Experiences of educational transition : young women with ASD, and the staff supporting them, speak

Essex, Jane and Melham, Pauline (2019) Experiences of educational transition : young women with ASD, and the staff supporting them, speak. Support for Learning, 34 (1). pp. 86-111. ISSN 1467-9604

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    Abstract

    The paper describes research into the factors that facilitate a smooth transition for young women with High Functioning Autism (HFA) as they move between secondary school and Sixth form or Further Education (FE) College. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with four young women with HFA and, additionally, with four members of education staff responsible for supporting young women with HFA, across a variety of school and FE settings. This research revealed transition planning focuses almost exclusively on academic progression and is likely to be an ad hoc collection of arrangements, which places an undue burden of organisation upon parents and carers. The data suggests that, in order for transition to be successful, it needs to be systematically planned over an extended time period and to take into account the social, organisational, employment and residential elements which affect an individual’s educational experience. The evidence also points to the importance of ‘taster’ experiences to inform decisions and prepare students for impending change. The final recommendation arising is that support for these students should continue be sustained after transition points, being reduced only as the students settle into their new environment.