The past ten years have seen a growing drive towards ‘full inclusion’ of children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in schools. However, concerns about whether inclusion for children with ASD is synonymous with their right to appropriate education have been raised amongst researchers. The current study aimed to ascertain the views of both professionals, and parents of children with ASD, regarding inclusion of children with ASD into mainstream schools by using a series of focus groups. A content analysis was used, and the results showed that parents and professionals agreed that school factors, such as school commitment; and LEA factors, such as funding, were fundamental to the success of inclusion. Professionals felt that child factors such as behavioural problems, and learning difficulties, were the primary reason for exclusion from mainstream. Significantly, both groups agreed that in order to improve successful inclusion, there needed to be more openness to alternatives to mainstream for children with ASD.
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