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Can guessing intention be a useful component of a personalised system to support social understanding?: A case study involving three adults with Asperger syndrome

Silver, Katharine (2010)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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The ‘social deficits’ of people with Asperger syndrome (AS) are well evidenced both in personal accounts and in research. However, there is a lack of understanding of what adults with AS find useful to know in social situations. This study explored the information that three adults with Asperger syndrome found ‘useful to know’ in social situations, specifically whether they were able to guess the intentions of others and considered this useful. A case study approach involving semi structured interviews and diary accounts, revealed that participants focussed primarily on the self in social situations (e.g. ‘will I be ok?’) so found guessing the intention of others useful. Participants noticed the unusual in relation to people or situations as a cue to go ‘on alert’, then used their uncovered existing knowledge of the person or situation to guess their intention. Personalised systems to support social understanding were developed with each participant and used in a range of ‘here and now’ social situations, as well as in text messaging, past and future situations. Participants reported that using their ‘systems’ and specifically using their own knowledge, reduced their dependency on staff and increased their independent social understanding. The findings of this study provide a practical addition to current approaches to supporting social understanding and have implications regarding what may be useful for young people with autism to learn in order to prepare for the adult social world.

Type of Work:M.Phil. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Parsons, Sarah
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Department:School of Education
Subjects:HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
LC Special aspects of education
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:1178
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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