Mara Westling AllodiProfessor
Professor i Specialpedagogik
Koordinator för Forskarskolan i Specialpedagogik med inriktning mot tidiga insatser i förskola och skola, finansierad av Vetenskapsrådet
Samarbetspartner i Forskarskola om pedagogik och särskild begåvning för lärarutbildare (2021-2026) GiftED
Projektledare för Stöd till extremt prematurfödda barn SPIBI Clinical Trials
Lek och samspel för alla barn i inkluderande förskolemiljöer webbplats
Nätverket Inkluderande Lärandemiljöer och Tidiga Insatser (ILTI)
Stimulerande miljöer för lärande med integration av lärandets socio-emotionella komponenter finansierad av Vetenskapsrådet Samspel i samklang med elevernas behov
I urval från Stockholms universitets publikationsdatabas
Introducing a program supporting social interactions and play in inclusive preschools in Sweden: reflections on a stepwise collaborative implementation process
2023. Eva Siljehag, Mara Westling Allodi. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal 31 (1), 124-142Artikel
Studies have shown that children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) are less engaged in social interactions with peers. The study attempted to investigate how Swedish preschool teachers in inclusive preschool settings implemented an evidence-based program called Play Time/Social Time; how they interpreted children’s interaction; and how their professional experiences changed. The study was conducted in three preschools; four preschool teachers and one special educator participated. The play intervention included three children in need of special support. Data were collected through structured observations and group and individual interviews. The results show that the teachers acquired skills of implementing accrued play interventions in a preschool setting as well as increased interaction between children with special educational needs and other children. Play Time/ Social Time’s structured approach seems to be appreciated by the teachers in this study; its practice contributed to teachers’ professional development in supporting inclusion in their classroom and in joining a framework of collegial collaboration.
Supporting children’s social play with peer-based intervention and instruction in four inclusive Swedish preschools
2022. Maria Gladh (et al.). Frontiers in EducationArtikel
This multiple case study investigated a peer-based intervention and instruction (PBII) for social play, Play Time/Social Time (PT/ST), in four inclusive Swedish preschools. PT/ST contains 28 learning activities where children playfully practice six social skills with significance for social play and friendships. One teacher in each preschool was trained and instructed to implement PT/ST, two with coaching early in the implementation, and two without. At each preschool, one child with special educational needs (SEN) in social play (n = 4) and one or two socially skilled peers (n = 6) participated. The study aimed to explore how the teachers perceived the influence of PT/ST on social engagement and social play skills in the children with SEN, with/without coaching, and if PT/ST supported social play between the children with and without SEN. It also aimed to examine the feasibility of PT/ST and the influence on preschool inclusion quality in the preschools, with/without coaching. Observational assessments and video observations were used. The results indicate that PT/ST was beneficial for the children with SEN to engage in social play with peers and practice social skills, and for the preschool’s inclusion quality regarding involvement in peer interactions and guidance in play, both with/without coaching for the teachers. However, the coaching strengthened the intervention fidelity. Social play occurred between the children with and without SEN in activities where they seemed similarly attracted by the toys and play materials and when they all could engage in the play goals, tasks, and roles. For this, they sometimes needed instructions and encouragement from the teachers.
Reliability and Validity of a Teacher Impressions Scale to Assess Social Play of Swedish Children in Inclusive Preschools
2022. Mina Sedem (et al.). Assessment for Effective InterventionArtikel
Play and peer interactions are crucial for children’s socioemotional development and growth. However, children with special needs, disabilities, and developmental delays may not participate in play with peers as much as typically developing children. Reliable and valid assessment information of children’s social behavior is necessary to design programs that support the socioemotional development of young children with and without special needs. The Teacher Impression Scale (TIS) is a behavioral rating scale based on systematic observations of children’s social behaviors in play. The study aimed to examine the internal structure evidence and the reliability of the Swedish version of the TIS. A sample of 46 preschool teachers used the TIS to rate the social behavior of 92 children. Teachers observed children with special education needs (SEN) and typically developing children (TD) during a 2-week time to assess the children’s social interactions in different play situations. The results showed that the Swedish version of the TIS, hereafter called TIS-S is reliable and can help teachers to identify the need of support for children in play and social interaction in inclusive preschool environments. Furthermore, the instrument could also be useful for identifying special educational strategies aimed at strengthening the social interaction between children.
Students' well-being and perceptions of social climate measured with GAVIS- a theory -based instrument
2022. Mara Westling Allodi, Noam Ringer.Konferens
Students’ wellbeing is considered a valuable outcomeof education, alongside academic success. The learn-ing milieu with its social climate is a construct thatdenotes activities and relations, regular proximal pro-cesses supporting learning and development. A modelto describe such a construct, compatible with varioustheories (theory of psychosocial environments, theo-ry of universal human values, self-determination the-ory) has been developed and validated with analysisof children’s experiences of learning environments(Allodi 2002, Lundqvist et al. 2016) and is applied insome instruments - teacher questionnaire, classroomobservation, and student questionnaire - which canbe used both in research and in practice, in order tomake evaluations and plan interventions.
