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From Eye to Us: Prerequisites for and levels of participation in mainstream school of persons with Autism Spectrum Conditions
Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, CHILD.
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Children with Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) are included and thus expected to participate in mainstream schools. However, ASC are characterized by poor communication and difficulties in understanding social information; factors likely to have negative influences on participation. Hence, this thesis studied body functions hypothesized to affect social interaction and both perceived and observed participation of students with ASC in mainstream schools.

Case-control studies were conducted to explore visual strategies used for face identification and required for recognition of facially expressed emotions in adults with ASC. Consistency of these visual strategies was tested in static and interactive dynamic conditions. A systematic review of the literature explored parents’ perceptions of factors contributing to inclusive school settings for their children with ASC. Questionnaires were used to investigate perceived participation in students with ASC and their classmates. Correlations between activities the students wanted to do and reported to participate in were identified. Teachers’ accuracy in rating their students with ASCs’ perception of participation was investigated. Furthermore, correlations between the accuracy of teachers’ ratings and the teachers’ self-reported professional experience, support and personal interest were examined. Correlations between teachers’ ratings and their reported classroom actions were also analysed. The frequency and level of engagement in social interactions of students with ASC and their classmates were also observed. Correlations between observed frequencies and self-rated levels of social interactions were explored.

The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health-Version for Children and Youth (ICF-CY) has been used as a structural framework, since ICF-CY enables complex information to be ordered and possible interactions between aspects in different components and factors to be identified. In regard to Body Functioning, difficulties identifying faces and recognizing basic facially expressed emotions in adults with ASC were established. The visual strategies displayed a high stability across stimuli conditions. Teachers’ knowledge about their students with ASC, in addition to their ability to implement ASCspecific teaching strategies, was emphasized as enhancing Environmental Factors for participation. Students with ASC reported less participation and fewer social interactions than their classmates, which could be interpreted as activity limitations and participation restrictions. However, in regard to some activities, they may have participated to the extent they wanted to. Compared with classmates, observations of students with ASC showed that they participated less frequently in social interactions, but were not less involved when they actually did. No correlations were found between perceived participation and observed social interactions in students with ASC.

Teachers rated their students with ASCs’ perceived participation with good precision. Their understanding of the students with ASCs’ perception correlated with activities to improve the attitudes of classmates and adaptation of tasks. No such correlations were found in regard to reported activities aimed at enhancing social relations.

The ability to process faces is usually well established in adults. Poor face processing can impact social functioning and the difficulties in face processing found in adults with ASC are probably the result of

developmental deviations during childhood. Therefore, monitoring and assessing face processing abilities in students with ASC is important, in order to tailor interventions that aim to enhance participation in the social environment of mainstream schools.

Since participation is a complex construct, interventions need to be complex, as well. In order to facilitate positive peer relations, teachers need to provide Activities adapted to the interests and social abilities of the students with ASC, and in which students with and without ASC can experience positive interactions. This requires that teachers assess all aspects that can affect Participation, including Environmental Factors, and the student’s functioning in regard to Activities and Body Functions. To enhance social interactions, interventions must be planned based on these assessments. If needed, interventions may require teaching students with ASC visual strategies, in order to enhance face processing and thereby the ability to recognize faces and facially expressed emotions. Observations together with self-reported information regarding the students’ preferences and their involvement constitute a basis for the planning and evaluating of such interventions. To include self-determination aspects could allow for possible interventions to be tailored in line with the students’ perceived needs and their own wishes, rather than primarily meeting a standard set by a control group. However, good insight into the students’ perception of Participation may not be enough. In order to adapt teaching instructions, communication and activities teachers also need ASC specific knowledge.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Jönköping: School of Education and Communication , 2013. , 175 p.
Series
Doktorsavhandlingar från Högskolan för lärande och kommunikation, ISSN 1652-7933 ; 17
Series
Studies from Swedish Institute for Disability Research, ISSN 1650-1128 ; 43
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-20169ISBN: 978-91-637-2091-8 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-20169DiVA: diva2:581674
Public defence
2013-01-23, Hb116, School of Education and Communication, University Campus Gjuterigatan 5 553 18, Jönköping, 13:15 (Swedish)
Supervisors
Available from: 2013-01-02 Created: 2013-01-02 Last updated: 2013-01-14Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. The importance of the eye area in face identification abilities and visual search strategies in persons with Asperger syndrome
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The importance of the eye area in face identification abilities and visual search strategies in persons with Asperger syndrome
2010 (English)In: Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, ISSN 1750-9467, E-ISSN 1878-0237, Vol. 4, no 4, 724-730 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Partly claimed to explain social difficulties observed in people with Asperger syndrome, face identification and visual search strategies become important. Previous research findings are, however, disparate. In order to explore face identification abilities and visual search strategies, with special focus on the importance of the eye area, 24 adults with Asperger syndrome and matched controls viewed puzzle pieced photos of faces, in order to identify them as one of three intact photos of persons. Every second puzzle pieced photo had the eyes distorted. Fixation patterns were measured by an eye tracker. Adults with Asperger syndrome had greater difficulties in identifying faces than controls. However, the entire face identification superiority in controls was found in the condition when the eyes were distorted supporting that adults with Aspergers syndrome do use the eye region to a great extent in face identification. The visual search strategies in controls were more effective and relied on the use of the ‘face information triangle’, i.e. the two eyes and the mouth, while adults with Asperger syndrome had more fixations on other parts of the face, both when obtaining information and during the identification part, suggesting a less effective use of the ‘face information triangle’.

