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Teacher insights into the barriers and facilitators of learning in autism.

McDougal, E. and Riby, D.M. and Hanley, E. (2020) 'Teacher insights into the barriers and facilitators of learning in autism.', Research in autism spectrum disorders., 79 . p. 101674.


Background: Little is known about the factors impacting on learning for autistic pupils, even though academic outcomes are highly heterogeneous. The aim of the current study was to qualitatively explore factors that are perceived to impact positively (i.e. facilitators) and negatively (i.e. barriers) upon learning for primary school pupils with an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis. Method: Semistructured interviews were conducted with ten teachers currently engaged in teaching autistic pupils, which were analysed using thematic analysis. Results: Three key themes were identified: pupil’s behaviours and abilities (factors related to the child’s behaviour, cognition or personality), academic environment (physical and contextual), and teacher skills and qualities (e.g. training, trust and relationships). Conclusions: A range of factors were therefore identified by teachers, some of which corroborate with existing research, while other findings provide novel insights. Priorities for facilitating learning are discussed, as well as key areas for future investigation and potential intervention.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license(
Date accepted:21 September 2020
Date deposited:23 September 2020
Date of first online publication:20 October 2020
Date first made open access:28 October 2020

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