‘Um, I was getting bullied at school because I didn’t believe in God’: one family’s experience of autism, school and home education

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Home education is one of several educational options for children in Northern Ireland. Many parents decide to home educate before their child reaches school age whereas others decide following a period of enrolment within a school. In these latter cases, parents often do so because they believe that their child’s emotional, social and/or educational needs were not being met by school. Research has shown that children with special educational needs, particularly those with autism, are more at risk of not having their needs met in a classroom environment resulting in a higher proportion of these children being removed and home educated. This article focuses on one family who experienced this. The data, presented in a series of vignettes, explores their journey to home education. Their journey involved a negative school experience because of bullying and understandings of autism, sexuality and religion. The findings highlight the need for schools to become more inclusive of all children, and families, despite differences in educational needs, sexuality and religious views through additional training, awareness, and policies that are reflective of a changing society. These recommendations would help to improve the school experience for those who diverge from society’s perceptions of what is typical.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Inclusive Education
Early online date05 Mar 2019
Publication statusEarly online date - 05 Mar 2019


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