Purpose: The purpose of this study is to provide a description of the learning environment at Folk High School for participants with high-functioning autism and to examine their learning experience at Folk High School.
Methods: A qualitative interview study was conducted with 21 participants who were enrolled at Folk High School which had been adapted to suit young adults with high-functioning autism. The interviews were analysed by means of a thematic content analysis which resulted in the identification of 6 themes related to learning experiences at Folk High School.
Results: The participants enjoyed themselves and felt secure at Folk High School. They felt that they and their academic endeavours were suitably recognised, acknowledged, and understood. They reported that the teaching was suitably adapted for them and they felt that they could succeed in their studies. A frequent report that they made concerned their experience of clear structures in the teaching process and its predictability. The participants stated that Folk High School has the ability to satisfy each participant’s needs, which entailed lower levels of perceived stress than what they had experienced in their previous schooling. The participants experienced personal development during their time at Folk High School.
Conclusions: Folk High School, and its special character, is able to successfully satisfy the needs of participants with high-functioning autism. Many of the participants, for the first time in their lives, experienced a sense of inclusion in an educational system and felt that they could succeed in their studies. However, there exists a risk that they become institutionalised, which entails that the participants function well primarily in Folk High School’s safe and caring environment.