the effects of inclusive environments on the socio-cognitive development of students with autism
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In the society we have persons with autism which could have been caused by malnutrition in the process of pregnancy, or attempt by some mothers to abort their babies which were not successful, some autism cases in the society are caused by accidents that may cause a person to become this abled.
When this happens and the disabled person fines his or herself in an inclusive environment, the social cognitive about them turn to change as the feeling of low self-esteem, discrimination, reject starts to emerge from people who call themselves abled as they turn to connect themselves more with people of their type rather than persons with autism. The social interactions between the two set of persons is low out of low self esteem and social inclusion between the abled and the disabled.
Students with autism when they find themselves in an inclusive environment their emotional development turns to be affected due to mockery from peer groups that creates an uncomfortable environment for these students. This explains why some researchers say, “ the environment in which we find ourselves has a great role to play on our emotional development”. When the environment is comfortable the social cognitive will definitely be positive and vise versa.
BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY.
Autism disorder is a very complicated disability. Students with autism when they find themselves in an inclusive environment their psychology about their environment changes due to the feeling that almost everyone have a good relationship with their peers in such settings.
This feeling starts to bring in the concept of low self-esteem and the unwillingness of disabled persons to interact in an inclusive setting where everyone feels connected to their love ones. In the classroom environment students with autism have to be given more attention than the abled this is as a result of the fact that they are slow and cannot do things for themselves and they constantly need assistance.
Still in such a classroom atmosphere, there is a low level of interaction between the abled students and students with autism due to mockery. Discrimination and the feeling of isolation gotten from their peers who think associating with the disabled is a bad thing
The social participation of disabled people is unsatisfactory and low, one of the reasons often been overlooked but of great importance may lie in the disparate patterns of social interactions between the able and the able people. In most cases, the able prefers to interact with the table more as well as the disabled person this is because they all know they fall in a different class of people.
But with the continuous improvement on social security for person living with autism, the objective such as income, and living conditions of persons with autism have improved remarkably in the society of today meanwhile the quality of their social life has not changed.
According to( Zhang et al),(2014), the social participation of persons with autism remains unsatisfactory and low. The reason for such low interactions are their current physical abilities, discrimination, resulting from their physical disability.
However, one of the reasons often overlooked but of great importance may lie in the disparate patterns of social interaction between the able and disable because of their own social reasons, the disabled people are at a disadvantage in their own social status and resources distribution. Therefore, they are in an unequal position in their interactions with abled people which result in their low level of social participation.
simple social interactive object and low social interaction willingness as the main manifestations of their difficulties in social interactions. Reasons, why disabled people or better still people with autism may face difficulties in social interactions, could emerge as a result of the following aspects
- the able people turn to show a negative attitude towards them in their abled inclusive environment for example, social stigma and behaviors to the disabled people in daily life. It has also been reported by researcher over the years that people with autism claimed discriminations from their peers and families this is according to The able people have an inherent prejudice against the disabled people that results in the formation of public stigma this is because they fine themselves in an inclusive environment where they think associating with the disable is like lowering down their morals. While other researchers on their part say the disabled people practically internalized the public stigma place on them by people in their inclusive environment.
- The life to recognized and accept the cultural stereotype of the group they live in and apply it to themselves and thus self stigma forms .
- Another possible reason for an unequal social interaction between the able and the disable in their in their inclusive environment is as a result of differences in status. The disable are not the fringes of the society both in terms of accessing to social resources and the distribution of living environment as well as working opportunities , socio-economic status and quality of life, compared to abled people such as an unequal status may be the core reason why the disabled people do not want to participate in social interactions and establish good relationships with people especially the abled people.
In Cameroon, integrating students affected by autism in ordinary education remains a challenge within some public secondary schools in the country. Actually students with autism despite the concept of inclusive education these children still do not have access to ordinary schools which hinders significantly the achievement of education for all. The case of some of these children who manage to gain admission into some schools in the country still refuse to go to school for the fear of been mocked and discriminated upon by their peers and some teachers.
