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Brewster, S and Coleyshaw, L (in press) Participation or Exclusion? Perspectives of Pupils with Autistic Spectrum Disorders on their participation in leisure.

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Presentation on theme: "Brewster, S and Coleyshaw, L (in press) Participation or Exclusion? Perspectives of Pupils with Autistic Spectrum Disorders on their participation in leisure."— Presentation transcript:

1 Brewster, S and Coleyshaw, L (in press) Participation or Exclusion? Perspectives of Pupils with Autistic Spectrum Disorders on their participation in leisure activities. British Journal of Learning Disabilities Dr Stephanie Brewster

2 Research commissioned by Walsall Primary Care Trust (2009): Access to leisure activities: The perceptions of children and young people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder or ADHD and their parents/carers. The research team: Dr David Thompson Dr Judith Whitmarsh Liz Southern Dr Stephanie Brewster Dr Mahmoud Emira

3 The importance of Children’s perspectives UN Convention on the Rights of the Child emphasizes the right of children to express opinions about issues that affect them Childcare Act (2006) placed a duty on local authorities to have regard to the views of young children in the design and implementation of services relating to them (Dickins, 2008). But those children with complex and/or communication difficulties are more likely to be overlooked in consultation (Mitchell, Franklin, Greco, & Bell, 2009).

4 C&YP with ASD as research participants ‘gate keepers’ could prevent or facilitate their participation: Some schools assumed the children’s agreement Other schools were not willing/able to allow access Some parents were supportive in principle but had reservations

5 Children & Young People sample & methods Total of 19 C&YP (Focus Groups) School selection: mainstream and special Representation: age, gender, high/low functioning 1 to 1 Interview (YP) Preparation & implementation of communication supports

6 We wanted to find out… what do the children currently do in their leisure time? what they would like to do in future? And what difficulties, if any, the do the children encounter in accessing leisure activities?

7 Accessing their views was challenging limited motivation to communicate difficulties understanding abstract concepts such as ‘leisure time’, and emotions/preferences such as ‘like’ and ‘dislike’ impaired understanding and use of language Impairments of social interaction, communication, rigidity of behaviour and thought

8 What we did to address the challenges use of visual props e.g. graphic symbols Involving others who know the child well Using children’s own alternative and augmentative systems of communication Q’s differentiated according to pupil verbal/cognitive processing abilities (pre- determined in discussion with teaching/support staff)

9 Findings: Current access Family orientated Age as a determinant Access to information Level of functioning Safety My mum won’t let me. I don’t go out in the street Girl falling in the pool I never make a move with anything without gaining as much information about it first. You don’t always know what’s round the corner.

10 Findings: Exploring the options Younger children expressed a range of desired activities Older children had fewer ideas and were less enthusiastic Social anxieties/friendships I get that kind of abuse every night I walk home - I just ignore them If there’s no-one round in the street, you can get there by yourself

11 Findings: difficulties encountered Reluctance to go out Interests Friendships Unique position of some C&YP with ASD Sometimes I want to …but sometimes I feel I can’t I don’t have any friends…you don’t want to embarrass yourself so you just don’t try Humans are very complex beings I don’t fit in mainstream and I don’t fit in specialist – I’m in between

12 More details about the project as a whole are at You will be able to read the full article at


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