“I can be a role model for autistic pupils”: Investigating the voice of the autistic teacher
Despite extensive interest in the needs of autistic pupils in education, there seems to date to have been no focus on the needs or attitudes of teachers who are autistic. This paper reports on the case study of an autistic trainee teacher during his Initial Teacher Education (ITE) year undertaking a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) at Secondary level. ‘Greg’ (a pseudonym) took part in an unstructured interview with the researcher, his contributions were recorded and his responses transcribed and coded. Coding was conducted co-operatively between Greg and the researcher, leading to co-created data. Greg’s attitudes towards his own autism and its role in his teaching are discussed here, together with his understanding of the needs of autistic pupils. Limitations of the study and the potential for future research are suggested, together with recommendations for the inclusion of the position of autistic teacher in ITE concerning autism.
[NB In line with recommendations by the National Autistic Society and with current research (Kenny et al., 2016), the term ‘autistic’ is used in preference to ‘person with autism’.]