Autism Spectrum Disorder and its effects on social and family relationships
LE3 .A278 2013
Bachelor of Arts
The purpose of this thesis is to examine the experiences of families living with Autism to determine whether those experiences provide us with a better understanding of the social implications of the disability. The literature review on Autism Spectrum Disorder and its social consequences revealed important issues regarding family dynamics, community services and support programs, as well as public perceptions in relation to the family. The theories of stigma and labeling were used to illustrate how stigma and labels affect the formation of individual and family identity through both positive and negative sources. The identification of Autism as a deficit or difference was also discussed as a current debate within the field of disability. Semi-structured interviews were utilized to carry out three interviews with five participants. From this research it was concluded that Autism has a considerable effect on how families adjust to living with the disability and how it affects their identity as a group within society. Autism is associated with an increased amount of stress within the family but can also have positive outcomes on the ability of parents to better understand and empathize with their children as well as others. The identity formation of a family with Autism influences how families are able to cope with the disability.
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