Abstract

The primary purpose of this study was to investigate the lived experiences and first-person perspectives of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) with respect to interventions for communicative differences and/or deficits characteristic of autism. This study extends limited research into autistic experiences of interventions in the domain of communication. Furthermore, by extending prior research into neurodiverse values among speech-language pathologists (SLPs), this research contributes to the body of professional literature through exploration of autistic voices as in-group sources of expertise on ASD. The researcher recruited participants online, utilizing mixed methods in the form of quantitative surveys and qualitative interviews to collect and analyze data on the experiences and perspectives of autistic adults. Major conclusions of this research include the finding that participants’ experiences with communicative interventions, though on average reported to be slightly more positive than neutral, vary widely. In addition, participants valued most highly aspects of intervention that emphasized autistic clients’ autonomy and demonstrated respect for the individual expertise held by autistic people. One practical implication of this research is the need for SLPs to carefully consider intended and unintended effects of treatment on the lives of clients, in order to reduce bias and offer clients and families more comprehensive and accessible resources and perspectives to make more fully informed decisions.

Advisor

Furey, Joan

Department

Communication

Disciplines

Disability Studies | Medical Humanities | Speech Pathology and Audiology

Keywords

autism, autism spectrum disorder, speech-language pathologists, lived experience, models of disability, neurodiversity, self-advocacy

Publication Date

2019

Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis

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© Copyright 2019 Rebekah Burkhart