Date of Award

2009

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Social Work

Abstract

This study used the Grounded Theory methodology to investigate, through an exploratory manner, the social experiences of adolescents with High Functioning Autism (HFA) and/or Asperger's Syndrome (AS) as shared by the adolescents themselves, and the views of their parent/caregivers regarding this experience. In addition the adolescents and parents shared their thoughts on having and managing a diagnosis of HFA/AS and the current adaptive behaviors of the adolescents.

Seven adolescents and their respective parent/caregivers participated in video-taped paired interviews. The themes emergent from the interviews regarding the diagnosis of HFA/AS for the parents were: rejection, feeling blamed, emotional toll and management of the disorder. For the adolescents emergent themes were: indifference, distancing from diagnosis through use of third person plural and singular, and perceived positives and negatives of having HFA/AS. The emergent themes and patterns regarding the experiences of the parent caring for an adolescents with HFA/AS along with the adolescents' shared thoughts on the diagnosis illuminated the overt worry of the caregivers juxtaposed to a seemingly indifferent response by their adolescents.

Information shared regarding the adolescents adaptive behaviors revealed that the adolescents participating in this study, although all of average and above average intelligence, lacked independent with an overall reliance on mother.

From different vantage points the adolescents and their caregivers shared corresponding themes of social experiences: restricted social circle, object-oriented connections rather than emotional ties, isolation, both self-sort and imposed and outsider.

The results of this study were discussed in terms of the objectives of this study, and its limitations.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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