This study examined whether telling peers about a pupil’s diagnosis of autism at school made a difference to their reactions to them. Others have studied this topic, but it is unclear whether disclosing or withholding an autism diagnosis is best in school. Our study tested the effect of disclosing an autism diagnosis on how much distance adolescent pupils wanted to keep socially, and how much they felt the autistic pupil was responsible for their own behaviour. Our study was the first we know of to look at this in a UK school. We found disclosing an autism diagnosis did not make adolescents more willing to interact or spend time with or feel more positively towards the autistic pupil. Disclosing did reduce how much others thought the autistic pupil was responsible for their own behaviour. Based on our findings, although we can’t recommend disclosing an autism diagnosis as essential to help autistic pupils, neither can we say it’s something to avoid.
- autism spectrum disorder
- school-age children
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology