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Autism and the experience of transition from childhood to adulthood

Balubaid, R. (2017) Autism and the experience of transition from childhood to adulthood. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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The research explores ways through which individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and families experience a range of transitions from childhood to adulthood. It contributes to a debate over the recent decade concerning how transitions affect the individual and families. The research emphasises the personal experiences, concerns, and successes faced by those with the condition, alongside some parental perspectives during these phases. The study is located within a wide body of literature on autism in general, although constrained by limited access to target respondents both in the UK and in Saudi Arabia (KSA). The research questions that underlie the study deal with the perspectives of some individuals with ASD in the UK and a comparable number of parents in the KSA. The study adopts a qualitative method that incorporates life history interviews with six adults with autism from the UK, along with semi-structured interviews with thirteen parents of individuals with ASD from the KSA. These interviews were analysed by means of thematic analysis. The findings from the two groups are categorised in seven main themes: experiences with diagnosis, childhood experiences, school experiences, adolescence and puberty, employment, adulthood and relationships, including the availability of support across each transition. For each of these themes there are sub-themes the purpose of which is to allow for a more coherent analysis. This study fills a gap in current research in this area, by offering a unique insight into the lived experiences of those with ASD and parents from two different cultures. As such, it offers an improved understanding of the ways through which people with ASD and parents need an enhanced support during transitions. The findings are that there is a general need for an increased awareness by both parents and primary care providers of the nature of autism to ensure an early specialist diagnosis, and offer support. Such awareness is effective when made throughout communities and public services. The research recommends that KSA policy makers should consider the notion of inclusion into mainstream education, and special schools comparable to that in the UK. Both countries should re-appraise the role of employment and voluntary work in raising the self-esteem of young adults with ASD and the enhancement of their social skills.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Tissot, C. and Fuller, C.
Thesis/Report Department:Institute of Education
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Institute of Education
ID Code:72227


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