Understanding the polyvocality of autism discourse : a critical autoethnographic approach
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Currently, much of the autism literature supports the notion that Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) is a deviation from what is considered "normal" and, accordingly, that it is in need of early remediation. This thesis explored alternative constructions of autism and pathology by drawing on theorists from other disciplines, such as cultural studies (Deleuze & Guattari, 1987, 1965, 1972, 1975,1980, 2003), critical psychology (Parker, 1995, 2002, 2005, 2007), disability studies (Danforth,1997, 1999, 2000; Skrtic, 1995, 1996) and anti-psychiatry (Basaglia, 1987). In an attempt to show how our accounts of the world encompass constructions rooted in language and our own histories of thinking about topics that interest us, this research took an autoethnographic approach to understanding autism discourse. Instead of denying the researcher's existence and personal investment in the research, the author attempted to implicate "the self in the research by acknowledging her own assumptions, biases and ideologies about autism discourse and practice. Thus, tensions between the self and other, personal and political become woven into the fabric, creating a personal, subjective, and partial account of the phenomenon. This research was intended to explicate and interrogate some of the taken-for-granted Truths which guide our practices with people with autism. This alternative critical framework focused on understanding autism as a discourse and explored the way these dominant autism constructions function in society. Furthermore, positioning "the self in the research was meant to illustrate the fundamental need for self-reflective practice in the social sciences.