Inclusion of Children on the Autism Spectrum in School

The project INCLASS develops an application-oriented set of tools for the inclusion of children on the autism spectrum: a blended learning platform for teachers, a module for (self-)assessment of competencies in teaching children on the spectrum, and a smartphone app for identifying individual barriers.

Project Description
As prevalence of autism to current estimates of at least one percent and demands for inclusive education increase, German schools have ever more autistic students while often lacking, both, knowledge of and resources for autism-adaptive education. Socio-emotional wellbeing and educational success for students on the autism spectrum depends in large part on autism-sensitive schooling. Thus, educators need professional competence in teaching autistic students1.

As a core product, the project INCLASS will develop a resource-oriented training tool for school personnel working with students on the autism spectrum to be provided in a (free and low barrier accessible) digital blended learning format. The training platform will provide the opportunity to acquire the relevant and tailored-to-needs competences in accommodating autistic students in inclusive classrooms in a flexible, time-efficient, and practical manner. It will be combined with two additional components:

  • An assessment instrument that taps teachers’ knowledge, beliefs, and motivation will be developed, which will serve as a self-assessment to provide teachers with individual feedback regarding their competence about teaching students on the autism spectrum. It will enable a needs-based selection from the training content and be used to evaluate the outcomes of the training.
  • INCLASS will explore the heterogeneous, context-specific, varying, and highly individual triggering factors of autism-related challenges and behaviors and their recognition by teachers by using experience sampling methods. A smartphone app will be developed to be used by teachers and their new students to gain knowledge about individual autism-related barriers to child wellbeing and learning.

The products – assessment tool and the digital training program with a prototype of the app – will be made available to all schools free of charge (open educational resource).

1 In the current discourse there are different terms, among others the spectrum term as well as autistic/autist, both of which we use in the context of the project. At the same time, we distance ourselves from any form of pathologizing terminology.

Principal Investigators
Kathrin Berdelmann
Charlotte Dignath
Marcus Hasselhorn
Mareike Kunter
Florian Schmiedek

Project Team
Theresa Eicher
Nick Gerrit Hasche
Maike Knodt

Leibniz Association

Selected Publications

Berdelmann, K. (in press). Neurodiversität und Wissen über Autismus im pädagogischen Fachdiskurs – eine historisch vergleichende Perspektive. In M. Grummt & M. Richter  (Eds.), Autismus und Neurodiversität. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer.

Berdelmann, K., Schmiedek, F., & Hasselhorn, M. (2021). Inklusion von Kindern mit Autismus-Spektrum-Störung. In C. Mähler & M. Hasselhorn (Eds.), Inklusion: Chancen und Herausforderungen (Tests und Trends der pädagogisch-psychologischen Diagnostik, Vol. 18, pp. 185-202). Göttingen: Hogrefe. doi:10.1026/03147-000