Disability Discourse: How and when do parents talk to their children about autism?
Brown, Scott Torrance
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Autistic adults live vibrant lives, yet face numerous social inequities. The negative social construction of autism likely leads to this discrimination. Positive identity development may be a protective factor for people with disabilities, including autism. The current study investigates when and how parents talk to their children about autism and autistic identity development. Interviews with 7 autistic adults and supplemental interviews from 7 parents of autistic adults revealed four themes: (1) The role of society in shaping autism (2) Autism is neutral yet it is stigmatized (3) identity and (4) autism information, education and expertise. Practice implications include better usage of the social model, involvement of more autistic adults in supporting autistic youth, and providing space for parents to understand their own nondisabled identity in relation to autism