Adults with Autism's Narratives about Their Social Support Network
Objectives: This paper presents the results of an original research based on the network trajectory approach. This exploratory research aimed to explore how adults with autism describe their social support network, describe the resources and the social supports they use to face challenges, and analyze their appreciation of the social support they received and/or hoped for.
Methods: Qualitative interviews were conducted with 12 participants (4 women and 8 men, French Quebecer - Canada, aged from 21 to 64 years old, and diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome or Autism Spectrum Disorder –ASD). A relational analysis of social networks combined with a constant comparative method (Denzin & Lincoln, 2011, Glaser, 1965) was used to analyze the content of the social supports (ex. informative, recreational, approbative) as well as the meaning participants gave to their social relations with their significant ones.
Results: The results show the difficulties and challenges faced by participants, the support they received (or not) from their social support networks, and many situations where they provided support to others. The participants shared some critiques about the support provided by many professionals.
Conclusions: The results of this research and the contribution of the networks trajectory approach will be discussed to better understand the importance of the social support for people with autism by putting forward their capabilities from a self-determination perspective. Proposals will be made to improve the interventions and formal supports offered to them.