Lärares relationskompetens
: och elever med autismspektrumtillstånd (AST) i grundsärskolan

Translated title of the thesis: Teacher´s relational competence: and student with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in special schools for children with intellectual disabilities
  • Annefrid Nielsen
  • Sara Härensten

Student thesis: Master, one year


The aim of this study was to highlight how learning through relations is performed at schools for students with intellectual disabilities (ID), focused on children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).Empirical material was sampled through interviews with five teachers at special schools and observations made at these schools, observing teachers together with students with ASD. By using the framework of teacher´s relational competence by Aspelin (2015, 2018, 2019) the result of the study indicates that teachers at special schools working with children with ID and ASD have high levels of relational competence. In the opinion of the teachers it's important to actively develop student-teacher relationships. The teachers are competent in their communication, differentiation and in the socioemotional area and they also act professionally. Distinguished knowledge in the mentioned areas are of importance according to the teachers in their relational competence when working with children with ASD and ID. Communication is of special importance in building student - teacher relations according to the teachers in the study. The teachers emphasise that their relational competence improves by experiences and that they also can develop their competence by working and reflecting together with colleagues. The teacher’s relational competence is influenced by various factors within the context of the learning environment; the present group of students, the team working together, the prevailing attitude and structure in the specific group of professionals and class. The result of the study shows the teachers´ awareness in creating a sense of security for the students to focus on learning and by interpreting the communication from the students they adapt the teaching to the needs and abilities of the students. One teacher differs from the others as she values methods and structure over person, while the other teachers considered structure as a supporting factor in using their relational competence.

Date of Award2020-Feb-21
Original languageSwedish
SupervisorJohanna Lüddeckens (Supervisor) & Carin Roos (Examiner)

Educational program

  • Special Education Teacher Programme

University credits

  • 15 HE credits

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Pedagogical Work (50304)


  • autism spectrum disorders (ast)
  • communication
  • intellectual disabilities
  • special schools
  • student-teacher-relationships (str)
  • teacher´s relational competence

Cite this