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  • Writer's picturedocschleg

Educational Expectations

Article: Parents' Educational Expectations for Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. By Bush and others. In Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 2017, 52(4).

Years ago I had a supervisor who made profound discoveries in his research on relationships, but could not, for the life of him, explain his discoveries to the average person in a meaningful way. With that said, I will attempt to interpret the findings in this article.

The authors state that parent expectation of educational success is hugely predictive of actual educational success of children with and without ASD. So, they wanted to see what might be predictive of parent expectations in the ASD population. One thing they found was not predictive was amount of time parents are involved at school. No, it was not quantity, but quality that was predictive. Specifically, a positive parent/teacher relationship was predictive of parent expectations for their ASD child. Other things such as parent educational attainment and employment status were, not surprisingly, predictive of parent expectations. One I didn't see coming, but makes sense anyway, was child's externalizing behavior. ASD child misbehavior (I suspect they're referring to problems following directions, rule-breaking, being disruptive, etc.) caused parents to downgrade their expectations for their children, and this is despite their child's known or suspected intelligence and academic ability.

To this last point, being able to engage in the classroom (i.e., pro-social behaviors) is actually more important than one's potential (i.e., being smart) when it comes to parent expectations, and again, expectations predict performance.

One additional take-away to parents and teachers alike: please spend sufficient time working on your relationship with the other adult party involved in the ASD child's education. I have found that parents who are not aligned with teachers, and vice-versa, tend to spend a lot of time "undoing" the progress of the other.

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