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Impact of training in Autism on inclusive practices [2019]

Purpose
The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the impact of training on educational staff attitudes, sentiments, concerns and efficacy in providing support for children with Autism in mainstream settings.

Design/methodology/approach
The investigation adopted a pre-test/post-test, quasi-experimental, within-subject research design. In total, 35 early years educators, teachers and pupil support assistants from one Scottish Local Authority (LA) undertook training delivered by the LA’s Communication and Language Outreach Service. Measures included the Sentiments, Attitudes, and Concerns about Inclusive Education Revised (SACIE-R) scale and the teacher efficacy for inclusive practices (TEIP) scale pre and post-training. Post-training participants completed a questionnaire employing open and closed questions to assess perceived usefulness of training, application of knowledge and effectiveness of the teaching strategies.

Findings
Combining data from the three sectors there was a significant change in staff efficacy for inclusive practices (z=−3.406, p=0.001, p<0.05, with a medium effect size r=0.41) although there were differences between the sectors. There was a significant change in SACIE-R total scores (z=−3.945, p=0.000, p<0.05; with a medium effect size r=0.47), sentiments (z=−2.763, p=0.006, p<0.05; with a medium effect size r=0.33) and concerns (z=−3.685, p=0.000, p<0.05; with a medium effect size of r=0.44) subscale scores for the combined sector data. There was no significant change in the attitudes subscale scores for the combined sector data (z=−1.106, p=2.69, p>0.05; with a small effect size r=0.13) although there were differences between the sectors.

Research limitations/implications
Limitations include: small sample size, minor differences in the training in different sectors, purposeful sampling, use of questionnaire post-training, variability of completion of SCAIE-R and TEIP post-training.

Originality/value
There appears to be limited research into inclusive practices for children with Autism in the UK context, which this study aims to address.

Amy Dympna Nolan, Elizabeth Fraser Selkirk Hannah
Advances in Autism, 2019
DOI
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