Nigeria: A call for action. Journal of Clinical Sciences, 11(2): 33. https://doi.org/10.4103/1595-9587.146494

Marsh, A., Spagnol, V., Grove, R. & Eapen, V. 2017. Transition to school for children with autism spectrum disorder: A systematic review. World Journal of Psychiatry, 7(3): 184. https://doi.org/10.5498/wjp.v7.i3.184

Martin, T., Dixon, R., Verenikina, I. & Costley, D. 2019. Transitioning primary school students with Autism Spectrum Disorder from a special education setting to a mainstream classroom: successes and difficulties. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 1–16. DOI: 10.1080/13603116.2019.1568597

Martin, T., Dixon, R., Verenikina, I. & Costley, D. 2019. Transitioning primary school students with Autism Spectrum Disorder from a special education setting to a mainstream classroom: successes and difficulties. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 1–16. https://doi.org/10.1080/13603116.2019.1568597

Maskey, M., Warnell, F., Parr, J. R., Le Couteur, A. & McConachie, H. 2013. Emotional and behavioural problems in children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 43(4): 851–859. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-012-1622-9

Maxwell, J.A. 2013. Qualitative research design: An interactive approach, 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Meiring, M., Seabi, J., Amod, Z., Vorster, A. & Kern, A. 2016. Transition for adolescents with autism spectrum disorder: South African parent and professional perspectives. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 7: 93. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2016.00093

Mthombeni, Z.C. & Nwoye, A. 2018. Black South African caregivers’ understanding and responses to their children with autism spectrum disorder symptoms: a qualitative study. South African Journal of Psychology, 48(1): 99–111. https://doi.org/10.1177/0081246317696453

Neubauer, B.E., Witkop, C.T. & Varpio, L. 2019. How phenomenology can help us learn from the experiences of others. Perspectives on Medical Education, 8(2): 90–97. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40037-019-0509-2

Nowell, L.S., Norris, J.M., White, D.E. & Moules, N.J. 2017. Thematic analysis: Striving to meet the trustworthiness criteria. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 16: 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1177/1609406917733847

Nuske, H. J., McGhee Hassrick, E., Bronstein, B., Hauptman, L., Aponte, C., Levato, L. & Smith, T. 2019. Broken bridges – new school transitions for students with autism spectrum disorder: A systematic review on difficulties and strategies for success. Autism, 23(2): 306–325. https://doi.org/10.1177/1362361318754529

Nyumba, T., Wilson, K., Derrick, C.J. & Mukherjee, N. 2018. The use of focus group discussion methodology: Insights from two decades of application in conservation. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 9(1): 20–32. https://doi.org/10.1111/2041-210X.12860

Petriwskyj, A. 2010. Kindergarten transitions and linkages to primary school-readiness reconceptualised. In P. Peterson, E. Baker & B. McGaw (Eds.). International encyclopedia of education (pp. 120–125). Oxford: Elsevier. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-08-044894-7.01180-5

Schlossberg, N.K. 2011. The challenge of change: The transition model and its applications. Journal of Employment Counseling, 48(4): 159. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.2161-1920.2011.tb01102.x

Shattuck, P.T., Narendorf, S.C., Cooper, B., Sterzing, P.R., Wagner, M. & Taylor, J.L. 2012. Postsecondary education and employment among youth with an autism spectrum disorder. Pediatrics, 129(6): 1042–1049. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2011-2864

Shi, Z. 2011. Dilemmas in using phenomenology to investigate elementary school children learning English as a second language. In Education, 17(1): 3–13. https://doi.org/10.37119/ojs2011.v17i1.88

Strand, G.M. 2019. Experiencing the transition to lower secondary school: Students’ voices. International Journal of Educational Research, 97: 13-21. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijer.2019.06.009

Tay, H.Y., Kee, K.N.N. & Hui, S.K.F. 2019. Effective questioning and feedback for learners with autism in an inclusive classroom. Cogent Education, 6(1): 1–19. https://doi.org/10.1080/2331186X.2019.1634920

Van Schalkwyk G.I., Beyer, C. & de Vries P.J. 2016. South Africa and autism. In F.R. Volkmar (Ed.). Encyclopedia of autism spectrum disorders (pp. 1–7). New York: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6435-8_102111-1

Wehman, P., Schall, C., Carr, S., Targett, P., West, M. & Cifu, G., 2014. Transition from school to adulthood for youth with autism spectrum disorder: What we know and what we need to know. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 25(1): 30–40. https://doi.org/10.1177/1044207313518071

West, P., Sweeting, H. & Young, R. 2010. Transition matters: pupils’ experiences of the primary–secondary school transition in the West of Scotland and consequences for well-being and attainment. Research Papers in Education, 25(1): 21–50. https://doi.org/10.1080/02671520802308677

Zager, D. & Shamow, N. 2005. Teaching students with autism spectrum disorders. Autism Spectrum Disorders: Identification, Education, and Treatment, 3: 589. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781410611260

Published

2021-06-11

How to Cite

Sefotho, M. M., & Onyishi, C. N. (2021). In-school transition challenges among primary school learners with autism spectrum disorders in South Africa: Parents and teachers’ perspectives. Perspectives in Education, 39(2), 283-302. https://doi.org/10.18820/2519593X/pie.v39.i2.20

Issue

Section

Research articles