Sulata Ajit Sankardas a
a University of Northampton, UK.
(Received 27 May 2021, Final revised version received 01 September 2021)
This study aimed to provide insights into the knowledge and awareness of applying Differentiated Instruction (DI) as an interventional tool for teaching children with Autism in mainstream schools, and thereby encouraging inclusive teaching practices. A mixed-methods approach was implemented with a purposive sample of stakeholders. These included mainstream teachers, special educators and parents. The research was conducted using questionnaires (distribution N=188) and 31 semi-structured interviews with respondents from a sample of six mainstream schools in Chennai, India. The findings suggest that stakeholders’ view DI strategies as being helpful and applicable for children with Autism. However, apprehensions were expressed, as DI strategies require planning, preparation, effort from teachers and support of other staff members. Teachers suggested the need for formal training in the implementation of DI strategies as this is a new teaching technique to many. Investigation of this evidence-based approach (DI) is a novel study within an Asian context and adds to the knowledge base of mainstream school teachers, special educators, parents and other support staff.
Keywords: Differentiated Instruction; Autism; Inclusion; India.