An Exploratory Analysis of Educational Psychologists'Understandings of Ethnic Minority Cultural Factorswithin Assessments for Autistic Spectrum Condition

UoM administered thesis: Doctor of Educational and Child Psychology

  • Authors:
  • James Rupasinha


The global epidemiology of Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) is not thought to vary as a function of ethnicity. However, evidence suggests that the identified prevalence of ASC may be inconsistent across ethnic groups in the UK. In the UK, educational psychologists (EPs) often play a key role in the ASC identification process. Given the believed value of accurate identification of ASC to a child's education, and the importance of providing minority ethnic groups with an equitable service, the following study explores how EPs incorporate ethnic minority cultural factors (EMCF) within ASC assessments.A multiple embedded case analysis was conducted with three EPs. Each was highly proficient in ASC assessment and brought experiences from both different geographical areas, and from service delivery through varied providers; a local authority (LA), a social enterprise, and private practice. Participants' responses in two semi-structured interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. A documentary analysis of the existing LA pathway for the assessment of ASC was completed. This was complemented with a quantitative demographic analysis of data relating to the regions in which each participant EP was working.Interview transcripts were analysed thematically, and findings are presented through thematic maps. Content analysis of the existing policies revealed considerable variation between LAs in how ASC is assessed in school age children. Integration of findings revealed six considerations made in ASC assessments with EMC children, potentially impacting upon their consultations with parents, and their direct work with the child. Further examination suggests that the EP's work context can influence their considerations through four avenues. It appears that EPs' understanding of EMCF within ASC assessments is influenced by professional experiences and opportunities within their local context.The study extends understanding how EPs consider EMCF in their assessments for ASC. Findings are discussed with regards to their implications for theory, practice and future research.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date31 Dec 2014