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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

Marginalisation, autism and school exclusion: caregivers' perspectives

Martin-Denham, Sarah (2022) Marginalisation, autism and school exclusion: caregivers' perspectives. Support for Learning, 37 (1). pp. 108-143. ISSN 0268-2141

Item Type: Article


The article presents findings from interviews with five caregivers of children with autism excluded from schools in England. Objectives: to determine the barriers and enablers to mainstream schooling for children with autism and to explore the emotional effect of the journey to school exclusion on the child and caregivers. Background: research has highlighted that some mainstream schools do not listen to caregivers concerns about their child's development, behaviours and mental health. Methods: interpretative phenomenological analysis was employed to understand how participants made sense of their lived experiences, revealing four superordinate themes: inadequate special educational needs and disability (SEND) support, psychological impact, health-imposed barriers to diagnoses, and effective support. Findings: Theographs present the caregivers' journeys, illustrating that the onus fell on the caregivers to advocate for effective support from schools. A lack of prompt diagnose and effective school support is detrimental to the emotional and physical health of both children and caregivers. Training is needed to ensure thresholds for education, health and care needs assessments are understood, alongside evidence-based approaches to support children with SEND. There is a policy need to address barriers to prompt health assessments across services and the impact of decreased funding on schools.

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Related URLs:
Depositing User: Michelle Marshall


Item ID: 14625
Identification Number:
ISSN: 0268-2141
Official URL:

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Sarah Martin-Denham: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2022 15:48
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2022 10:18


Author: Sarah Martin-Denham ORCID iD

University Divisions

Faculty of Education and Society
Faculty of Education and Society > School of Education



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