Self-Concept, Prosocial School Behaviors, Well-Being, and Academic Skills in Elementary School Students: A Whole-Child Perspective: A Whole-Child Perspective
2022. Carina Wikman, Mara Westling Allodi, Laura Anne Ferrer-Wreder. Education Sciences 12 (5)Artikel
Whole-child development focuses on supporting not only academic but also social emotional skills. This cross-sectional study's aim was to examine the associations between the child-rated self-concept and well-being, teacher-rated prosocial school behaviors, and academic skills (as measured by child performance tasks) and to examine if there were group differences by gender for these constructs. The sample was 143 s grade students (M age = 8 years old). The results indicate that self-concept correlated highly with well-being and moderately with prosocial behaviors, while academic skills correlated moderately with prosocial behaviors. The results also show that the boys had lower average prosocial behavior (teacher-rated) and self-concept (child-rated) ratings relative to the girls. The findings indicate that prosocial behavior, well-being, and self-concept can be measured in psychometrically sound and practically meaningful ways in Swedish elementary schools. Because many of the socioemotional and behavioral constructs were correlated with academic skills, these constructs could be important targets for early academic support interventions inspired by a whole-child approach.
Ledarskap, delaktighet och specialpedagogik - att skapa en bra arbetsmiljö som präglas av gemenskap
2021. Mara Westling Allodi. Ledarskap, sociala relationer och konflikthantering för lärare, 339-369Kapitel
Att leda en pedagogisk verksamhet betyder att skapa en bra arbetsmiljö som präglas av gemenskap. Eftersom en viktig målsättning i pedagogiska miljöer är lärande, är det inte tillräckligt att skapa trivsel, utan de aspekter i arbetsmiljön som främjar lärande ska specifikt uppmärksammas och utvecklas. Kvaliteten i lärandemiljön är en viktig fråga generellt, men även i specialpedagogiska insatser, för att motverka att elever drar sig undan och inte deltar i de aktiviteter som planeras.
Specialpedagogik för lärare
2021. .Bok (red)
Specialpedagogik för lärare riktar sig till alla lärarstuderande men passar även på specialpedagog- och speciallärarprogram. Boken speglar kärnan i läraruppdraget, det vill säga att stödja lärmiljöer som främjar välbefinnande och lärande och gör alla elever delaktiga. Antologin bidrar till att aktualisera kunskap om alla barns och ungdomars utveckling och behov och integrerar dem i gynnsamma undervisningspraktiker.
Specialpedagogik för lärare täcker in följande delar av den utbildningsvetenskapliga kärnan:
- specialpedagogikens roll i utbildningssystemet
- tidiga insatser i förskolan och skolan
- specialpedagogik och organisationspecialpedagogik i klassrummet
- specialpedagogiska insatser och risker i utveckling eller funktionsnedsättningar.
Capitalizing on Classroom Climate to Promote Positive Development
2021. Hanna Ginnner Hau, Laura Ferrer-Wreder, Mara Westling Allodi. Handbook of Positive Youth Development, 375-386Kapitel
Although many conceptualizations of classroom climate exist, one view is that it involves individual and group level interactions in a classroom with teachers and students, as well as interactions among students. Classroom climate is important to academic and social aspects of student learning and development. The research literature on classroom climate has largely been advanced by educational and public health theory and research. This chapter presents a novel pairing of ideas and evidence about classroom climate and the field of Positive Development (PD). From a PD perspective, the classroom is a setting, which has the potential to confer an array of resources to youth. To this end, we present Goals, Attitudes, and Values in School (GAVIS) as an illustration of a research program in Sweden that demonstrates how PD theory and the study of classroom climate can intersect. Future empirical work of classroom climate taking into consideration the intersections with PD theory and research will open up new avenues for intervention and improvement of classroom climate, as well as more effective and frequent multidisciplinary collaboration within classrooms as a key ecology of youth development.
