There are many changes that children must negotiate when transitioning between primary and secondary school. These include dealing with new, much larger and busier environments, meeting raised expectations of autonomy and planning, and managing different expectations from up to seven different teachers each day. While some primary to secondary transitions are planned well, many are poorly managed and can lead to anxiety and resistance to school which can result in poor attendance or school refusal.
While the primary to secondary transition for autistic children has been the focus of research, much of this focuses on the views of teachers and parents. Opportunities for autistic young people to share their stories in a meaningful way are rare. Even more rare are the voices of autistic girls who are less likely than boys to have been identified as autistic by the time they transition to secondary school.
This research, therefore, prioritises the voices of autistic girls as central to our learning about transitions. Read on to find out more about us and what we have been doing.
Who are we?
We are a research group made up of six autistic girls and one researcher/ex-teacher. Click on our biographies to find out more about us.
Our name – Fizzacc – is made up of our initials. We particularly like it because if you google it, it autocorrects to pizza!
What do we do?
We have been considering how we can use our experiences of education and of transitions to support other children. One of the ways in which we have been doing this is by using body mapping. This has involved making life-sized representations of ourselves and drawing, writing and collaging images that represent our feelings and experiences. Here are some images from our body maps.
How can you get involved?
Based on the experiences we shared of transitions we have designed some resources that we hope will help teachers and pupils to better understand what it is like to be an autistic girl in school. The resources will available for anyone to use and will be available to download here in July 2022. If you have any questions about what we have created or would like any further information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are recruiting!
We are looking for primary or secondary schools who would be interested in trying out our resources and answering some questions about them. If you would like to be involved please contact email@example.com.
This research is being funded by the ESRC through the South Coast Doctoral Training Partnership