In England, around one person in every hundred is on the autism spectrum. Autism is the primary need for 27% of pupils with an Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP) and more than 70% of children on the autism spectrum in England attend mainsteam schools.
One subject where I have noticed these children have more difficulty than others is RE. The concepts are often abstract and they are asked to think about other people’s points of view and emotions, neither of which are skills that come easily to them. Through this scholarship I wanted to investigate two things:
- How does a lack of flexibility of thought or ability to read emotions (Theory of Mind) affect children with autism in mainstream schools when studying RE?
- Can strategies currently used to enable children with autism access social situations be adapted to enable them to access the aspects of RE that require flexibility of thought and an understanding of how others think?
As my project progressed I added an additional question to my list:
3. How does the RE curriculum reflect the development of Theory of Mind in neuro-typical children?
I have been able to explore much about Autism, RE and the development of Theory of Mind and this report is a summary of this learning.