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Children with autistic spectrum disorder in early childhood education programs: A social constructivist perspective on inclusion

Walker, Sue & Berthelsen, Donna C. (2008) Children with autistic spectrum disorder in early childhood education programs: A social constructivist perspective on inclusion. International Journal of Early Childhood, 40(1), pp. 33-51.

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Abstract

This research investigated the nature of play activities and the social engagement of young children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in inclusive early childhood settings. Twelve focus children with a diagnosis of ASD participated in the research. These children were enrolled in regular early childhood education programs with typically developing peers aged four to five years. A comparison group of 30 children with typical development were also included in the research. Children completed the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT) to assess their linguistic competence. Time-sampled observations of free play activities were made in the preschool settings on two occasions for periods of one hour. Teachers also provided an assessment of children’s peer acceptance and social behaviour. The observational data and teacher reports indicated that the focus children spent proportionally less time than their peers in activities requiring higher levels of social skills. However, focus children engaged in most types of play but with lower levels of engagement than the comparison group. This indicated that the focus children were able to perform the play and social behaviours that were of interest in the observations. These children with ASD were capable of more extensive social and play engagement because they had demonstrated the requisite skills. These results indicated the need for greater teacher support to scaffold and support the interactions of children with ASD with their typically developing peers in order to increase their social and play participation in inclusive programs.

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ID Code: 12977
Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Access to the author-version is currently restricted pending permission from the publisher. For more information, please refer to the journal's website (see hypertext link) or contact the author.
Keywords: autistic spectrum disorder, inclusive programs, social constructivism
DOI: 10.1007/BF03168362
ISSN: 0020-7187
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > SPECIALIST STUDIES IN EDUCATION (130300) > Special Education and Disability (130312)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100) > Early Childhood Education (excl. Maori) (130102)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Current > Schools > School of Early Childhood
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 OMEP Publications
Deposited On: 12 Mar 2008
Last Modified: 30 Oct 2013 10:39

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