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Exploring Individual Perceptions of Adults Diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome using a Cultural Framework

Ellis, Rebecca (2016) Exploring Individual Perceptions of Adults Diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome using a Cultural Framework. Doctoral thesis, University of Sunderland.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)


The aim of this study is to explore the lives of adults diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. The importance of the individual voice is central to this thesis as Ashy (2011) identifies numerous studies (Biklen, 1988; Biklen & Duchan, 1994; Blatt, 1981; Bogdan & Taylor, 1976, 1994; Kliewer & Biklen, 1996) that recognise how, ‘too often, stories are told about people with disabilities and the emphasis is on the voice of the professional, not the voice of the person’ (2011; online).
This thesis draws upon cultural disability studies as a framework as Lerner and Straus (2006) recognise this as something that ‘understands and investigates disability as a cultural product,’ (2006: xiv). This framework aids the understanding of both the development of Asperger Syndrome as a medical entity, as well as providing recognition of how individual experiences have been shaped within specific cultures.
Qualitative Methods were applied to this this study using ten biographical narrative interviews (Wengraf 2011) with five males and five females; in order to collect narratives and life experiences (p.5). This particular method allowed participants to discuss their experiences in an inclusive manner; with the individual leading and sharing their story. The social model of disability could be seen to dominate this research methodology, as the work of Barnes and Sheldon (2007) demonstrates. This played an important role in the development of emancipatory research; a research paradigm that this thesis encompasses. A thematic analysis was used in this study which is ‘a process for encoding qualitative information’ (Boyatzis 1999:4); focusing on the emerging themes from the participants. Braun and Clark (2006:11) recognise how thematic analysis can be a useful method when exploring topics that are under-researched.
Essentially, this thesis illustrates the way in which culture shapes societal views of Asperger Syndrome, recognising the key terms that contribute to such ideas. Additionally areas are highlighted in which further research is required, including that of employment and Asperger Syndrome. Most importantly this thesis identifies that those with Asperger Syndrome are unique individuals despite a shared label.

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More Information

Depositing User: Barry Hall


Item ID: 9725

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Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2018 12:34
Last Modified: 20 May 2019 12:15


Author: Rebecca Ellis

University Divisions

Faculty of Education and Society


Social Sciences > Health and Social Care

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