Autistic peoples' perception of and functioning in space: what makes this problematic?

Clemerson, Sarah Elizabeth (2013). Autistic peoples' perception of and functioning in space: what makes this problematic? University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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This thesis examines autistic people’s spatial perception and functioning and what makes this problematic, as far as possible through their eyes. The aim of the research methodology was to be as user-led as possible, using member checking, several participants also reading drafts of the thesis. Culminating in it being examined by Prof Temple Grandin. The research used go-alongs, open-ended, unstructured interviews, where I accompanied the participants as they engaged in their daily travel, work, education, and leisure activities.
These were followed by intense dialogue with the participants, employing Michelle Fine’s concept of the hyphen to understand differences between our perceptions. From ongoing dialogue with the participants, I developed a new typology for space, broadening its conception from physical, aesthetic, and in the case of autism sensory aspects to incorporate social, contextual, and ideological elements. The subtle and often hidden cues of which are difficult for many autistic people to process fast enough.
The thesis employs Ben Shalom’s integratory theory of autism, discussing how space affects functioning in the four domains of motor, emotion, memory,sensation/perception, at the levels of unconscious, preconscious, and conscious processing. It also examines, the effect of the home becoming a public space when assistance is needed with daily living.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: School of Education
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LC Special aspects of education


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