Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

"I'm Turkish, I'm Honest..." I'm Autistic: Perceptions Regarding the Label of Autism
by Gunhan-Senol, Nazmiye Evra, Ph.D., University of Louisiana at Lafayette, 2015, 289; 3712371
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation focused on understanding the perceptions built around autism in the Turkish context through an inquiry of lived experiences of individuals who have close contact with individuals on the autism spectrum. The nature of the experiences of two main groups of the participants, a group of experts working with individuals with autism and the parents of children who are on the spectrum, is explored employing an interpretive phenomenological analysis, which is a method of qualitative inquiry. The perceptions of participants show divergences and similarities regarding the nature of autism, the intervention, and the role of the family as well as regarding issues about diagnosis, collaboration, and conflict among experts and between all participant groups. For all groups of participants, the variation in the manifestations of autism symptomology and the overall severity level emerged as one crucial factor shaping the perceptions around the condition. The understandings of the majority of the participants seems to be informed by a theoretical basis that is mainly built around behavior control and behavior modification. The emphasis on behavior modification, in turn, shapes the education practices, which is considered to be the sole intervention for autism by all participants, leading to efforts to eliminate unwanted behaviors rather than seeking the possible underlying factors that trigger them. The focus on behaviors also leads to a particular understanding of what constitutes a successful outcome of therapy in which the evaluation of functional use of skills acquired during intervention can be overlooked.

The informational inaccessibility and the knowledge inequality that currently exists in Turkey appears as one major implication of this investigation. This is indicative of the need for greater collaboration on the part of the professionals as well as a service delivery system that is oriented to providing parents and experts working with children on the ASD spectrum with the most recent data-based knowledge.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Damico, Jack S.
Commitee: Damico, Holly L., Nelson, Ryan L., Oxley, Judith D., Roussel, Nancye C.
School: University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Department: Applied Language and Speech Sciences
School Location: United States -- Louisiana
Source: DAI-B 76/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Speech therapy, Clinical psychology, Individual & family studies
Keywords: Autism, Parents, Turkey
Publication Number: 3712371
ISBN: 9781321891546