A Cluster Randomized Trial of Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS®) With Swedish Preschool Children
2021. Lilianne Eninger (et al.). Frontiers in Psychology 12Artikel
The preschool edition of Promoting Alternative THinking Strategies (PATHS(R)) is a school-based, teacher implemented universal intervention developed in the United States designed to promote social emotional competence (SEC) in children as a foundation for improved mental health. PATHS is delivered as a curriculum and it is based on theories and research regarding SEC, brain development, and optimal school environments. A majority of children in Sweden attend preschool, which is government-subsidized and follows a national curriculum focusing on both academic and social emotional learning. However, there is not so much focus on formal instruction nor manual-based lessons. The purpose of this study was to assess the short-term (pre- to post-test) effects of PATHS in the Swedish preschool setting. Using a two-wave cluster randomized trial with multi-method and informant assessment (N = 285 4 and 5-year-old Swedish children; n = 145 wait-list control; n = 140 intervention; K = 26 preschools; k = 13 intervention; k = 13 control) we assessed changes in child emotional knowledge, emotional awareness, social problem solving, prosocial play, inhibitory control, and working memory using structural equation modeling (SEM). We included schools with at least one classroom of 4-5-year-old children from three municipalities. We excluded open preschools, parent cooperative preschools, and family day homes. After random assignment, schools were informed of condition assignment. Research team members were not blind to assignment. We hypothesized that relative to children in control schools, children in intervention schools would evidence improvements in social emotional competence as well as other outcomes. Children in PATHS, relative to children in the control, evidenced improvements in working memory and prosocial play, but also showed an increase in hyperactive behaviors. Girls in PATHS, relative to girls in the control, showed improvement in emotional knowledge and reduced anxiety. These results are considered in light of efforts to promote positive development and mental health.
How I Feel about My School—Adaptation and Validation of an Educational Well-Being Measure among Young Children in Sweden
2021. Rasmus Riad (et al.). International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18 (10)Artikel
The well-being of children has received increasing attention in recent years. Nevertheless, we lack adequate brief self-report tools that enable us to consider young children’s well-being in policy evaluations and educational research. This study describes the adaptation and first validation of theSwedish version of How I Feel About My School (HIFAMS), a subjective well-being questionnaire suitable for children aged 4 to 12 years, which was originally developed in the United Kingdom (UK). Descriptive statistics with analysis of psychometric properties and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) are based on the perceived well-being of 228 children in preschool and school aged 5 to 8 years old. The CFA endorsed a good fit to a one-factor model, and the scale showed moderate internal consistency (rα = 0.63). The results are largely in line with the findings of the original HIFAMS. We conclude that the Swedish version can be applied in early preschool/school settings and could provide first-hand information about children’s well-being from the first years of education until elementary school grades. Practitioners in early education settings might benefit from HIFAMS assessments when seeking to understand children’s current well-being to provide support to children with special educational needs or children at risk for mental health issues. Researchers could use the HIFAMS to standardize child well-being evaluations in policy evaluations and interventional studies.
Social validity and psychometric properties of Teacher Impression Scale – A pilot study
2021. Maria Gladh (et al.). European Journal of Special Needs EducationArtikel
Teachers of inclusive early childhood education (ECE) are responsible for monitoring children’s social skills achievement, and promoting social play between children with and without special educational needs (SEN). The Teacher Impression Scale (TIS) is an observational assessment developed for this purpose. This study aims to explore the social validity of the Swedish version of TIS, TIS-S, and to evaluate its effectiveness in identifying participants for peer-mediated interventions in Swedish preschools; by also testing the internal consistency, and the construct and criterion-related validity of the scale. The teachers (N = 16) observed children with SEN (n = 16) and without SEN (n = 16) in social play situations with TIS-S and subsequently answered a survey. Data were analysed quantitatively and qualitatively. Results demonstrate that the TIS-S has high internal reliability. The TIS-S also discriminated between the groups of children with and without SEN, which provided evidence of construct and criterion validity. Social validity was verified as the teachers reported that TIS-S was suitable for recognising individual children’s need for support in interactions with peers, planning for adaptations for all children in the social learning environment, and reflecting on the complexity of children’s social behaviour in play.
Early intervention program of extreme preterm born infants, status report three years into the project
2021. Erika Baraldi (et al.).Konferens
Children born extremely preterm (e.g. before 28 gestational weeks, EPT) runs a greater risk of cognitive, motor and neurobehavioral impairment later in life, compared to children born at term. Moreover, being a parent of an EPT born child increases the probability of developing depression and posttraumatic stress disorder post-partum, as well as the premature birth may affect the parent-child interaction negatively. In an attempt to decrease the psychological and motoric negative impact of both the child and parents, our multi-professional team has developed an early intervention during the first year at home focusing om parent-child interaction of the EPT born children: Stockholm Preterm Interaction-Based Intervention, SPIBI (Baraldi et al., 2020a). The target of the RCT is 130 children and after 32 months 112 children has been included in the study, evenly distributed in the intervention group and control group. At children’s corrected age of one-year, parents from 14 of the first included families were interviewed about their experiences from the intervention program, resulting in a qualitative article. Three main themes of parental experiences of the first year at home emerged: child-related concerns (concerning child medical state, self-regulation and recovery), parental inner state (concerning loneliness, ambivalence and premature parental identity), and changed family dynamics (concerning the couple, siblings and intergenerational support). The parents from the intervention group reported that the intervention had given them security, a sense that the interventionist has been knowledgeable and in some cases that the program was important but not necessary to them (Baraldi et al., 2020b). With 85% of the targeted subjects included it is clear that an extensive early home-visit intervention program is feasible in the Swedish context, even though the pandemic has slowed down the recruitment pace and has forced adjustments to be made such as the use of telemedicine, exclusion of toys in the follow-up process and intensified hygienic procedures.
