Principals' perspectives of inclusive education involving students with autism spectrum conditions – a Swedish case study

Johanna Lüddeckens, Lotta Anderson, Daniel Östlund

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Abstract

Purpose: The aim of this case study is to describe what commitment and actions are needed in the Swedish school so that principals — within the Swedish school policy framework and with the goal of creating an inclusive school culture and practice — can positively affect schooling for students with disabilities, with a particular focus on students with autism spectrum conditions (ASC). Three research questions guide the study: (1) What commitment and actions do principals consider important for developing an inclusive school for all students, with a particular focus on students with ASC? (2) How do the principals reflect on their own leadership in the development of inclusive education, with a particular focus on students with ASC? (3) Based on the results, what are the implications of the study in practice? Design/methodology/approach: As part of a three-step data collection method, a snowball sampling was conducted in which n = 6 principals were initially interviewed and the data analyzed by an inductive thematic content analysis. Findings: (1) Certain structures are needed when planning how to develop mutual values when organizing an inclusive school involving students with ASC, (2) the principals could, at times, feel a sense of loneliness in relation to their superiors and decision-makers and (3) more accountability from educators and greater consideration for the student perspective in decision-making are needed. Practical implications: It was found that (1) certain structures are needed when planning how to develop mutual values when organizing an inclusive school involving students with ASC, (2) the principals could, at times, feel a sense of isolation in relation to their superiors and decision-makers and (3) more accountability from educators and greater consideration for the student perspective in decision-making are needed. Originality/value: Index for inclusion and elements from the inclusive leadership model were used in the data collection and analysis.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Educational Administration
Early online date2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021-Dec

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Pedagogical Work (50304)

Keywords

  • Autism spectrum
  • Case studies
  • Inclusive education
  • Inclusive school leadership
  • Index for inclusion
  • Principals

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