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Scottish teachers' experiences of the effectiveness of nurture groups in supporting autistic children

Symeonidou, Christina and Robinson, Anna (2018) Scottish teachers' experiences of the effectiveness of nurture groups in supporting autistic children. The International Journal of Nurture in Education, 4 (1). pp. 45-56.

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Nurture groups (NGs) are recognised as an effective early practice for the development of children with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties (SEBD). Early educators outline enhanced social and emotional development, academic attainment and secure attachments with peers and adults. Nevertheless, there is limited data reporting on the efficacy of this approach for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This small-scale phenomenological study reports Scottish primary teachers’ experiences of NGs in promoting wellbeing in autistic pupils. Data were gathered through an online questionnaire. Results were mixed in that they suggest some significant progress in academic attainment, with slight improvements in emotional and social functioning. After the inclusion of pupils in NGs, continued positive impact appeared to persist with both difficulties in emotional expression and in forming secure attachments with peers and adults. This indicates that for good NG practice for autistic pupils there is a need for structural modifications and curriculum adaptations to create an ‘autismfriendly’ environment.