The ABC of Autism: Parents and Pedagogy in Australia
(University of Sydney)
Paper short abstract:
This paper draws on the narratives of mothers of children diagnosed with autism in contemporary Australia. This analysis investigates the conflict and collusion between professional and maternal discourses and practices as various agents and agencies struggle to (dis)own autistic children.
Paper long abstract:
The field of autism interventions, as well as advice given to parents on educating children with autism spectrum disorders, is characterised in Australia by competing ideological visions of childhood, parenting, community and citizenship. This paper compares two events targeted at parents, both of which were staged on the same weekend in Sydney in 2007. One centred on Applied Behavioural Analysis, holding out the promise of potential normalisation for autistic children and their families. The other, mobilising civil rights rhetoric, pushed for the educational mainstreaming of all children with disabilities. This paper investigates the assumptions of these seemingly polarised positions and assesses some of the ways in which parents, especially mothers, make sense of and situationally negotiate these emotionally charged claims and counter-claims.
Appropriating childhood: the current state of play