Transitioning primary school students with Autism Spectrum Disorder from a special education setting to a mainstream classroom: successes and difficulties

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International Journal of Inclusive Education


Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are increasingly being educated in mainstream classroom environments. Commonly students commence their education in a segregated setting, transitioning to mainstream education after a process of skills development. For each student, transition is a unique and complex process. In NSW Australia, Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) offers a satellite classroom placement, in which students are provided with specialised education with the goal of future transition supported by the Aspect transition programme. This article examines the successes and difficulties experienced by three primary school students who transitioned from an Aspect satellite classroom to a mainstream classroom environment during primary school. Utilising Rogoff’s sociocultural framework, it analyses the transition process from the perspective of personal, interpersonal, institutional and cross-institutional contexts. Results identified several factors that facilitated successful transition, including careful pre-transition preparation, adequate cross-institutional communication, and the adoption of appropriate strategies in the receiving school. However, it was acknowledged that there were difficulties which students encountered at all levels of their context. This research adds to the scarce research literature on factors influencing transition to a mainstream setting for students with ASD.

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