Change that leads to better lives

Rewriting the Narrative

Lessons about inclusion from autistic adolescent girls who stop attending school

A subtitled video of the webinar from May 2021 by Dr Ruth Moyse.

Children who stop attending school are often called truants or school refusers, placing the reason for their absence as a problem within the child. This session proposes a different way of interpreting their absence, by sharing lessons learnt from research with 10 autistic girls who stopped attending mainstream secondary schools.

It presents some of their experiences, strategies that helped and those that did not, and their recommendations for change. Their narratives are contextualised with findings from an analysis of secondary data retrieved from the Department for Education (DfE) and the autism assessment team of an NHS Trust.

Although focused on the views of autistic young people, the findings may be relevant for other young people with neurological differences who stop attending school, and for the staff working with them.

Learning and recommendations will help support people to remain in school and at home and reduce the likelihood of admission to hospital, as part of a person-centred plan.

Attendees of the session commented on how the session will impact their practise:

"Placing greater emphasis on sharing the CYP and parent voices with schools."

"Have more conversations with schools around the agency that girls are actually showing and how we can use that as the basis for discussions around problem solving with girls."

And that it was "So refreshing to hear research being presented from the young person's perspective and using their voice."

Please share these resources with your teams and networks.

Dr Ruth Moyse


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