University of Leicester
2016woodspjpsyd.pdf (2.56 MB)

Exploring the use of an autobiographical account in diagnostic assessment of Autism Spectrum Disorder with a young child

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posted on 2016-06-17, 10:41 authored by Patricia Woods
The review of the literature critically analyses eleven qualitative studies (2005 – 2014) that report the views of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It seeks to consider the methods used by researchers in order to identify potential factors that restrict or enable children to give their views. Studies are dominated by male adolescents with a diagnosis of Aspergers or High Functioning Autism with views sought by interview or group discussion, including adapted visual and activity based methods. There is no clear evidence to show which methods are most effective, and there is a gap in the literature with the views of children under eleven years of age, females and those attending special educational provision poorly represented. The findings inform an exploratory study that seeks to consider how a young child might be enabled to give their views in the process of diagnostic assessment for ASD. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis is used to review the narrative of a five year old child, and shows the age at which some children can actively participate in giving their views and experiences is lower than previously thought. The researcher reflects on a diagnostic practice model that moves from a reliance on deficit patterns of behaviour to also ask what sense the child makes of their experiences, and to consider how this might impact in clinical practice. The critical appraisal describes a reflexive account of the research process. The service evaluation seeks to critically evaluate available data for a community service for children with neurodevelopmental needs in order to inform evaluative practice. Undertaken during a period of organisational review, different approaches to evaluation are considered before collating the service data and considering its application in two different evaluative frameworks. Each approach has specific merits and limitations and combining different approaches is most likely to contribute to sustainable service improvements.



Robertson, Noelle; Allan, Steven; Yeomans, Jane

Date of award


Author affiliation

School of Psychology

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • DClinPsy



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