Inclusion of pupils with autism – a research overview, (2022), Olsson I., Nilholm C.

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This overview, or review of reviews, synthesises the contributions of influential research on education of autistic pupils to a) characterise this research and b) analyse the potential of this research to further inclusive education. The 80 most-cited reviews in Web of Science targeting research on education of autistic pupils were analysed. From the standpoint of inclusive education, several shortcomings in the research field were identified: First, the reviews very seldom explicitly address inclusion. Second, when they do, inclusion is narrowly understood. Third, only about half of the reviews concerned regular education. Finally, most reviews report positive effects but provide limited knowledge about what methods are most useful for specific sets of pupils and in which situations. The majority explores how to reduce symptoms of autism and how to foster socio-communicative skills. The Inclusive Education Model (IEM) was developed to analyse how different types of research, including research not specifically addressing inclusion, provide different forms of knowledge about how to increase inclusive schooling. The findings are discussed in relation to needs for future research on inclusion and it is argued that the field would benefit from more explicit orientations towards inclusive education. The benefits and shortcomings of IEM are discussed. 

Citation: Ingrid Olsson & Claes Nilholm (2022) Inclusion of pupils with autism – a research overview, European Journal of Special Needs Education, DOI: 10.1080/08856257.2022.2037823


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