MYTHOLOGIZING ASPERGER SYNDROME: EXPLORING IMPACTS ON SOCIAL JUSTICE FOR CHILDREN IN OUT-OF-HOME CARE

Irene Stevens

Abstract


While the majority of children affected by autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) remain at home and within their communities, a minority are so badly affected that they require out-of-home care. This article draws on some of the findings of the author’s doctoral thesis. Social justice discourse and critical disability studies have alerted researchers to the foregrounding of privileged ideas in society. For this study, texts were analyzed using ideas from Foucault and Critical Discourse Analysis. Textual analysis revealed that the discourse of Asperger Syndrome comprises an association with high intelligence, special talents (especially in maths or computing) and possibly with genius. There is also a prevailing belief within the discourse of Asperger Syndrome that it is a “mild disorder”. The voices of children who are seriously affected by Asperger Syndrome, to the extent that they may need out-of-home care, are absent. A field study that examined the views of potential and newly recruited child care practitioners demonstrated the ways in that incomplete messages from the discourse of Asperger Syndrome can affect practice.


Keywords


autism, Asperger Syndrome, disability, discourse analysis

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International Journal of Child, Youth & Family Studies
ISSN
(online) 1920-7298
© University of Victoria

 

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