Teachers’ Experiences of Facilitators and Barriers to Implement Theme-Based Cooperative Learning in a Swedish Context
2021. Lisa Fohlin, Mina Sedem, Mara Westling Allodi. Frontiers in Education 6Artikel
Implementing Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) in school settings can be challenging. This case study presents barriers and facilitators expressed by kindergarten teachers (N = 6) during the implementation of a theme-based cooperative learning project over the course of a semester. During three group interviews, at the start, mid-point, and end, the teachers expressed their thoughts and experiences about the project. The Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) was used to identify and analyze barriers and facilitators throughout the project. The importance of organizational investment, collegial connection and collaboration, the pedagogical fit of the EBP, and plans for long-term change were highlighted as beneficial factors for successful implementation in this case study.
Reading Development among Swedish Children: The Importance of Contextual Resources and Language Ability
2021. Birgitta Herkner (et al.). Cogent Education 8 (1)Artikel
Language abilities in preschool years, including those measured with letter knowledge, are predictors of reading development in later school years. The aim of this study was to investigate variation in children's language abilities before they started school in relation to gender and neighborhood level socioeconomic status (SES). Schools from three municipalities with varied resources and living conditions participated in this study. The participants were 231 children 4-6 years old (girls n = 117, boys n = 114; mean age 4.8 years old; SD = 6 months). In this cross-sectional study, children took the Rapid Automatized Naming (RAN) object test and a Letter Knowledge task. Results showed no significant differences in task performance between boys and girls. Children attending preschools situated in average to above average SES areas had higher scores on the RAN object task compared to those who attended preschools located in low SES neighborhoods. Finally, a significant association was found between children's first language and SES. The implications of these results are explored in this article.
The Cultural Adaptation of Interventions to Promote Positive Development: The Preschool Edition of PATHS®in Sweden
2021. Laura Ferrer-Wreder (et al.). Handbook of Positive Youth Development, 399-413Kapitel
This chapter is a commentary regarding advances in the intervention cultural adaptation research literature, particularly as it concerns positive development (PD) interventions. An overview of research on PD interventions is provided. Thereafter, the chapter focuses on the implementation of PD interventions cross-nationally, highlighting the importance of cultural adaptation in this process. The Planned Intervention Adaptation (PIA) protocol is used along with a case study, as an illustration of steps that can be taken in the cultural adaptation of interventions and to highlight issues that can be at stake when culturally adapting PD interventions. The case is an overview of the cultural adaptation of the preschool edition of PATHS®. PATHS® is an American (U.S.) developed, school-based teacher implemented intervention designed to support young children’s social emotional competence and to change schools’ climate in ways that foster social emotional learning. Social emotional competence is an important expression of PD. This chapter provides an overview of how specific aspects of culture and context were considered in a PATHS® effectiveness trial. This chapter concludes with a summary of lessons learned from this case and the need to culturally recast some concepts in the process of translation, as well as a consideration of promising approaches to advance the development, impact, and spread of adaptable culturally relevant PD interventions.
Parents’ Experiences of the First Year at Home with an Infant Born Extremely Preterm with and without Post-Discharge Intervention
2020. Erika Baraldi (et al.). International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17 (24)Artikel
With increasing survival rates of children born extremely preterm (EPT), before gestational week 28, the post-discharge life of these families has gained significant research interest. Quantitative studies of parental experiences post-discharge have previously reported elevated levels depressive symptoms, posttraumatic stress-disorder and anxiety among the parents. The current investigation aims to qualitatively explore the situation for parents of children born EPT in Sweden during the first year at home. Semi-structured interviews were performed with 17 parents of 14 children born EPT; eight parents were from an early intervention group and nine parents from a group that received treatment as usual, with extended follow-up procedures. Three main themes were identified using a thematic analytic approach: child-related concerns, the inner state of the parent, and changed family dynamics. Parents in the intervention group also expressed themes related to the intervention, as a sense of security and knowledgeable interventionists. The results are discussed in relation to different concepts of health, parent–child interaction and attachment, and models of the recovery processes. In conclusion, parents describe the first year at home as a time of prolonged parental worries for the child as well as concerns regarding the parent’s own emotional state.