National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-11518 (URN)10.1016/j.rasd.2010.01.011 (DOI)
Available from: 2010-01-27 Created: 2010-01-27 Last updated: 2017-08-30Bibliographically approved
2. Recognition of facially expressed emotions and visual search strategies in adults with Asperger syndrome
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Recognition of facially expressed emotions and visual search strategies in adults with Asperger syndrome
2011 (English)In: Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, ISSN 1750-9467, E-ISSN 1878-0237, Vol. 5, no 1, 210-217 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Can the disadvantages persons with Asperger syndrome frequently experience with reading facially expressed emotions be attributed to a different visual perception, affecting their scanning patterns? Visual search strategies, particularly regarding the importance of information from the eye area, and the ability to recognise facially expressed emotions were compared between 24 adults with Asperger syndrome and their matched controls. While wearing a head mounted eye tracker, the participants viewed 12 pairs of photos of faces. The first photo in each pair was cut up into puzzle pieces. Six of the 12 puzzle pieced photos had the eyes bisected. The second photo showed a happy, an angry and a surprised face of the same person as in the puzzle pieced photo. Differences in visual search strategies between the groups were established. Adults with Asperger syndrome had greater difficulties recognizing these basic emotions than controls. The distortion of the eye area affected the ability to identify emotions even more negatively for participants with Asperger syndrome.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier Ltd, 2011
Keyword
Basic emotions; Eye movements, Fixation durations, Fixation patterns, Social development
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-12314 (URN)10.1016/j.rasd.2010.03.013 (DOI)000283953800021 ()
Available from: 2010-05-28 Created: 2010-05-28 Last updated: 2017-08-30Bibliographically approved
3. The influences of static and interactive dynamic facial stimuli on visual strategies in persons with Asperger syndrome
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The influences of static and interactive dynamic facial stimuli on visual strategies in persons with Asperger syndrome
2011 (English)In: Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, ISSN 1750-9467, E-ISSN 1878-0237, Vol. 5, no 2, 935-940 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Several studies, using eye tracking methodology, suggest that different visual strategies in persons with autism spectrum conditions, compared with controls, are applied when viewing facial stimuli. Most eye tracking studies are, however, made in laboratory settings with either static (photos) or non-interactive dynamic stimuli, such as video clips. Whether or not these results are transferable to a “real world” dialogue situation remains unclear. In order to examine the consistency of visual strategies across conditions, a comparison of two static conditions and an interactive dynamic “real world” condition, in 15 adults with Asperger syndrome and 15 matched controls, was made using an eye tracker. The static stimuli consisted of colour photos of faces, while a dialogue between the participants and the test leader created the interactive dynamic condition. A within-group comparison showed that people with AS, and their matched controls, displayed a high degree of stability in visual strategies when viewing faces, regardless of the facial stimuli being static or real, as in the interactive dynamic condition. The consistency in visual strategies within the participants suggests that results from studies with static facial stimuli provide important information on individual visual strategies that may be generalized to “real world” situations.

Keyword
Consistency across conditions, Eye tracking, Facial stimuli, Fixation durations, Number of fixations
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-14245 (URN)10.1016/j.rasd.2010.11.003 (DOI)000286994500029 ()
Available from: 2011-01-14 Created: 2011-01-10 Last updated: 2017-08-30Bibliographically approved
4. From my perspective - Perceived participation in mainstream schools in students with autism spectrum conditions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>From my perspective - Perceived participation in mainstream schools in students with autism spectrum conditions
2012 (English)In: Developmental Neurorehabilitation, ISSN 1751-8423, E-ISSN 1751-8431, Vol. 15, no 3, 191-201 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objectives: To examine perceived participation in students with ASC and their classmates in mainstream schools and to investigate correlations between activities the students wanted to do and actually participated in.

