The social needs of children with autism are complex, and their inclusion in mainstream schools necessitates a consideration of the nature of a child's participation in peer culture and how it is received by others. The case study reported here sought to investigate the social engagement of a child with autism and his peers using naturalistic methods to provide contextualised and detailed information. A comparative approach was used to study different social contexts: the wider class group, the peer group which included the child with autism, and the individual participation of the child with autism compared with this smaller group. Findings indicate that the child with autism demonstrated a number of competencies in relation to his own social group and that social difficulties were not necessarily seen as a weakness within the peer culture. The importance of careful analysis of social processes and the use of reflective assessment to autism education is highlighted.
- special educational needs (sen)
- Social engagement
- case study