Hello again Ouch,
As promised in the first thread, I got the confirmation to go ahead with the above title to complete for the AS level Extended Projects Qualification - been working my backside off for the summer to get the majority of it done and dusted before I would begin my full investigations.
A bit of a large image, but it will suffice - you can see who I am in the picture above (Alex Rider - no pics yet, unless you try finding me on Facebook *Cough*).
This study will be revolving around the interpretivist (or 'Meanings Behind Issues') view which is to investigate whether the current education system within the Essex region is sufficiently providing for the needs of Autistic Students in achieving two main themes:
- Is the system working for autistic students in the academical sphere? (e.g. Grades, In-Education Achievements)
- Is the system working for autistic students in the social sphere (e.g. Social Skills, Employment Preparation, etc.)
In general, I thought I would give a lowdown of what's been done so far and allow you to chime in with advice if you so wish - if you live in the Essex region and have been in the Secondary-Age education within the dates listed [1994-2011] with a child (or yourselves) with an ASD, then by all means do contact me if you wish to contribute. :)
Here's a Too long, didn't read version:
- Started off by listing my background into ASD and how in general, there is very little reports done in regards to ASD-specifically. Whilst numerous disablements means it's impossible to be 'fair', even my experiences have never shown any look into disabled student successes both academically and socially.
- Went into the theoretical perspective I would take. For a study such as this, quantifiable data is useful, but the meanings behind that data is more important, especially as for some people, there are areas of success. It's also partly due to the fact ASD is a spectrum, which means it's impossible to make generalisations altogether.
Also claimed to take the perspective from a social model - the people who are the experts in any disablement are not the teachers or SENCOs, but the people affected directly themselves.
- Listed into what ASD is, what the main triad of impairments are, and how these can affect someone in the educational context. Doesn't directly go into the topic question, but it informs the person of what potential problems could arise.
- Listed the methods I could potentially use to collect the necessary primary [collected by myself] and secondary data [collected by others], explaining the advantages/disadvantages. The EPQ is mainly explaining your actions and management, so I felt this would be useful to follow up.
- Identified who was going to be useful to speak to - in this case ideally: (Ex-)Students, Parents and members of staff (SENCOs, Teachers, LSAs/PAs). Some experts may be possible, but that's an aspiration.
- Identified locations. I've decided to go for a 4/4 split in terms of 4 Mainstream Education Institutions and 4 Special Schools to create balance. Obviously each one in turn is going to be different and I can't replicate precise numbers of students/staff, but it's the best I can do with the limited timeframe I have access to.
- Selected the methods I'd use to triangulate. Questionnaires would give me a snapshot of the academic and social perspectives, and then where possible, semi-structured interviews (asking critical questions, but always have room to manouver if needed) and observations to see the system in practice.
- Prepared letters to send to participants explaining my project and what I would like of them if they wished to participate, as well as what ethical procedures I would be following throughout.
I'm admittedly a bit stuck from here, but that's more to do with the approval stages and being unable to do any research until next week (back for the final year), but hopefully things will move on from there.
As always, I will be available to be contacted via the topic here, a private message, or through some Facebook lurking for anyone who can use it. Do feel free to post anything you like here, but please try and keep things on-topic if possible. It's difficult enough for myself trying to sort through the wheat and the chaff, I'm sure you have enough understanding of myself. :p