Kymberly Martin

Book Review: Enhancing the Well-being of Students on the Autism Spectrum

Entering the field of research is a daunting task. The search for innovative methodologies and practices that include the voices of children reveals the importance of frameworks that allow for less traditional contributions. So much research about children, and in particular children with additional needs, has been ‘about’ them or on their behalf.

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Enhancing the Well-being of Students on the Autism Spectrum provides researchers and educators alike with new tools to support students through the use of Photovoice. This process of taking pictures enables students with autism to address their experiences and express their ideas and contribute to research on student well-being.

The evocative images included in the text reveal the rich understanding to be gained through this method and one that is not dependent on words.

One photo that captured so much is that of a Labrador, “A happy dog used by Harry to explain the importance of being happy in school”.

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Another of a clock explains how a child, “Looked forward to the end of a lesson”.

The use of photos taken by children enables a more authentic view of the topic being studied through the eyes of children or students who experience autism.

As well as photographs taken by students on the autism spectrum there are interviews with students, teachers and parents intended to bring the experience of these students to the fore.

The book also covers: The well-being of students with autism; Barriers to the well-being of students with autism and ways to overcome them; Protective factors of the well-being of students with autism and ways to develop these within the school context.

The book is highly recommended as a definitive resource for postgraduate students in education and special education practitioners within the school context, as well as researchers interested in the autism spectrum or student well-being. It gives an in-depth understanding of the well-being of students on the autism spectrum

Written by University of NSW lecturer in special education Joanne Danker, the book has much to offer schools and is of particular significance in light of the Disability Royal Commission and the journey towards more inclusive education for all.

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