Social Inclusion of Young Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder in Australian early Childhood Programs

Walker, Sue & Berthelsen, Donna C. (2007) Social Inclusion of Young Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder in Australian early Childhood Programs. In Australasian Human Development Association, 5th - 8th July, 2007, University of NSW, Sydney. (Unpublished)



Social integration is achieved when young children with disabilities receive sufficient support to make social connections with typically developing children. Social constructivist theory can inform understanding about how play interactions with peers support the learning of young children with developmental disabilities in inclusive programs. This study investigated play and social interactions of young children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Australian inclusive early childhood settings. There were 12 focus children with a diagnosis of ASD who were enrolled in regular preschool settings with typically developing four to five-year-old peers. Observations were made across two free-play periods of one hour resulting in 50 observations of play activity and peer engagement for each child. Teachers provided an assessment of children’s peer acceptance and social behaviour. Teacher report and observational data indicated that focus children spent proportionally less time than their peers in activities requiring higher levels of social skill and more sophisticated thinking. Teachers also reported that the focus children were not well accepted by their peers. Results are discussed in terms of how more active adult intervention in play and social activities in inclusive early education programs would benefit children with ASD. Teachers can arrange for children’s participation in activities and offer resources that support and challenge their thinking. The inclusion of children with developmental disabilities in a community of learners provides all participants with opportunities to learn.

Impact and interest:

Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

603 since deposited on 07 Apr 2008
16 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 13250
Item Type: Conference Item (Poster)
Refereed: No
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Inclusive education, Early Childhood, Disability
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: Past > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2007 (please consult author)
Deposited On: 07 Apr 2008 00:00
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 12:57

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page