Stockholm preterm interaction-based intervention (SPIBI) - study protocol for an RCT of a 12-month parallel-group post-discharge program for extremely preterm infants and their parents
2020. Erika Baraldi (et al.). BMC Pediatrics 20 (1)Artikel
Background: Improved neonatal care has resulted in increased survival rates among infants born after only 22 gestational weeks, but extremely preterm children still have an increased risk of neurodevelopmental delays, learning disabilities and reduced cognitive capacity, particularly executive function deficits. Parent-child interaction and parental mental health are associated with infant development, regardless of preterm birth. There is a need for further early interventions directed towards extremely preterm (EPT) children as well as their parents. The purpose of this paper is to describe the Stockholm Preterm Interaction-Based Intervention (SPIBI), the arrangements of the SPIBI trial and the chosen outcome measurements.
Methods: The SPIBI is a randomized clinical trial that includes EPT infants and their parents upon discharge from four neonatal units in Stockholm, Sweden. Inclusion criteria are EPT infants soon to be discharged from a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), with parents speaking Swedish or English. Both groups receive three initial visits at the neonatal unit before discharge during the recruitment process, with a strengths-based and development-supportive approach. The intervention group receives ten home visits and two telephone calls during the first year from a trained interventionist from a multi-professional team. The SPIBI intervention is a strengths-based early intervention programme focusing on parental sensitivity to infant cues, enhancing positive parent-child interaction, improving self-regulating skills and supporting the infant’s next small developmental step through a scaffolding process and parent-infant co-regulation. The control group receives standard follow-up and care plus extended assessment. The outcomes of interest are parent-child interaction, child development, parental mental health and preschool teacher evaluation of child participation, with assessments at 3, 12, 24 and 36 months corrected age (CA). The primary outcome is emotional availability at 12 months CA.
Discussion: If the SPIBI shows positive results, it could be considered for clinical implementation for child-support, ethical and health-economic purposes. Regardless of the outcome, the trial will provide valuable information about extremely preterm children and their parents during infancy and toddlerhood after regional hospital care in Sweden.
Trial registration: The study was registered in ClinicalTrials.gov in October 2018 (NCT03714633).
Culturally diverse families of young children with ASD in Sweden
2020. Rano Zakirova-Engstrand (et al.). PLoS ONE 15 (7)Artikel
Research suggests that families’ knowledge and cultural perceptions of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and beliefs about its etiology and prognosis, can affect parents’ recognition of the first signs of autism in their children and influence help seeking and treatment decisions.
This study investigated explanatory models of autism among parents of young children with ASD in the multicultural context of Sweden.
Seventeen parents from diverse cultural, ethnic and linguistic backgrounds participated in semi-structured interviews. A deductive approach to qualitative content analysis was used to analyze data. Five domains of the Explanatory Model supplementary module of the Cultural Formulation Interview (CFI) were used as coding categories, operationalized as ‘Parents’ understanding of autism’; ‘Autism prototypes’; ‘Causal explanations’; ‘Course of autism’, and ‘Help seeking and treatment expectations’
The results showed that parents’ prior knowledge of autism and experience of young children’s typical developmental trajectories, as well as the opinions of children’s grandparents and preschool teachers, affected symptom recognition and help seeking. There were differences in parents’ explanatory models before and after ASD diagnosis. Initial interpretations of the disorder included medical conditions and reaction to environmental influences, while genetic, supernatural/religious factors, and vaccinations were mentioned as definite causes after obtaining a clinical diagnosis. Parents also held multiple explanatory models, influenced by the views of family members and information obtained from media or from health care professionals. Parents’ treatment decisions included use of available state-funded support services, and complementary and alternative treatments.
The results demonstrate the utility of the CFI’s Explanatory Model supplementary module in autism research. Implications for clinical practice are discussed.
Childcare, Culture, and Child Development
2020. Laura Ferrer Wreder (et al.). The Oxford Handbook of Moral DevelopmentKapitel
This chapter concerns theory and research relevant to child development and early childhood education and care (ECEC), which is a key ecology for human development. In this chapter, the authors provide an overview of the organizational features and processes important to understanding these settings. The authors then focus on describing the Nordic welfare model as it relates to ECEC settings, with an exploration of how certain ethics are reflected in the design, goals, and practice of ECEC settings in Sweden. The chapter then moves to summarizing and reflecting on the empirical research literature on how Swedish ECEC settings may support aspects of children’s moral development; finally, the authors pose several questions that may prove important to advancing future research in this area.
