A Discourse Analysis of Parents' Talk Around Their Children's Autism Labels

Jessica Lester


Keywords: Autism; Discursive Psychology; Parents of Children with Autism Labels; Social-Relational Model of Disability

Not so long ago autism was the province of a small group of individuals. Yet it is now everywhere, working to shape the public's imagination and ways of talking about the construct of autism. Public stories told about autism often conflict with and contradict one another, particularly as public stories meet the private, everyday practices of individuals with autism labels and their families and friends. Drawing upon discursive psychology, I share the findings generated from a discourse analysis of 14 interviews with parents of children with autism labels focused on the meanings of autism. I illustrate the ways in which the participants constructed autism as: (1) untenable and apt to receive multiple meanings; (2) representative of a different or non-normative way of thinking; and (3) minimally relevant, as the 'truth' of autism was overshadowed by bodily realities.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18061/dsq.v32i4.1744

Copyright (c) 2012 Jessica Lester

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ISSN: 2159-8371