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Children and young people's views and experiences of an autism diagnosis: what do we know?

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This paper reviews some of the recent literature on the views of children and young people about their diagnosis of autism and its effects. Despite the fact that this is the key group for whom it matters, there is very little to guide parents and professionals on how to give the diagnosis to a child or young person or on post diagnostic advice. Professionals write reports often with the best intentions but may not seek any feedback on the impact of what they write. The GAP Journal has published a number of papers on this topic over the years on the nature and content of written reports (Loomes, 2017) and on how to share the diagnosis with children and young people (Fletcher, 2013; Miller, 2015) and in 2018 Miller published a book on all the work he did as an advisory teacher. What is apparent from the findings of the literature review in this paper, is that where others have a positive view of autism, then the child and young person is also likely to develop a positive view of self and their future. This is an obvious point but as there are still many who receive negative comments or people who hold a deficit view of autism, then it is vital that work is done to counter these messages. While autism does present many challenges, focusing on what is working well and on what the child or young person loves and enjoys is likely to lead to positive outcomes. This is a view expressed very well by the father of an autistic child, John Williams, in his book, My Son's not Rainman, where for some years he and professionals alike were often so focused on his son's challenges and deficits that they failed to notice and appreciate the joy and achievements he experienced.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2020

More about this publication?
  • Good Autism Practice is dedicated solely to promoting good practice with children and adults with autism and Asperger's syndrome.
    Each journal includes articles:
    • encouraging good and innovative practice
    • written by practitioners, academics, parents and people with autism
    The journal is edited by highly respected academics and practitioners specialising in autistic spectrum conditions and will be of interest to parents and practitioners in health, education and social services, as well as people who have autistic spectrum conditions.
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