Identifying children with characteristics of asperger syndrome in schools in Malacca, Malaysia : examining the range of characteristics of children with autism in the special education units

  • Khadijah Amat@Kamaruddin

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

This study aims to identify children with characteristics of AS amongst children with a diagnosis of autism in special education units (SEUs) and mainstream classes in schools in Malacca, Malaysia, to examine the differences in the characteristics of children with a diagnosis of autism in the SEUs, to assess the usefulness of an information pack for parents and teachers, and to evaluate whether the identification process and the information pack for the SEUs teachers, has influenced their practice. This study was undertaken using a standardised rating scales for parents and teachers which was specifically formulated to identify individuals with AS. These findings were then compared to the children’s scores in different tests (IQ, play, Theory of Mind, language and social communication) in which children with AS usually score higher and to GADS parent interview scores, which offer more information on the developmental history of each child. In the mainstream classes, the identification of children with characteristics of AS employed a screening test completed by class teachers for each child in their class. The findings indicated that it was difficult to differentiate children with characteristics of AS from children with autism. The findings also not supported the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for AS ‘no language and cognitive development delays’. Therefore it supported that autism is a spectrum and DSM 5 (2013) which has merged subtypes of autism into one umbrella diagnosis called ASD. It was also found that the social communication impairments and restricted, repetitive stereotyped patterns of behaviour could differentiate people with autism into three levels (requiring support, requiring substantial support and requiring very substantial support) as indicated in the DSM 5.The findings that children with autism have very uneven profiles with [sic] wide range of abilities indicated the importance of individualise support and focus on each child as unique. Findings of this study should be interpreted with caution because of the small number of participants, limitation of the methodology and standardised instrument used in the study. The additional questions found that there are still lack of information regarding ASD for parents and teachers in Malaysian context. Therefore they really appreciated the information pack that have been given to them. Teachers indicated that they have [sic] higher level of understanding and expectation on children’s potential learning and development after have [sic] more knowledge on ASD. It was found that there are a lot of similarities in the findings of this study when compared to research from other countries e.g. characteristics of children with ASD, estimated prevalence of children with AS and support for the new diagnostic criteria (DSM 5, 2013). Therefore more research, knowledge and awareness on children with ASD in [sic] Malaysian context could be developed from this study.
Date of Award1 Jan 2011
LanguageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SupervisorAline-Wendy Dunlop (Supervisor) & Helen Marwick (Supervisor)

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