We are delighted to welcome Dr Ruth Moyse as an ACoRNS Visiting Fellow at the University. Ruth’s Doctoral research at the University of Reading was titled: ‘Missing: The autistic girls absent from mainstream secondary schools’.
Ruth drew upon a range of data including from the Department for Education and the NHS and, most crucially, from semi-structured, participatory interviews with 10 adolescent autistic females. Her findings showed that the number of autistic female pupils at mainstream schools in England is increasing, and that adolescent autistic girls were more likely than autistic boys or non-autistic boys or girls to be persistent absentees. NHS data from one region in the South East showed that the mean age of referral for girls was decreasing, but that boys were still referred and diagnosed younger, and that there were wide discrepancies in rates of referral between different regions.
The lived experiences of autistic females were powerful and highlighted that they wanted to be in a school, learning but felt disengaged and excluded from school environments that were profoundly damaging to their mental health. The lack of support and understanding they experienced were partly the result of their voice being undermined or overlooked, contrary to UK legislation and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). Ruth’s research outlines some important implications for practice and her thesis can be accessed here.
We are very much looking forward to working with Ruth and drawing on her expertise to inform ACoRNS research. Ruth says:
“I’m thrilled to join with the ACoRNS team, having long been a fan! Working with people who share the same passion for genuinely participatory autism research is really exciting and is a chance for me to learn from new colleagues with a breadth of experience, as well as contribute from my perspective as an autistic woman. I hope to get involved with some existing projects as well as plan some future research and am open to whatever other opportunities arise!”
Ruth can be contacted via email: R.Moyse@soton.ac.uk . You can also follow Ruth on Twitter at @mum2aspergirl.