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Keywords:

  • autism;
  • bullying;
  • exclusion;
  • curriculum strategies

The number of pupils with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) being educated in mainstream schools is increasing. However, there is growing concern about their educational experiences. Research suggests that such pupils make easy targets for bullies, and are considered difficult to teach by teachers. Furthermore, pupils with ASD are more than 20 times more likely to be excluded from school than those without special educational needs. In light of such evidence, the aim of this article is to outline evidence-based strategies to facilitate the presence, participation, acceptance and achievement of pupils with ASD in mainstream settings. The strategies are presented thematically, as follows: (i) challenge stereotypes and raise expectations, (ii) create order from chaos, (iii) promote peer understanding, (iv) develop social skills, (v) adapt academic subjects, and (vi) modify conversational language. These strategies are not intended to be completely comprehensive – rather, they are starting points on a journey towards inclusion for those with ASD.