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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Parent experiences of the primary to secondary school transition for their child with autism spectrum disorder Yli-Renko, Teija Kristiina


The transition from primary to secondary school for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can be a time of stress and challenges for the student and their family (Stack et al., 2021). When advocating for support for their child, the parent is faced with many decisions and concerns about how to assist their child as they transition to an unfamiliar environment. Limited literature on this period of transition necessitates further research that explicates the experience of transition for these families. As such, the study captures the perceptions of parents who have a child with ASD who is transitioning from primary to mainstream secondary school. The study builds on the survey by Ravenscroft and colleagues (2017) and uses an adapted form of their instrument to study the population of students with ASD in the context of British Columbia schools. The current study surveyed parents to elicit ratings related to key elements of their experience of planning for and implementation of transition with their child. Further, the study included additional elements that are intended to inform the literature on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and mandatory quarantines on the parent (and family) experiences of transition planning and process. The results of this study provide a preliminary representation of current parent and family experiences of transition planning and its outcomes and can be interpreted in the context of proposed frameworks for transition success provided in the literature, mainly aspects related to inclusion, membership, and belonging (IMB) in the secondary school environment, as well as parental involvement (PI). These two variables contributed to the prediction of transition success with respect to parent satisfaction, or child adjustment outcomes. These findings provide an initial representation of transition planning and outcome in a Canadian context and may well contribute findings that can inform educational policy and practice.

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