Play for Children with Disabilities
2019. Mara Westling Allodi (et al.). Users' Needs Report on Play for Children with Disabilities, 104-116Kapitel
The aim of this study is twofold: firstly the aim is to give a short description of the policy context of Sweden, which is relevant for the topic of “Play for children with disabilities”, through a presentation of the legislation and the policies of stakeholders, the national and local agencies and authorities with responsibilities in this field, and of other non-governmental organizations. Secondly, the aim is to perform a mapping of the users’ needs concerning play for children with disabilities, which are emerging from available research from relevant disciplines, reports and investigations made from the authorities and organizations that have responsibilities in this field, and other relevant stakeholders in Sweden. The content of the mapping effectuated are the users’ needs, the barriers and the facilitators that are described in the identified reports.
2019. Göran Ahlqvist (et al.). Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health 13Artikel
A curriculum was planned using modern concepts based on the “old” principles to test if such an educational intervention provided pupils with good mental health and a solid basis for good reading and writing skills, as well as generated a positive attitude to learn. These “old” principles were based on previous knowledge derived from school psychiatry (which in Sweden was a branch of child and adolescent psychiatry 1915–1970), educational psychology and the educational approach from the differentiating Swedish School system of 1946–1970 (itself based on the principles of curative education “Heilpädagogie”, which was later renamed mental health care).
All six available schools in the small Swedish city of Sävsjö participated in the study. In these six schools there were eight preschool classes that included every 6-year old child living in the city. In total there were 184 families with 186 children (including 2 pairs of twins) who belonged to these preschool classes and were invited to take part in the study. One family moved just before school-start and 8 decided not to participate, thus 177 children (84 boys and 93 girls, aged 5.6–6.6 years) entered the study. The preschool classes were randomized into an experimental group with four preschool classes and a comparison group with four preschool classes. The experimental group followed a teaching program from the start of the preschool year until the end of grade 3 that was tailored to each student’s individual capacity based on the concepts of school maturation and curative education used in the Swedish schools during the period 1946–1970. The comparison group followed today’s average Swedish school curriculum. The project was planned as an intervention study covering the preschool year and the first 3 years of elementary school, which was to form a basis for a follow-up when the pupils had left senior high, the 12th year in Swedish public school. The outcome and the achievements were measured at end of grade 3 using standardized tests on reading, writing and mathematical skills. Behavior was assessed at school start and at end of grade 3 using the Child Behavior Check List (CBCL-scales) in addition to a questionnaire on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) with criteria from DSM-IV. The children made a self-evaluation of their attitude towards learning.
At the end of school year 3, the children in the experimental group had an improved reading capacity (p = 0.002, effect size(es) = 4.35) and reading comprehension (p = 0.03, es = 0.04). They evaluated their own reading (p = 0.02, es = 0.23), writing (p = 0.007, es = 0.35) and mathematical skills (p = 0.003, es = 0.48) as going “very well” when compared to comparison group. Differences regarding intelligence quotas between the groups at the start of school had disappeared by the end of grade 3. No differences referring to CBCL were found at end of grade 3. One child in the comparison group fulfilled criteria for AD/HD, according to parents and teachers.
The alternative curriculum covering the preschool year through the first 3 years of elementary school based on the old principles from curative education (“Heilpädagogie”), educational psychology and school psychiatry gave the children in the experimental group a better reading capacity and reading comprehension.
Trial registration The study started in 1998. The data were collected longitudinally and prospectively but have not been analyzed until now, with the children having left senior high. A retrospective registration in the ISRCTN is pending.
Observation of Social Participation in Play
2019. Mara Allodi Westling (et al.).Konferens
Aim. The aim of this presentation is to describe: - the process that we adopted in order to develop an instrument to observe play and social interaction recorded in natural preschool settings; - the contents of the instrument.
The instrument will be used in a peer-mediated intervention based on Play Time/Social Time (Odom et al. 1997), where we need a reliable and valid measure of children’s play behaviour and social skill, which would make the external observers able to detect possible changes after the intervention and as a complement to other instruments, as teachers’ impressions ratings (TIS) and structured classroom observations (ICP).
Background. The program PTST was translated to Swedish. The contents of the interventions were discussed with students and practitioners and tested in small scale studies, showing a good social validity (Siljehag & Allodi, 2017). A pilot study was conducted in four preschools. The analysis of data from the trial is currently ongoing.
Procedure. We obtained an observation instrument that has been used in previous research on friendship for children with autism, the Friendship Observation Scale (FOS) (Bauminger, Aviezer & Rogers, 2004). Its contents matched fairly well our interventions’ contents. We made a translation and adaptation. The contents of Social Participation Observation in Play (SPOP) were discussed with an expert educator from our team who tested it in field observations in preschool. After her feedback we reduced the number of behaviours to observe, retaining behaviours that were more likely to happen with young children, and that were targeted by the program. Simple Video Coder (Barto, Bird, Hamilton et al., 2017) or other available software will be used to code the videorecorded interactions. It will be used in the study: Social Interaction in play time and language activities (2018-00018) funded by Skolforskningsinstitutet /Swedish Institute for Educational Research.
