Using creative methods to research and support autistic children in their transition to secondary school (Student Project)

Chloe East.

PhD Psychology.

Transitioning from primary to secondary school can be challenging for autistic children and their families. Issues with home/school communication, organisational challenges and concerns about bullying and friendships have all been found to be particularly stressful for the child and his or her family at this time.  Although research has identified some of the barriers to a successful transition, there has been little published about the efficacy of strategies to support the transition.

This research will study and support the transition using creative methods.  Body mapping is a participatory research method which will encourage the children to share their embodied experience of transitions.  The outcomes will be used as the basis for a series of drama workshops exploring the hopes and challenges of the children as they move to their new schools.  Resources to ease the concerns identified will be developed in conjunction with the children and their parents.

The project aims to answer the following research questions:

  1. How can body mapping support autistic children to express their feeling around transitions?
  2. How can drama be used to support autistic children in their transition to secondary school?
  3. What do parents of autistic children need to know in order to support their child’s transition to secondary school?
  4. How can parents’ knowledge be used to support the development of a transition communication tool?