Methods: Twenty-two students with ASC and their 382 classmates responded to a 46-item questionnaire regarding perceived participation in mainstream schools.

Results: On 57% of the items, students with ASC perceived lower participation than their classmates. These results emphasize the importance of knowledge about students’ perceived participation. However, positive correlations between what the students wanted to do and actually did indicate that students with ASC may be participating to the extent that they wanted.

Conclusion: Students with ASC perceived lower overall participation in mainstream school than their classmates. The correlations between “I want to” and “I do” statements in students with ASC indicated that aspects of autonomy are important to incorporate when studying, and interpreting, self-rated participation in mainstream schools.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Informa Healthcare, 2012
Keyword
education, elementary school, inclusion, integration, survey
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-20067 (URN)10.3109/17518423.2012.671382 (DOI)000304094500004 ()
Available from: 2012-12-06 Created: 2012-12-06 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
5. Can you see it too? Correlations between observed and self-rated participation in mainstream schools for students with and without autism spectrum conditions.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Can you see it too? Correlations between observed and self-rated participation in mainstream schools for students with and without autism spectrum conditions.
2012 (English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-20167 (URN)
Available from: 2013-01-02 Created: 2013-01-02 Last updated: 2016-03-03Bibliographically approved
6. Parents’ perspectives on inclusive schools for children with Autism Spectrum Conditions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Parents’ perspectives on inclusive schools for children with Autism Spectrum Conditions
2015 (English)In: International journal of disability, development and education, ISSN 1034-912X, E-ISSN 1465-346X, Vol. 62, no 1, 1-23 p.Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Children with autism spectrum conditions (ASC) increasingly participate in inclusive education. The present study reviewed studies of children with ASC for parents’ perceptions of aspects they believed contributed to inclusive mainstream school settings. Understanding the parental perspective on the facilitators for inclusion of their child with ASC in mainstream schools is likely to improve inclusive practice. Twenty-eight empirical articles revealed that parents perceived teachers as playing a vital role in the inclusion of their children with ASC. The school was considered important in creating an environment that enabled inclusion, particularly through positive peer relations, prevention of bullying and help from support staff. At the societal level, funding and legislative policies were considered important. By understanding these aspects, policy-makers, teachers, school administrators and therapists may better be able to address parents’ inclusion concerns and thereby develop strategies to improve inclusion in mainstream schools.

Keyword
autism spectrum disorders, communications, inclusion, mainstream school, parental perspective, peer relations, systematic review, teacher
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-20168 (URN)10.1080/1034912X.2014.984589 (DOI)000348513700001 ()2-s2.0-84921757018 (Scopus ID)HLKCHILDIS, HHJCHILDIS (Local ID)HLKCHILDIS, HHJCHILDIS (Archive number)HLKCHILDIS, HHJCHILDIS (OAI)
Available from: 2013-01-02 Created: 2013-01-02 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
7. Looking through the Same Eyes?: Do Teachers’ Participation Ratings Match with Ratings of Students with Autism Spectrum Conditions in Mainstream Schools?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Looking through the Same Eyes?: Do Teachers’ Participation Ratings Match with Ratings of Students with Autism Spectrum Conditions in Mainstream Schools?
2012 (English)In: Autism Research and Treatment, ISSN 2090-1925, E-ISSN 2090-1933, Vol. 2012, 1-13 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

To create an inclusive classroom and act accordingly, teachers’ understanding of the experiences of participation of students with autism spectrum conditions (ASCs) is crucial. This understanding may depend on the teachers’ professional experiences, support and personal interests. The aim of the present questionnaire study was to investigate how well the teachers’ ratings of their students with ASCs’ perception of participation matched with the students’ own ratings. Furthermore, possible correlations between the accuracy of teachers’ ratings and the teachers’ self-reported professional experience, support (including support-staff), and personal interest were investigated. Teachers’ ratings were also used to examine how their understandings correlated with classroom actions. The agreements between teachers’ and students’ ratings were moderate to high, and the ability to attune to the students’ perception of participation was not affected by the presence of a support-staff. The teachers’ personal interest in teaching students with ASC correlated with their accuracy, suggesting that this is a factor to consider when planning for successful placements in mainstream schools. Teachers’ understandings of the students with ASCs’ perception of being bullied or unpopular correlated with implementation of activities to improve the attitudes of classmates, but not with actions to enhance social relations for the students with ASC.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Hindawi Publishing Corporation, 2012
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-20068 (URN)10.1155/2012/656981 (DOI)HHJCHILDIS, HLKCHILDIS (Local ID)HHJCHILDIS, HLKCHILDIS (Archive number)HHJCHILDIS, HLKCHILDIS (OAI)
Available from: 2012-12-06 Created: 2012-12-06 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved

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