Parent perspectives of children with autism spectrum disorder transitioning from primary to secondary school in New Zealand

Carol Anne Hamilton, Tiffany Wilkinson


This article details aspects of between-school transitional processes experienced by children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), taken from the perspective of five New Zealand parents who have assisted their family members’ transition in this area within the last five years. To begin the rationale for undertaking the study, including a brief synopsis of themes emerging from two similar small-scale international studies, is outlined. The methodology and method used to gather the data for the New Zealand study is then briefly described. Three theme areas—fitting in, teacher understanding and communication— emerging from participants’ experiences in this little researched area of educational transition for children with special needs in this country are detailed. Examples of information shared during interview sessions in the theme areas are also included in this section. These examples reveal that parents and their children with ASD negotiate a complex, often fraught but also rewarding process as this particular transitional period is initiated and completed. A brief discussion of study findings and implications for further research is provided in the final discussion section.


Children; transition; autistic spectrum disorder; parent perspectives; primary school; secondary school

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DOI: 10.15663/wje.v21i1.196


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© Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research, Te Kura Toi Tangata Faculty of Education, 2015