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‘Sensory Intelligence’. An exploratory programme evaluation in a secondary school autism resource base

Falkner, Linda Mary 2020. ‘Sensory Intelligence’. An exploratory programme evaluation in a secondary school autism resource base. DEdPsy Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Up to 95% of the autistic population are considered to have atypical sensory modulation which can lead to mal-adaptive strategies for self-regulation. Some argue that atypical and fluctuating sensory profiles could be ‘core’ autistic features underlying behavioural manifestations and poor academic and life-long prognoses. Evidence also suggests that this is more prevalent in the general population than previously thought, resulting in sensory modulation becoming an emerging field in mental health and wellbeing. Despite empirical evidence suggesting that adolescents can be taught adaptive selfregulation strategies, and secondary schools being sensory challenging, school-based interventions with evidence bases to support them, remain sparse in the literature. Barriers include the heterogeneity of autism, austerity, ‘intervention overload’ in schools, and a significant ‘research-practice’ divide undermining effectiveness in messy ‘real-life’ contexts. Little is currently known about what works, for whom and in what context, as a result. Diverse fields, using insights from process rather than product orientated techniques from Implementation Science and Realist evidence bases, are, however, bridging their own research-practice divides with some success. Consequently, the aims of this study were to adopt process-orientated approaches to explore if the ‘Sensory Intelligence’ programme was worthy of further investigation and potentially offered a role for educational psychologists. Using a Case Study approach in an Autism Resource Base attached to a mainstream secondary school, Deductive Thematic Analysis enabled three main themes and ten subthemes to be generated based on interviews with the participants, field notes and individual sensory profiles. The programme was considered ‘definitely viable’ by all three groups despite some tension regarding respective responsibilities. Considerable process issues were identified providing insights for ways forward including the need for detailed implementation planning via a systemic approach. Key roles were also implicated for Educational Psychologists working at individual, group and organisational levels.

Item Type: Thesis (DEdPsy)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Biosciences
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 8 October 2020
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2021 16:10

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