An interpretative phenomenological analysis of teaching assistants’ experiences of forming relationships with pupils who have Autistic Spectrum Disorder in mainstream primary schools

Willis, Allan (2017) An interpretative phenomenological analysis of teaching assistants’ experiences of forming relationships with pupils who have Autistic Spectrum Disorder in mainstream primary schools. Professional Doctorate thesis, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust / University of Essex. Full text available

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Abstract/Book Review

The increasing numbers of children with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) being educated within mainstream schools and the deployment of Teaching Assistants (TAs) to work with them has resulted in significant challenges in relation to the support and training TAs require when working with pupils who have ASD. Whilst there is a significant body of literature relating to the development of specific interventions for children with ASD there has been little that looks at the relationships formed between professionals, particularly Teachers and TAs, and these pupils. In order to extend the limited evidence base on the relationships that TAs form with pupils who have ASD this research explored the experiences of a group of six TAs working directly with pupils who had ASD and were in mainstream primary schools, and the relationships that they formed with them. The data collected from the TA interviews was analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) and subordinate and superordinate themes identified. The findings were then discussed in the context of Interdependence Theory, particularly the investment model put forward by Rusbult and Buunk (1993). The study found that TAs described their relationships with the children through four main superordinate themes, that is, attachment to the relationship; the difficulties presented by the child; the position they took as TA in the relationship and the personal and professional satisfaction they got from the relationship. The data from the transcripts showed that TAs invested significant amounts of time, effort and energy into developing their relationships and this resulted in rewards and costs for the TAs. These contributed to how satisfied the TAs were with the relationships and how committed they were to them. The implications for TAs, Schools and Educational Psychologists were discussed, as were the implications for future research.

Item Type: Thesis (Professional Doctorate)
Additional Information: Thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the Doctorate in Child and Educational Psychology awarded by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust in collaboration with the University of Essex
Uncontrolled Keywords: Doctorate in Child and Educational Psychology, M5, Edpsych Update
Subjects: Communication (incl. disorders of) > Autism
Learning & Education > Educational Psychology
Learning & Education > Special Needs Education
Research, Tests, Assessments > Social Study & Research Methodologies
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services
Research
Depositing User: Ms Linda Dolben
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2017 15:54
Last Modified: 30 Sep 2017 15:54
URI: http://repository.tavistockandportman.ac.uk/id/eprint/1523

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