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Autism itself actually isn't a disability": The ideological dilemmas of negotiating a 'normal' versus 'abnormal' autistic identity

journal contribution
posted on 2015-05-07, 10:02 authored by Michelle J. O'Reilly, Khalid Karim, J. N. Lester
The opposing positions of the social model of disability and the biomedical framework of impairment have created tensions regarding what constitutes ‘normality’. In this article, we drew upon focus group data of parents, professionals, and people with autism, to explore how the dilemmatic tensions of normality and abnormality and of disability and ability were managed. Our findings illustrated how the boundaries of normality in relation to autism are blurred, as well as how the autistic identity is fluid. The members of the focus group invoked their epistemic rights to assert their positions and delicately considered the limitations of the rhetoric of cure. Our findings have implications for professionals working with families of children with autism, specifically as they aim to maintain a balance between providing sufficient support and not being intrusive, and we show how a medical sociology can facilitate an understanding of autism as a social category.

Funding

‘Pre-protocol award for Autism research’ National Institute for Health Research (2011) (Ref: RM62G0289/O’Reilly).

History

Citation

Communication and Medicine 2014,11(2),139-52.

Author affiliation

/Organisation/COLLEGE OF MEDICINE, BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES AND PSYCHOLOGY/School of Psychology

Version

  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in

Communication and Medicine 2014

Publisher

De Gruyter, Germany or Equinox Publishing, United Kingdom

issn

1612-1783

eissn

1613-3625

Available date

2017-03-04

Publisher version

https://journals.equinoxpub.com/index.php/CAM/article/view/20371

Language

en

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