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Title: A case study with specific reference to the role of parents in the teaching and learning of a residential special school for children with autism.
Authors: Hubbard, Robert Graham
Advisors: Jones, D
Evans, R
Keywords: Education programme- evaluation;Development, progress and attainment;Parental perceptions, expectations and outcomes.;Education care and treatment of children with severe learning difficulties and co-morbid conditions.;Interventions - TEACCH
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Brunel University London.
Abstract: Context: The purpose of this research was to examine if the educational approach (the Approach) adopted at Kilnbarn Residential Special School (the School) secured the developmental learning pathways for its pupils. All pupils were diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Severe Learning Difficulties (SLD) and many had single or multiple comorbid conditions. The research sought to understand how their parents could be substantive partners and co-creators in the design, modification, and implementation of the Approach. It was a unique feature of Kilnbarn’s Approach to fulfil the potential of parents to be co-creators and co-therapists in their child’s progress. Objective: The case study became one of the instruments in which to test the School’s effectiveness in meeting the needs of its pupils. It enabled a review of the School’s methodology, curriculum and organisational practices. The Approach was designed to provide secure developmental learning pathways for its pupils, improving their quality of life and independence. Method: The case study design, was chosen as it was considered the most appropriate research model. A Parents’ Questionnaire, distributed annually over 3 consecutive years (2004-6) was the evidential basis for this study. Interviews and collected data were used to analyse and evaluate the progress of the School through parents’ eyes. Results: The combination of parents working with professionals to maximise the culture of “technical eclecticism” seems to be, in the light of this case study, best suited to the needs of children diagnosed with autism, SLD and comorbid conditions. The child should be immersed in a consistent approach across all areas of their life. Improvements in well-being, communication and joint action routines, sleep balance, a healthy diet, physical exercise, incontinence and behaviours was observed. Conclusion The study identified that parents could be substantive partners and influencers in the design and modification of the Kilnbarn Approach. The Approach secured developmental learning pathways for its pupils and appeared to improve their quality of life. Parents as co-creators and co-therapists had regained ownership of their child’s quality of life, learning outcomes and personal development. From the experience and unique evidence of this case study schools should utilise and profit from the mass resource of their parents. It has been shown that the Kilnbarn Approach was, during the research, an effective and suitable intervention for the many children it served. It is hoped that further studies in this field will explore the concept of a “technical eclectic” approach that further validates and brings together interventions that are conceptually grounded and incorporates evidence-based focused intervention practices.  
Description: This thesis was submitted for the award of Doctor of Philosophy and was awarded by Brunel University London.
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Dept of Education Theses

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