Educational Transitions and Trajectories for Children and Young People with Autism: A Literature Review (Student Project)

Caitlin Murray.

MSc Foundations of Clinical Psychology.

This project focuses on reviewing the current literature to gain an understanding of the current research and evidence base surrounding the educational trajectories and transitions of children and young people with autism, which is the focus of the ACoRNS project.  Transitions can be divided into horizontal or vertical transitions, where horizontal transitions indicate daily movements between settings and situations, for example between home and school, and vertical transitions indicate a movement from one level or agency to another, for example the transition between primary and secondary school.  The majority of the research currently identified focuses on vertical transitions, although research indicates that horizontal transitions are often of greater concern to parents and families of children with autism.

This project will include literature reviews for each transitional period, including the preschool to primary, primary to secondary, secondary to further or higher education, and post-education transitions.  Educational trajectories will also be investigated.

Findings so far indicate that research often relies on the perspectives of parents and teachers, who often spoke about the struggle to be heard and listened to, the stigma surrounding autism, and the value of support and communication with professionals and school staff members, as well as discussing helpful and unhelpful transition strategies.  The current focus on this project is on the preschool-to-primary and the primary-to-secondary transition.  The overall aim of this project is to provide a full review of the research and evidence to establish gaps in our knowledge, to identify future research priorities of the autism community and to identify the role of ACoRNS within this area. You can read in detail about the project’s findings here.