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The relationship between professionals and adults with Autism: an exploration of support workers' accounts

Lowe, Matthew (2012) The relationship between professionals and adults with Autism: an exploration of support workers' accounts. Manchester Metropolitan University. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Previous research has emphasised the difficulties Autistic individuals have in forming relationships with others. However, this notion has been counterbalanced by the argument that once these have been established they become meaningful and important. The purpose of this research was therefore to explore these claims in further profundity. This qualitative study aims to explore the accounts and experiences of professionals, recruited via non-purposive, probability sampling and employed by the same Autism-specific service. Semi-structured interviews were conducted using a loosely constructed interview schedule derived from previous literature and the researchers own moral standpoint. Contrary to previous research, the research question seeks to explore; what kinds of relationships are evident? Why are such relationships prevalent? And what implications do these relationships hold for the future of practice? Using Braun & Clarke’s (2006) six stage process of thematic analysis, four prominent themes emerged in regards to the relationships evident in practice; Relationship Boundaries; Perceptions; Educating Roles and Communication Partnerships. Upon reflection of these interpretations, it became apparent that these relationships were multi-faceted and subject to the contextual dimensionality of society, indicating change at every level of the social care profession as a necessity, in order for truly positive relationships to flourish.

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