Effective Methods of Teaching Autistic People

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This dissertation explores effective methods of teaching learners who have an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis. There is a focus throughout the dissertation on the value and relevance of the application of the trademarked social stories approach devised and promoted by Carol Gray in educational contexts. This is done as social stories is evidenced as being a popular, well-established, and straightforward intervention to support the development of ASD pupils in their learning. The submission adopts a secondary research methodology throughout, and focusing within that on primary research and academic commentary post-2010. This is so that the study is informed by recent critical thinking and practice-based evidence, and may from that make appropriate recommendations as to the strengths and limitations of social stories as an intervention and as a support. The dissertation first contextualises its focus, explains its approach in methodological terms, and then reports on the completed exploration of recent writing and research into the effectiveness of Social Stories. The dissertation concludes that the popularity of social stories is not supported by a consistent and rigorous evidential base in research terms, and that the acknowledged prominence of the approach is therefore problematised. The suggestion is that social stories is advocated not because of its usefulness, but because it is inexpensive to implement, is straightforward, and is understandable to lay persons and to practitioners alike. This has potential ramifications for ASD learner support for two sets of reasons. One, because of the lack of clarity about the relevance of social stories in supporting pupils. Two, because of the implication that other – meaningful and effective – interventions are not therefore being used in social stories’ stead. These conclusions are linked to recommendations - which relate to the development of a consistent and rigorous research focus on social stories as a pedagogical intervention in ASD working – and to implication for this student on their developing practice and knowledge base.