How character strengths of autistic learners aid primary school educators in the class: An exploratory study

South African Journal of Childhood Education

Field Value
Title How character strengths of autistic learners aid primary school educators in the class: An exploratory study
Creator Snyman, Chantel Van Eeden, Chrizanne Heyns, Marita
Subject — autism spectrum disorder; behaviour that challenge; character strengths; disabilities; self-efficacy; teachers; teaching assistants; well-being
Description Background: Autism spectrum disorder is one of the most common disabilities in schools, with up to 50% of such children displaying behaviours that challenge, bringing about demanding teaching circumstances and a negative impact on educators’ well-being. Strength-based interventions has not formally been used in autistic classrooms in South Africa and research regarding the topic is limited.Aim: To determine the effect of a strength-based intervention on educators’ perception of their own well-being, self-efficacy and the behaviour of autistic learners in their class.Setting: This study was carried out in one autism-specific school in Nelson Mandela Bay of South Africa that met the specific inclusion criteria.Methods: This exploratory study used a pre-experimental group design with three pre-intervention -post-intervention outcome measures to determine the effect of an intervention to support educators. The researcher presented a one-day training programme on a 6-week character strength intervention to use and implement in the autistic classroom.Results: A few statistically significant changes were found of learners’ behaviours that challenged, but none for educators’ well-being and self-efficacy. Verbal aggression significantly decreased both in frequency and severity. Behaviours that declined significantly in severity were physical aggression, disruption, destruction and manipulative, deceitful or non-compliant behaviour.Conclusion: The research showed educators’ stronger focus on strengths made a difference in learners’ behaviour that challenge. The exploratory study shows some positive results, which indicate a larger study can be undertaken with some changes.Contribution: The outcomes contribute to the character strengths and positive education theoretical frameworks and can be relevant to support autistic learners’ behaviours.
Publisher AOSIS
Date 2023-10-16
Type info:eu-repo/semantics/article info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersion — —
Format text/html application/epub+zip text/xml application/pdf
Identifier 10.4102/sajce.v13i1.1311
Source South African Journal of Childhood Education; Vol 13, No 1 (2023); 12 pages 2223-7682 2223-7674
Language eng
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Rights Copyright (c) 2023 Chantel Snyman, Chrizanne Van Eeden, Marita Heyns