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Reading, seeing and hearing voices: What can autistic people teach social work?

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posted on 2021-05-23, 11:50 authored by Tobi McEvenue
Social workers are prominent in the lives of autistic individuals in their capacity as intake workers, group facilitators, and counsellors. There are few examples of literature written by social workers regarding working with autistic individuals and groups, and even fewer studies which surface the voices of autistic individuals. Preliminary Grounded Theory research was conducted using asynchronous online interviews with three adult autistic participants to explain how they experienced the process of social work interventions in their lives. The emergent themes from this study include “I wouldn’t want a cure”, neurotypical assumptions of ability and disability, fluid and intersecting identities, help-seeking and autonomy, cautionary self-advocacy, neoliberal service provision and creating ineligibility, multiple categorizations and “body control”, “I don’t even really know what a social worker is supposed to do”, and critical social work facilitation. This preliminary grounded theory research may form the basis of a future larger, grounded theory study.



Master of Social Work


Social Work

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type