Exploring the impact of a developing sexuality on adolescents with autism

ANDREWS, Thomas Robert (2017). Exploring the impact of a developing sexuality on adolescents with autism. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.7190/shu-thesis-00084


This research project sought to understand as far as possible what meanings the period of development termed as ‘adolescence’ meant for a small group of young men on the autism spectrum, as interpreted by the parents and staff who support them. The focus of my enquiry was an exploration of interpretations of behaviour; specifically ‘sexualised behaviour’ and how these interpretations might enable or disable people on the autism spectrum. In this study accessing the ‘meaning of experience’ for the young men within this group, as interpreted by the participants, was mediated through a supported process of reflection in which the participants challenged their initial interpretations and understandings of what the behaviours might mean to the young men. The method used was a series of individual and group interviews with the people who lived and worked with these young men, and used Ashworth’s eight ‘fractions’ of the Lifeworld as starting off points from which to begin framing the examination and interpretation of the participant’s experiences and perceptions. Throughout this research my aim and intention was to challenge some of the canons of autism in relation to sexuality and sexualised behaviour. In doing so I wanted to identify how a supported reflection might move parents and staff towards new ways of interpreting the behaviour of people on the autism spectrum, so that more appropriate and sensitive measures can be formulated in order to bring about positive sexual identity formation during adolescence.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Hodge, Nick [0000-0001-5706-1865]
Additional Information: Director of Studies: Professor Nick Hodge
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.7190/shu-thesis-00084
Depositing User: Hilary Ridgway
Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2018 09:28
Last Modified: 03 May 2023 02:04
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/21928

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