How Helpful Are Special Services Education Essay

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Key authors, Samuels, Levy and Shaw highlight the phenomenon of services provided for ASD individuals. Samuels describes various ways services lack support, 'There are very few specific services for ASD children' (pg.2); emphasising ASD individuals may not be provided with sufficient opportunity to gain support. Many services may not have adequate knowledge to provide effective support (Samuels, 2008).

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder by severe and pervasive impairment in reciprocal socialisation, qualitative impairment in communication (Levy, 2009). The focus of my research is to explore how ASD provides families with support and what help they experience from services. This shows that the support families receive is a factor which could be investigated.

It is possible that not all services are able to help families with children who have ASD. In comparison, Shaw (2011) highlights children with an ASD are eligible to special services which meet their needs. Special services provide educational specialists who support and monitor the child. Services may differ varying on the type of ASD (Akanksha, 2011). Most families have access to special services to support them which may include parent support groups or counselling services. Subsequently, all three authors define strategies of services that support families with an ASD child.

Samuels (2008) and Levy (2009) predominantly focus on the lack of support given to families. Highlighting the importance of supporting a child is to ensure suitable support is given. Samuels (2008) presents the argument that children don't reach the threshold necessary to access specialist support; she incorporates support that may be available. A comprehensive programme and parent training is given to families to certify the child is taken care of appropriately. Samuels (2008) highlighted that Every Child Matters (2004) promotes a child-centred, integrated approach to special services.

Research shows that support is provided based on the type of ASD individuals have. Services may be limited however; strategies are specified to overcome problems (Shaw, 2011). Special services can have implications on strategies they use to support families with an ASD child, as many services may not provide efficient support (Samuels, 2008).


Research will take place at Autism Sharing and Caring (ASC) and Joseph Leckie Academy, West Midlands. I can gain access to undertake short interviews with support assistants and parents.

Data sources

5 support assistants and 4 families.

Data collection methods

Research will be conducted by collecting qualitative data; it is a naturalistic method concerned with individuals in particular situations (Bell, 2010). Therefore, opinions and views will be included in the data collected. It will be the most vital part of study as it is based on supporters'. Quantitative data collection method could have been used, which provides statistics and facts which are translated into numerical descriptions which provide less elaborative accounts (Bell, 2010).

The two types of methods I will be using are semi structured interviews and observations; both outweigh advantages relating to other methods for this project. Observation is a method of collecting primary data. Bell (2010) highlights observations yield valuable data, giving direct access to the researcher rather than relying on secondary data which will already exist (Bell, 2010). Support assistants will be observed and recorded during the observations. Viewing observations directly provides evidence for what actually happens; hence, directly observing provides new evidence.

Bell (2010) states semi structured interviews can be fairly easily recorded, summarised and analysed. The questions will not require a lengthy answer; however, the structure will be adequate. By deciding to use semi structured interviews I must ensure the interview is stimulated. Bell (2010) highlights changes occur as you go on which may not be appropriate as you proceed. Therefore, semi-structured interview questions cannot be altered during the interview process. Appropriate answers to the research are guaranteed when using semi structured interviews.

Problems occur from using observations and semi-structured interviews; they can be time consuming and subject to bias (Bell, 2010). The importance of remaining neutral will be acknowledged, situations will not be over analysed (Denscombe, 2003). In contrast, observations are argued to provide a holistic approach that impact opinions of the individual being observed (Denscombe, 2003).

Questionnaires could have been used for this project as they are cheaper to use for a large quantity and are an efficient use of time (Bell, 2010). Answers have to be taken as written; they are not resourceful in clarifying meanings of questions. Hence, semi structured interviews can be clarified and developed (Bell, 2010). Observations highlight certain practices which previous researchers may not have seen before (Bell, 2010). A Dictaphone will be used to record respondents' with their consent; maintaining eye contact will remain a focus (Bell, 2010).


Validity is concerned with techniques, methods and approaches that are being explored (Bell, 2010). For research to remain valid, research questions have to be addressed. To improve and maintain validity, data must be in richness and depth (Cohen, Manion and Morrison, 2007). Piloting interviews enables me to build up confidence as Bell (2010) states new information can be obtained as current. By piloting interviews before undertaking any research will gain my confidence in striving for answers. I will time the interview sessions so that participants' time is not wasted. Piloting can be carried out before hand, so it can be investigated if questions are feasible (Bell, 2010).

Piloting allows researchers to view whether they got what they wanted from the exercise. Whilst piloting interviews I will be asked to be filmed so that I can take a look back at improvements that are needed. I will undertake participant validation once the data is collected. Bell (2010) highlights participant validation allows an individual to check the data collected and be entitled to their views. Looking back at feedback received I will not make any changes but will acknowledge individuals' points. A disadvantage of participant validation can be it is time consuming (Bell, 2010).

This project will be performed through qualitative research, therefore, using two methods of validation will minimise researcher bias; data collected will be a way to check credibility of the data found (Lincoln and Guba, 2003). Data collected from observations will be further discussed during semi structured interviews. This ensures reliability of the data collected can be clarified through respondent validation (Bell, 2010). This allows the data to be interpreted by respondents' (Denscombe, 2003). Both participant validation and piloting will help improve validity by raising confidence that the project is well conceived, fair and rigorous.


I will not be directly interviewing children as they are vulnerable. The BERA guidelines (2004) highlight the significance of ethics that should be followed throughout all research processes. It is important to gain access in advance for research settings, by contacting the appropriate person. It is vital to gain voluntary informed consent from participants involved without pressure (BERA, 2004). Participants have a right to withdraw at any time, they will be provided with a consent form in advance which clearly states what the research involves (BERA, 2004). Bell (2010), highlights researchers should understand participants right to privacy; all details should be kept confidential. Predominantly this research will ensure that participants are granted anonymity and confidentiality.

Key texts

Levy,S. (2009). The Lancet. Autism. 378 (9802), pg.1546.

Samuels, T. (2008). Learning by experience. Help for children with ASD. 22 (2), p1-2.

Steven, R. Shaw. (2011). Autism. Journal of Mental Health Research in Intellectual Disabilities. 4 (5), p1-18.

Supplementary texts

Bell, J. (2010) Doing Your Research Project: A guide for first-time researchers in education, health and social science. 5th ed. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

BERA (2004) Revised Ethical Guidelines for Educational Research. British Education Research Association

Denscombe, M. (2003) The Good Research Guide: For small scale social research. 2nd ed. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Does receiving help have effects on your family?

What help do special services provide you with?

Does your child benefit from receiving support?

What key elements affect your Childs support due to them having an ASD?

How would you rate the services you are provided with?

Do you feel the services meet your child's needs?

How would you describe the special services that help you support your child?

Are you provided with enough information and guidance on supporting your child?



Tel: 07754856834

E-Mail: [email protected]

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing in regards to my research project based on the topic of Autism. I wish to seek your permission to interview your colleagues based around this topic. Interviews will last up to 20minutes; all information will remain confidential and anonymous. This project is supervised by the University of Wolverhampton.

I look forward to hearing from you. Additionally, if I have no reply I shall contact you on Monday 14th January 2013 at 1pm.

Yours Sincerely