Despite the availability of program principles, quality indicator checklists, and online resources to support the transition of students with disabilities within and across educational settings, parents continue to report inconsistent implementation of strategies to support the transition of students on the autism spectrum (Lilley, 2014). Although some autism-specific versions exist to inform and guide practice in schools, anecdotal evidence indicates that medium- and long-term use of these materials does not occur. There are resources available to support the transition into school and between primary and high school, so this project will focus on supporting teachers to make sure students on the autism spectrum continue to be supported after major transitions in mainstream school settings.
What will the research do?
This project will focus on the feasibility and sustainability of teaching practices to support students on the autism spectrum to make successful transitions between Year 7 and 8. After identifying potential models of practice and trialling them with a small group of teachers we will finalise the models of practice to be trialled in the participating schools. The models of practice will link to the General Capabilities of the Australian Curriculum to support in- class implementation. In order to evaluate how we might best support teachers, a qualified multi-disciplinary team from Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) or from Autism Queensland (AQ) will also provide mentoring either face-to-face, on-line, or by providing relevant information to teachers.
What do we hope to find out?
- Does providing teachers with models of practice to support transition increase the implementation of evidence-supported practices in the mainstream classroom?
- Does the type of support teachers’ receive impact on their use of models of practice in the classroom?
- Do teachers use the transition models of practice in a reliable and sustainable way?
How can you get involved?
To ensure we involve as wide a range of students and teachers as possible, we will work with 18 schools in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria, in metropolitan, regional and rural settings. This is a total of 54 schools so if you are interested, please get in touch.