A study of the experiences and perceptions of parents of Black and Minority Ethnic pupils statemented with autism in relation to the educational support provided for their children and for themselves.
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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This study investigates the experiences and perceptions of parents of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) pupils statemented with autism of the support they receive for their child in education and for themselves. These perceptions are explored alongside the views of stakeholders in education who work to support these pupils and parents. The study expands upon the work of Perepa (2008) who investigated the cultural influences on the understanding of appropriate social behaviour by BME parents of children within the autism spectrum in a London borough. Since then there has been minimal research on BME parents’ experiences of having a child with autism in education, so this study addresses a gap in research. A qualitative case study approach was adopted using in-depth interviews with participants from one selected local authority in Wales. An interpretivist approach was used to gain an understanding of the researched phenomena within a cultural context. The data was managed for thematic analysis using the qualitative analysis software tool, NVivo. The findings reveal that BME parents receive support from the providers within education rather than from their own ethnic communities. They show a preference for mainstream education, although evidence here suggests that there are fewer specialist resources in these schools compared to special schools. The findings also reveal that their culture, religion, education and socio-economic backgrounds influence BME parents’ ability to access and utilise educational support services. They feel that their ethnicity and cultural needs are not always taken into account in the ‘culturally-blind’ system which appears to be implemented within education, and their expectation is that society should provide them with more support. It is anticipated that these findings would be taken into account by policy makers and contribute to further research in Wales.
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