Practice, practice: notions of adaptation and normality among adults with Asperger Syndrome

Hanna Bertilsdotter Rosqvist


People with autism are objects of interventions, such as social training, that construct a normate (i.e., neurotypical) subject position. The emerging neurodiverse movements are reconceptualizing the meaning of autism. This paper examines expressions of an emerging counter-hegemonic discourse of Asperger subjectivity in the Swedish neurodiverse movement by exploring an ambivalent discourse of adaptation among adults with autism. The material was gathered during three months of ethnographic fieldwork in an educational setting in Sweden among adults diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. The key meanings linked to the discourse of adaptation concern meaningful versus meaningless training, adaptation to an NT environment or to the person with autism, the meaning of affirmation, and the possibility of understanding the experience of autism. An understanding of adaptation is treated as integral to producing a counter-hegemonic discourse of "normal for an Asperger" and alternative forms of autistic normalcy formulated by adults with autism.

Keywords: adults with autism, training, adaptation, identity, normality, neurotypicals


adults with autism; training; adaptation; identity; normality; neurotypicals

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Copyright (c) 2012 Hanna Bertilsdotter Rosqvist

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