'The Inclusion of Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder into Mainstream Schools in Mexico'

  • Myriam Mojica Martínez

Student thesis: Phd


AbstractIn the last twenty years, governments around the world have signed policies and enacted legislation concerning the right of every child to be provided with education. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006), which states that every child with SEN should receive education in a mainstream setting, whenever possible stimulated, at least partly, the enactment of such policies. To some extent, the Mexican government has responded to the UN initiative by reporting a gradual increase in the number of children with SEN being placed in mainstream schools over the last ten years. However, despite the efforts of some parents and teaching assistants, there is an increasing concern that many children with ASD are not educated in mainstream schools or they have been included but without the support of a qualified teaching assistant or teacher, which has a negative effect on the quality of education. This situation has emphasized the need to improve strategies in order to overcome the barriers to effective inclusion for these children. Thus, the main aim of this study was to explore the extent to which children identified as having Autistic Spectrum Disorder are included within in mainstream schools in Mexico with the support from DOMUS a non-profit parent led organisation. This is done by examining the facilitators and barriers that affect the success of inclusion of children with ASD in Mexico.Multiple case studies of children with autistic spectrum disorders were conducted. The data on the perceptions about inclusion was gathered from interviews with head teachers, teachers, teaching assistants, and parents of children with ASD. In addition, observations of the children with ASD both in class and in the playground were carried out along with focus groups conducted with secondary age classmates, sociometric data, and a review of DOMUS' records. Participants offered many perspectives on the facilitators and barriers that should be overcome in order to include a child with autism in mainstream schools in Mexico. Seven key themes and related subthemes that can act as facilitators or barriers emerged from the analysis. These included family factors, children with ASD's social and academic abilities, school ethos, role of teaching assistant and DOMUS, and the influence of stakeholders' experience in overcoming anxieties about inclusion, teachers' competence, and stakeholders' attitudes towards children with ASD. The findings are discussed in relation to the literature review. It was concluded that the Mexican government's inclusive education policies should be taken further, although the teachers involved should initially receive further training in order to help them feel more confident. An ASD friendly school ethos, positive attitudes from stakeholders, and financial resources can also support inclusion. Stakeholders need to overcome their anxieties, and they can achieve this by embracing the opportunity to experience inclusion. This study provides a starting-point in by identifying the facilitators that should be strengthened and the barriers that should be reduced in order to enhance the inclusion of children with ASD in Mexico.
Date of Award1 Aug 2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorPeter Farrell (Supervisor) & Alison Alborz (Supervisor)


  • Inclusion
  • Autistic Spectrum Disorder
  • Mexico
  • Education

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