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Promoting the social inclusion of children with autism spectrum disorders in community groups

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Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are not easily included in mainstream youth activities provided by the community and voluntary sector (CVS) such as scouts, sports organisations and youth clubs. Two studies were undertaken. First, a survey of over 200 personnel from CVS groups to ascertain their previous experience of these children and reactions to their enrolment. Second, in light of the findings, a short, two-hour introductory training course on ASD targeted at youth leaders was devised and evaluated with nearly 400 participants. Most participants reported changes in their attitudes and perceptions as well as citing a range of information they had gained from attending. Further research is needed into the reasons why CVS groups are disinclined to enrol children with ASD and in targeting awareness raising and training opportunities more specifically within this sector.

Keywords: ASD; autism; social inclusion; training course

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Institute of Nursing Research,University of Ulster, Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland 2: AutismNI, Knockbracken Healthcare Park, Saintfield RoadBelfast,

Publication date: July 1, 2012

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