An Exploration of Teachers’ Perceptions of how the Classroom Environment Can Support Pupils with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the Mainstream Primary School


  • Dr Fionnuala Tynan Mary Immaculate College
  • Kaitlyn Davy Mary Immaculate College (student)


Autism, Classroom environment, visual aids, teacher perceptions


This study sought to explore teachers’ perceptions of how the classroom environment can be used to support learners with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). While knowledge about educational interventions for children with ASD is substantial, less is known about the design of supportive classroom environments (Martin, 2016, p.280). A qualitative approach was used, involving interviews with five primary-school teachers. The findings show that teachers viewed the physical and temporal environment as important for supporting learners with ASD. However, no teacher made significant adaptions to the physical structure of the classroom. Instead, adaptions to the design of the environment were made and in particular the use of visual supports in the environment. Teachers were more inclined to seek information from colleagues than from courses or literature which may account for the minimal discussion around making changes to the classroom environment.

Author Biographies

Dr Fionnuala Tynan, Mary Immaculate College

Dr Fionnuala Tynan is a lecturer in Inclusive Educational Methodology in the Department of Reflective Pedagogy and Early Childhood Studies, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick.

Kaitlyn Davy, Mary Immaculate College (student)

Kaitlin Davy is a primary school teacher in Dublin. She completed her Professional Masters in Education in Mary Immaculate College in 2019.


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How to Cite

Tynan, F., & Davy, K. (2021). An Exploration of Teachers’ Perceptions of how the Classroom Environment Can Support Pupils with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the Mainstream Primary School. REACH: Journal of Inclusive Education in Ireland, 34(1). Retrieved from