This makes the learning environment so uncomfortable for student with autism when they fine themselves in an inclusive environment. The social cognition starts to determine how they see their environment making them to start isolating themselves.
But over the years in Cameroon the government has pleaded with school authorities to always take special a note on children living with disabilities in their school campuses. This to the government is aimed at encouraging social interactions between the disabled students and their peers in the learning environment.
In war related environments, students with autism sometimes are made victims of circumstances just because they were exposed to danger at a time when they could not be protected by the ones around them who are able to safe themselves. In some cases some people around their environment make comments like if death is to pick one person it should be this person giving them stigma of fear of interaction in their environment.
In the case of the Cameroon Anglophone crisis in recent times some disables students from both the University of Bamenda and Buea have been affected with some forced to drop out of school in fear of been killed in the course of gun battles between members of the Cameroon security and defense forces and pro-separatist fighters.
It is usually very shocking in the society to hear that a student suffering with autism is graduating from high school education why because the society in which they fine themselves have made them to understand that it is always not possible for them to obtain such level of education.
In the university of Buea in the year 2019 a student with autism graduated with outstanding grades and he is the first disable student the department has ever graduated. In the course of his training program, some wondered how he was able to attend lectures and could write even write news more than his abled peers.
But speaking to him, he attest to the idea that “the way people accept us in the society gives us the feeling of belonging”. He also said “interacting with his course mates was very easy though in the beginning it was difficult. ”It is against these problems and challenges faced by students with autism that motivated this study to be carried out on the “ impact of inclusive environment on the social-cognitive and emotional development of students with autism.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Autism or autism spectrum disorder refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and non-verbal communication. People with Autism have trouble with communication, they have difficulties understanding what other people think and feel, this in turn makes it hard for them to express themselves, either with words or through gestures, facial expressions, and touch.
It was remarked that students suffering from autism were usually left behind in majority of the school settings, as these schools didn’t really practice and value a culture of inclusion and this in turn affected the quality of life both intellectually, socially and emotionally of autistic students.
Very little was done to remediate to such as we realize that most of them due to the lack of inclusive schools and other further support( assistive technology and the social life and acceptance), the competence and participation of autistic children is barely diminished not to say ignored and most of them usually drop out of school without achieving anything this was usually the picture in the Buea municipality..
Every year, about ten thousand children and adults are been diagnosed of autism of different levels, with them finding themselves in an environmental setting where people are so connected to one another, their psychology and their social interaction is a barriers in most settings especially in an inclusive environment.
This feeling makes students with autism who find themselves in such a setting to feel discriminated upon, isolated and mocked by their peers in the learning environment is already enough to be stated as a big problem in the society. Hence the need for the researcher to conduct a study on the effects of inclusive environments on the socio-cognitive and emotional development of students with a autism, as the exclusion at the level of the planning and integration of these students, the stigma and prejudice leaves them with multiple socio-cognitive and emotional deficits in their cognitive development.
OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
General research objectives
To find out the influence of inclusive environments on the socio-cognitive and emotional development of students with autism.
Specific research objectives
- To identify how the lack of assistive technology influence on the socio-cognitive and emotional development of students with autism.
- The examine how the lack of developmentally appropriate learning materials on the socio-cognitive and emotional development of students with autism.
- To investigate how poor infrastructural set up influences on the socio-cognitive and emotional development of students with autism.
General research question
How does inclusive environments influence on the socio-cognitive and emotional development of students with autism?
Specific research questions
-How does the lack of assistive technology influences on the socio-cognitive and emotional development of students with autism?
-In what ways does the lack of developmentally appropriate learning materials influence on the socio-cognitive and emotional development of students with autism?
-To what extend does poor infrastructural set up influences on the socio-cognitive and emotional development of students with autism?