Clemerson, Sarah (2011)
M.Res. thesis, University of Birmingham.
Many people on the autistic spectrum have major sensory processing issues. In order to research this area for my PhD – specifically the issue of design in the built environment that takes account of the sensory difficulties experienced by autistic people – I needed, as a preliminary exercise in this MRes, to examine methods of accessing the views and requirements of autistic people.
I had intended for my later doctoral research to employ focus groups. Implicit in this method however is the danger of influence on the data by the researcher and more articulate members of the group. To attempt to overcome this I have looked into a range of alternative methods in this thesis, and in particular critical methodologies including the concept of ‘the hyphen’ and ethnodrama.
In this work, I have piloted the use of one of these methods, ethnodrama, taking the part of a middle-aged, autistic woman with visual, motor, and social impairments in a walk around a London suburb. My main finding concerned the difficulty of conducting simultaneous motor and verbal activity. I have found this a useful and productive pilot, resulting in my being more open to autistic perceptions and experience of
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