A Critical Review of Ideology, Policy and Circumstances in the Swedish Context Related to Inclusive Education Organisational Climate and Students’ Wellbeing
2017. Mara Allodi Westling. Special Educational Needs and Inclusive Practices, 97--116Kapitel
The learning environment in the classroom with its daily interactions involves processes that can be developed and utilised to strengthen educational environments, preventing difficulties and enhancing learning for the students. Yet the classroom environments are imbedded in educational organisations that are influenced by local and national policies and by societal factors as ideologies and values. Based on analyses of reforms introduced in the Swedish Educational system and of their effects, this paper will analyse influences on the educational organisation that may thwart the traditionally agreed upon humanistic values of fairness and equity, and therefore may counteract the efforts to build developmentally healthy and effective learning environments. In planning interventions for more inclusive and successful learning environments in school, it would be opportune to consider the influence of organizational factors at broader levels, if they represent forces and values to combat.
Characteristics of Swedish preschools that provide education and care to children with special educational needs
2016. Johanna Lundqvist, Mara Westling Allodi, Eva Siljehag. European Journal of Special Needs Education 31 (1), 124-139Artikel
In Sweden, preschool inclusion is embraced and preschools are open for children both with and without special educational needs. The purpose of this study was to examine the characteristics of a number of preschool units in Sweden that provide education and care to children with special educational needs with regard to organisation, resources and quality. The purpose was also to provide reflections on the usefulness of different structured observation rating scales designed to assess preschool quality. Eight preschool units located in four Swedish districts were visited. A total of sixteen 5-year-old children with special educational needs/disability and forty typically developing children of the same age participated. The data sources were structured observation rating scales (Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale, Caregiver Interaction Scale and Inclusive Classroom Profile), ABILITIES Index questionnaire, unstructured observation, interviews, conversations and documents. Two overall typologies of preschool units were identified: the comprehensive units enrolled children with various special educational needs/disability, while the specialised units enrolled children with the same disability. The staff resources were greater in the specialised units. The overall quality in the observed units ranged from low to good. In units educating children with a disability diagnosis, the quality was never low. None of the preschool units was scored as having a good inclusive environment. The structured observation rating scales complemented each other and covered, in part, different quality aspects of the units. The study shows that there is a large variation in quality between the units and that there is a need to further develop the quality of the preschool units and of the services for children with special educational needs in Swedish preschools.
Simple-minded accountability measures create failure schools in disadvantaged contexts
2013. Mara Allodi Westling. Policy Futures in Education 11 (4), 331-363Artikel
The principles of new public management – market mechanisms, accountability and standards – have been applied in the education system. These methods are supposed to increase efficiency, but there is also a risk of negative consequences from the services provided if the measures of performance target a reduced range of goals, ignore relevant variables or are not valid measures. Indicators used to compare schools’ performance are aggregate measures, such as the percentage of students who have access to secondary education and the average qualification value. This study reports how accountability policy and procedures may affect the functioning of the education system through the case study of a school serving a diverse student population. The school organisation was influenced by measures of performance, external events and contextual and selection variables. The average qualification value measure seems to be a limited measure of performance at the school level, since it largely reflects school composition and school segregation. Even the available performance measures adjusted for background variables do not take account of relevant variables that may influence the school’s need of resources and its results, such as students’ language proficiency and special educational needs. Other performances that are not easily measured – such as the prevention of dropout, improvement of school attendance and provision of an equitable education for all students – are disregarded. Schools serving those students with the most needs risk being penalised by an approximate and restricted range of accountability systems because there is a risk that the schools will appear to be failing when they are working with more complex and advanced tasks than average schools. Based on these inaccurate performance measurements, the school may be targeted with wide-ranging, severe and basically unjust interventions.
School, Learning and Mental Health
2010. Jan-Eric Gustafsson (et al.).Rapport
Rapporten presenterar resultaten från en systematisk översikt av forskning om skola, lärande och barns psykiska hälsa. Kungliga Vetenskapsakademiens Hälsoutskottet har givit uppdraget att genomföra en sådan översikt till en arbetsgrupp som har arbetat med uppdraget från hösten 2008 till mars 2009.
Det första syftet med översikten är att genomföra en kartläggning av forskning inom det breda fält som behandlar frågor om skola, lärande och barns och ungdomars psykiska hälsa. Det andra syftet är att genomföra en narrativ syntes av forskning som undersökt orsaksförhållanden mellan psykisk hälsa å ena sidan och skolresultat och lärande å den andra sidan. Det tredje syftet är att redovisa resultat från forskning som har studerat svenska barns och ungdomars erfarenheter och upplevelser av skola och undervisningssituationer. För att uppnå de första två syftena genomfördes systematiska litteratursökningar i bibliografiska databaser av artiklar publicerade i vetenskapliga internationella tidskrifter inom olika discipliner. Det tredje syftet undersöktes med litteratursökningar av kvalitativa svenska studier i bibliografiska databaser.
