'Hidden Voices': an exploratory single case study into the multiple worlds of a 15 year old young man with autism
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
This thesis presents a 31-day case study carried out with a 15 year old young man who has classical autism. The study involved introducing him to a number of new and challenging activities, in a variety of contexts, over 31 days, that were previously assumed to be outside of his range of capability. The case study found that the application of the concepts of choice, control, challenge and risk had an unexpectedly positive impact upon the young man’s performance. This study further attempts to explore the concept of narrative as a ‘pedagogical bridge’ between the ‘worlds’ of autism and neurotypicality, arguing that narrative may provide a ‘way in’ to the world of autism. ‘Narrative’, this study contends, may provide a tapestry across which the world of autism may be connected with the world that surrounds it; by revealing a multiplicity of selves in a multiplicity of contexts. Methods of data collection included field notes, interviews, photographs and film footage. Ultimately, the study found that the use of ‘performance texts’ (DVDs featuring the young man’s achievements) constituted a powerful means of celebrating his accomplishments within the school and its wider community. Research approaches were participatory and ethnographic in the data collection phases, while a more phenomenological approach was adopted in the data analysis phase. The overarching analytical framework was that of ‘narrative analysis’ in telling a story of bravery, courage, hope and optimism.
Ed.D in Special Educational Needs
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