Negotiating learner autonomy: a case study on the autonomy of a learner with high-functioning autism

Article English OPEN
Sjödin, Sara (2015)
  • Publisher: Co-Action Publishing
  • Journal: Nordic Journal of Studies in Educational Policy (issn: 2002-0317, eissn: 2002-0317)
  • Subject: autism; hermeneutics; learner autonomy; narrative

The purpose of this article is to describe how the learner autonomy of a student diagnosed with high-functioning autism is regarded in regular education in a longitudinal perspective and how her educational strategies are managed by school representatives. The main data include unstructured interviews with the student and educational personnel and passive observations in the class room. The student’s intellectual orientation and scientific interests are discouraged by most teachers throughout her school years. School narratives of her perceived cognitive and educational shortcomings overshadow and counteract her autonomy. The student’s scientific interests can be seen as a means to deal with perceptions of a world that is incomprehensible and frightening. It is possible that persons with weak central coherence, more often than others, have interests concerning how things are structured and strive to organise and explain their environment. This specific kind of learner autonomy can be described as intellectual induction and could be understood as compensatory strategy of the mind. In school, however, it is discouraged with reference to the student’s problems in areas traditionally associated with learner autonomy.Keywords: autism; hermeneutics; learner autonomy; narrative(Published: 3 July 2015)Citation: NordSTEP 2015, 1: 28483 - http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/nstep.v1.28483
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