Sue Benton

Department: Graduate School of Education
Discipline: Psychology
Research Centre/Unit: Creativity and Emergent Educational-Futures Network

Project Summary

Integration or Inclusion?  An exploration of inclusive mainstream education for individuals with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Current literature highlights the importance of advancing research in this area.  Thus the difference between full inclusion (acceptance) and integration (adapting to fit in).  Literature identifies potential difficulties that evidence integration as opposed to inclusion for individuals with ASD in mainstream education.  For example, Humphrey and Lewis (2008) identified that individuals with ASD are 20 times more likely to be excluded than ‘typically developing’ individuals. The reality of inclusivity is, therefore, somewhat different from the ‘loud legislative voices’, numerous research has identified the difficulties experienced by individuals with ASD in mainstream schools, from behaviour and social interaction difficulties (Camargo et al., 2014) and a lack of belongingness (Boer and Pijl, 2016), to education professionals’ perspective (Humphrey and Symes, 2013). The concept of integration or inclusion provides the bedrock for a critical theoretical approach, affording analysis of political, ethical and emancipatory questions from a posthumanist perspective.

My proposed research highlights the lack of the individuals 'voice', therefore, methodology will focus on “listening to their life stories”; a qualitative timeline narrative approach.  Methods emphasize the 'voice' of the individual, including multiple and diverse data collection methods selected by the participants.  Working collaboratively with participants will ensure ownership of their narratives, both in collection of data, transcription, interpretation and analysis; providing authenticity.  Participant diffractive analysis and thematic coding are being considered as analytical tools.  Ethics/live ethics are particularly relevant when asking individuals to recall potentially difficult experiences, therefore, transparency and maintaining participants’ control over the process and their data will be key to successful exploration of their experieinces.



Supervisory Team

To be confirmed.

Wider Research Interests

Other areas of interest:

  • Colonising and decolonising processes in education.
  • Complex systems and symbiotic connections in the emergence of 'unknowns'.
  • Transformative, emergent and emancipatory education.
  • Inclusive Lifelong Learning as a normative process.