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Title: Peer cultures of children with autism in mainstream schools : case studies of two boys with autism and their friends
Author: Conn, Carmel
ISNI:       0000 0004 2729 6286
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2011
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Social difficulty in autism presents a complicated and unclear picture since children with autism are partly socially engaged, do play and can have a friend. Naturalistic study is increasingly seen as a way of providing clarity but presents a challenge in that it involves conceptualizing a more complicated ontological frame, the behaviour and functioning of the individual child seen against a wider ecological background that includes groups of children and adults and their responses. The study reported here describes case studies into the social engagement of two children with autism within their respective peer groups in the settings of their mainstream schools. The aim of the research was to investigate the particular ways in which a child with autism participates in the peer culture of his group by gathering rich descriptions of children's interactions, social routines, play and talk. The research design is qualitative and employed the Mosaic approach for the collection of data. This involves a first stage of gathering data, using observation and interviews in a triangulated approach, and a second stage of participatory review and interpretation of the data gathered. A comparison of similarities and differences in cultural participation within three contexts was made: the wider class or key stage, the smaller peer group of which the child with autism was part, and the individual activity of the child with autism. Findings indicate that the difficulties experienced by the child with autism in each case were not necessarily seen as a weakness when viewed within his sociocultural world. Demonstrations of social competence was a central feature of what all children in these settings did and how they made judgements about each other, and both children with autism in this study demonstrated a number of competencies in relation to their own social contexts. The 'fit' between the child with autism and their respective peer group appeared to be a good one in each case, each of the groups consisting of children who had a similarity in terms of interests, behaviour and skill.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available