På grundval dels av kartläggningen av forskning om skola, lärande och psykisk hälsa, dels av de två fördjupade översikterna kan följande slutsatser dras:
• Omfattningen av forskning som undersöker relationerna mellan olika aspekter av skola och psykisk hälsa är begränsad och i synnerhet gäller detta forskning som undersöker organisationsfaktorer och undervisnings-faktorer, aktiviteter, läroplaners utformning, resurser, specialpedagogiskt stöd, och olika former av betyg och bedömning.
• Tidiga svårigheter i skolan och i synnerhet läs- och skrivsvårigheter kan orsaka internaliserande och externaliserande psykiska problem.
• Svårigheter i skola och psykiska problem tenderar att vara stabila över tid.
• Skolrelaterade hälsoproblem tenderar att minska när eleverna börjar på gymnasiet och får tillgång till nya områden av aktiviteter, roller och valmöjligheter.
• Att genomföra stora ansträngningar utan att detta leder till resultat är relaterat till utveckling av depression.
Problem i skolan med skolresultat och prestationer orsakar inter-naliserande symptom för flickor under tonåren.
• Det finns samband mellan olika typer av psykiska problem och de är också relaterade till ett brett spektrum av somatiska och psykosomatiska symptom.
• Internaliserande och externaliserande psykiska problem har negativa effekter på skolprestationer genom mekanismer som är delvis ålders- och genusspecifika.
• Kompetenser och prestationer i skolan är relaterade till psykisk hälsa.
• Goda resultat i skolan har en positiv effekt på självuppfattning.
• En god självuppfattning bidrar inte direkt till bättre resultat, men andra faktorer som är relaterade till självuppfattning (motivation och upplevd inre/yttre kontroll) påverkar lärande och resultat
• Relationer med klasskamrater och lärare bidrar till processer som kopplar skolmisslyckande till psykisk ohälsa. Relationer med kamrater och lärare kan också skydda mot utvecklingen av psykiska problem.
• Jämförelser med klasskamrater påverkar självuppfattningen, med effekter som varierar beroende på gruppsammansättning och typ av skola.
The meaning of social climate of learning environments
2010. Mara Allodi Westling. Learning Environments Research 13 (2), 89-104Artikel
The purpose of this paper is to analyse reasons underlying the neglect of social climate in education. It discusses the relevance of the concept of social climate in learning environments: presenting evidence of its effects; its importance in special needs and inclusive education; presenting existing differences between settings; discussing the contribution of social climate to teachers’ professional autonomy. The arguments support the view that social climate is an essential factor in educational processes and make incomprehensible the scarce attention reserved to it in educational policy, research and teacher programs. Indications of neglect in the Swedish context are presented. The resistance towards the concept of social climate is related to a) dualistic and hierarchic views; b) characteristics of bureaucratic systems; c) reductionist interpretations; d) difficulties in handling and evaluating social values and goals; e) post-modern criticism of scientific knowledge and psychology. Implications for counteracting reductive interpretations and meeting resistance and criticism are discussed.
Users' needs on play for children with disabilities
2017. Mara Allodi Westling, Tamara Zappaterra. Handicap, Reconnaissance et “Vivreensemble” [Recognition and “Community living”], 10-10Konferens
The COST Action ”LUDI-Play for Children with Disabilities” is devoted to the enhancement of play for children with disabilities. In order to develop policies, practices and professional training on the topic of play for children with disabilities, it is necessary to take account of the users’ needs. Aim. The aim of the study is to investigate the users’ needs on play for children with disabilities. Method. Surveys directed to disability associations and parents, developed by the COST Action ”LUDI-Play for Children with Disabilities” were distributed to 31 coordinators and translated into 23 languages. 75 answers were collected from association in 24 countries and 129 from parents in 26 countries. Results from Associations. Play for play sake is important and essential for a wide range of reasons. Play conduces to an array of positive outcome for the child, even if it is experienced as a free activity without specific objectives. Results from parents. Play is an activity that fulfil essential needs for the child. The child’s needs were to have friends and peers, adapted and specialized toys, a knowledgeable adult; improved skills necessary to play; accessible outdoor environments; available time; societal attitudes, policy and resources. The children’s experiences of play were reported. Play is an engaging activity in which the children observe, communicate, share and experience participation. Play means positive emotions as joy, happiness, relax, excitement and fun. The children experience agency when they play. The children wanted to play for more time, to have more options, adaptions, and to overcome barriers.
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