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"Autism is me": an investigation of how autistic individuals make sense of autism and stigma

Botha, M; Dibb, B; Frost, DM; (2020) "Autism is me": an investigation of how autistic individuals make sense of autism and stigma. Disability & Society 10.1080/09687599.2020.1822782. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

There are many different perspectives for understanding autism. These perspectives may each convey different levels of stigma for autistic individuals. This qualitative study aimed to understand how autistic individuals make sense of their own autism and experience the stigma attached to autism. The study used critical grounded theory tools. Participants (N = 20) discussed autism as central to their identity, and integral to who they are. While participants thought of autism as value neutral, they expressed how society confers negative meanings onto autism, and thus, them. The findings also indicate that different understandings of autism confer different levels of stigma. Participants expressed constant exposure to stigma and managed this stigma in different ways. Such methods included reframing to more positive understandings of autism, the reclamation of language, and using concealment and disclosure strategically. The implications of these findings are discussed further in the article.

Type: Article
Title: "Autism is me": an investigation of how autistic individuals make sense of autism and stigma
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/09687599.2020.1822782
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/09687599.2020.1822782
Language: English
Additional information: © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercialNoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Keywords: Autism, stigma, minority-stress, identity, identity first language
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Research Institute
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10113620
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