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Types and correlates of school non-attendance in students with autism spectrum disorders

Totsika, Vasiliki, Hastings, Richard P, Dutton, Yoko, Worsley, Alison, Melvin, Glenn, Gray, Kylie, Tonge, Bruce and Heyne, David 2020, Types and correlates of school non-attendance in students with autism spectrum disorders, Autism, pp. 1-11, doi: 10.1177/1362361320916967.

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Title Types and correlates of school non-attendance in students with autism spectrum disorders
Author(s) Totsika, Vasiliki
Hastings, Richard P
Dutton, Yoko
Worsley, Alison
Melvin, GlennORCID iD for Melvin, Glenn orcid.org/0000-0002-6958-3908
Gray, Kylie
Tonge, Bruce
Heyne, David
Journal name Autism
Start page 1
End page 11
Total pages 11
Publisher SAGE Publications
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2020-05-18
ISSN 1362-3613
1461-7005
Keyword(s) Social Sciences
Psychology, Developmental
Psychology
autism
intellectual disability
school exclusion
school non-attendance
school refusal
school withdrawal
truancy
Summary School non-attendance in autism spectrum disorders has received very little attention to date. The study aimed to provide a comprehensive description of school non-attendance in students with autism spectrum disorders. Through an online survey, parents of 486 children (mean age: 11 years) reported on school attendance over 1 month and reasons for instances of non-attendance. On average, students missed 5 days of school of a possible 23 days. Persistent non-attendance (absent on 10%+ of available sessions) occurred among 43% of students. School non-attendance was associated with child older age, not living in a two-parent household, parental unemployment and, especially, attending a mainstream school. School refusal accounted for 43% of non-attendance. School exclusion and school withdrawal each accounted for 9% of absences. Truancy was almost non-existent. Non-problematic absenteeism (mostly related to medical appointments and illness) accounted for 32% of absences. Non-problematic absenteeism was more likely among those with intellectual disability, school refusal was more likely among older students and school exclusion was more likely among students from single-parent, unemployed and well-educated households. Findings suggest that school non-attendance in autism spectrum disorders is a significant issue, and that it is important to capture detail about attendance patterns and reasons for school non-attendance. Lay abstract Our study aimed to describe school non-attendance in students with autism. We conducted an online survey. Parents of 486 students (mean age: 11 years) indicated which days their child had missed school (over a period of 1 month). If the child had missed a day, the parent was asked to select a reason from a list of 15 possible reasons (this is a measure of types of school non-attendance called SNACK (School Non-Attendance ChecKlist; Heyne et al., 2019)). On average, students missed 5 days of school of a possible 23 days. Missing over 10% of school is known as persistent absence, and in our study, 43% of students experienced persistent absence. Older students, who attended mainstream schools, who did not live in a two-parent household and whose caregiver was unemployed were more likely to miss school. Looking at the reasons for absence, school refusal was the most frequent reason, accounting for 43% of absences. Nine percent of absence was due to school exclusion. Nine percent of absence was due to school withdrawal. Truancy was almost non-existent. A final reason describes non-problematic absence that is mostly due to medical appointments and illness. This type of absence accounted for 32% of absences in our study, and it was more likely in student with intellectual disability. School refusal was more likely among older students. School exclusion was more likely among students from single-parent, unemployed and well-educated households. Findings from this study help us to understand better the difficulties students with autism experience attending school.
Language eng
DOI 10.1177/1362361320916967
Indigenous content off
Field of Research 1303 Specialist Studies in Education
1701 Psychology
1702 Cognitive Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Free to Read? Yes
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30137293

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
School of Psychology
Open Access Collection
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.