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Autism in Saudi Arabia: perspectives of parents and educational professionals

Alarfaj, M. (2018) Autism in Saudi Arabia: perspectives of parents and educational professionals. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00084077


This study aimed to investigate the views of parents and educational professionals regarding the awareness of and the school provision for children with autism in Saudi Arabia. This study was also conducted to fill the gap in the literature concerning the awareness of and school provision for children with autism. A mixed method was utilised in this study as data was collected both qualitatively and quantitatively. For the qualitative approach, semistructured interviews were conducted with a total of 15 participants, specifically 10 parents and 5 senior educators. Furthermore, data was collected online from a Twitter account, where a total of 50 tweets that were relevant to the study were retrieved for research purposes. The qualitative data was analysed using coding themes. On the other hand, quantitative data was collected using a survey that was handed out to 242 educational professionals. This data was analysed using the SPSS statistical package. The results confirm that a lack of awareness exists regarding children with autism in Saudi Arabia. Participants reported that this is a result of a variety of barriers that should be overcome in order to integrate children with autism in mainstream Saudi schools. These barriers include late or incorrect ASD diagnosis, lack of expertise in autism, lack of experience among mainstream schoolteachers and a lack of training programme for teachers and parents alike. It is evident from the study findings that much can be done to improve the lives of ASD children and provide them with proper diagnostic services and school provision. Perhaps the most important finding of this study concerns improving societal awareness of children with autism, which was confirmed by both parents and educational professionals. In addition to this investigation, recommendations for future research were identified, such as increasing sample sizes or directly asking children with autism about their views.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Tissot, C. and Williams, T.
Thesis/Report Department:Institute of Education
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Institute of Education
ID Code:84077


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