Jack McKinlay, from Old Kilpatrick near Glasgow, is getting ready to start the final year of his Psychology degree. He is one of five UWS students to be awarded the Carnegie Vacation Scholarship.
The Carnegie Vacation Scholarship is awarded to students from qualifying higher education institutions who wish to undertake a programme of independent research during the holiday period which will be of direct benefit to their studies.
Each project can last between two and 12 weeks, with students being paid the Scottish Living Wage.
His research project, supervised by Dr Claire Wilson, will examine parental beliefs towards the inclusion of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in mainstream schools.
Research focusing on teachers has identified factors which influence beliefs, such as knowledge and stigma of the disability, experience and previous contact with a child with the disability. Jack’s project will explore parental knowledge of ASD, stigma and level of experience/contact will be assessed to determine whether these predict attitudes towards ASD inclusion.
Jack said: “Since beginning my university education, psychological research has been of great interest to me as I am fascinated by the understanding and implications that can come from such research.
“I currently volunteer at a school where I work with children and young people with additional support needs, including ASD. I understand the difficulties such children face and the need for support. Support from teaching staff and parents is key for the development of creating well-rounded young people, and, it is my hope that the findings from my study can identify areas for intervention needed to help support parents’ understanding of inclusive education, meaning that this study has real life implications.”