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Research Study

How the teaching of social skills and Relationship and Sexuality Education (RSE) in schools is preparing Autistic individuals for adult relationships.

Please read the below information regarding research that you may wish to participate in:

Dr. Michele Dunleavy and her colleagues in Mary Immaculate College Limerick are conducting research on how the teaching of social skills and relationship and sexuality education (RSE) in schools is preparing Autistic individuals for adult relationships.

The aim of the study is threefold. Firstly, to find out how current pedagogical approaches are supporting the social development of individuals with Autism. Secondly, to find out if social skills programmes provide the perquisite skills to assist individuals with Autism to access the RSE curriculum, and thirdly, to find out how engagement with RSE curriculum is preparing them for adult relationships. 

Ultimately, they aim to compile a manualised social/emotional and RSE programme that will support students with ASD throughout their primary and post-primary education in developing social, emotional, and relationship skills. They have interviewed both primary and post primary teachers in relation to the teaching of social skills and RSE, and have examined a number of programmes being used in schools. They are now moving on to the second phase of the research which involves exploring the experiences of the Autistic individual by listening to their views on the teaching of social skills and RSE. They would also like to hear about the experience from the perspective of their parents/guardians.

If you would like to help with this research by taking part in an interview, please contact Michele Dunleavy at michele.dunleavy@mic.ul.ie or any of her colleagues, Johanna Fitzgerald at johanna.fitzgerald@mic.ul.ie ; Trevor O’Brien at trevor.obrien@mic.ul.ie ; or Laura Ambrose at laura.ambrose@mic.ul.ie.