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Autism and the Performing Arts: Celebrating Creativity and Improving Outcomes

Buckley, Eleanor Jane; (2021) Autism and the Performing Arts: Celebrating Creativity and Improving Outcomes. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This research sought for the first time to identify the extent to which autistic people, and those with high levels of autistic traits, are pursuing careers in the performing arts, and to examine the experiences and support needs of this population. In Chapter 2, I determined that there are significant relationships between autistic traits, occupational self-efficacy, quality of life, mental health, and need for support in performing arts professionals, as well as qualitatively analysed professionals’ experiences of accessing support in the industry. I showed that there a significant minority of autistic professionals in the performing arts who may have unmet support needs. In Chapter 3, I found similar significant relationships between autistic traits, educational self-efficacy, quality of life, mental health, and need for support in the performing arts student population. Additionally, I compared their experiences to students studying other subjects and found very few differences, suggesting that performing arts education is not a uniquely challenging environment compared to other higher education courses. In Chapter 4, I analysed, in-depth, the support needs and views of autistic performing arts professionals on working in the industry, and the attitudes and levels of autism knowledge of performing arts employers. Some autistic professionals had access to support, but the majority felt that there was not enough available and highlighted many ways in which they could be better supported. Performing arts employers varied in their experiences of working with autistic people, many had limited knowledge about autism-specific support or relied on other professionals to provide it. In Chapter 5, I tested the feasibility and acceptability of professional mentoring as a form of employment-based support for autistic performing arts professionals. I found it to be an acceptable and workable method of support, with many participants reporting increased occupational self-confidence. Finally, in Chapter 6, I summarise the main findings from the empirical studies presented in this thesis. I discuss the contributions the studies have made towards our understanding of the experiences and support needs of autistic performing arts professionals. I describe the limitations of my research, and I outline the implications and possible future directions for this research.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Autism and the Performing Arts: Celebrating Creativity and Improving Outcomes
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2021. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > Population, Policy and Practice Dept
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10133466
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