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Deconstructing existing frames of the ‘normal’: an insight into the Lifeworld of Autism using Qualitative Interviews and Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis.

Lakin, Fiona (2019) Deconstructing existing frames of the ‘normal’: an insight into the Lifeworld of Autism using Qualitative Interviews and Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Manchester Metropolitan University. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

There has been a wealth of research in the field of autism, however, this tends to focus on medical discourses or on the societal construction of disability. Based on critical consideration of previous perspectives, this study aimed to explore how autism questions traditional assumptions of the ‘normal’. Participants were recruited through a gatekeeper and consisted of three parents of individuals with autism and two individuals employed by Time Specialist Support, an autism befriending service. The lifeworld of autism was accessed through five semi-structured ethnographic interviews utilising photo-elicitation. The interviews were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis and three main themes were extracted from the data. These were ‘Enabling Spaces’, ‘An Extension of the Self’ and ‘A Subjective Shared World’. A posthumanist perspective was adopted during data analysis suggesting that those with autism can achieve things we consider to be ‘normal’, but a nonnormative approach is needed.

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