1st Edition

Autism and the Social World of Childhood
A sociocultural perspective on theory and practice

ISBN 9780415838344
Published March 3, 2014 by Routledge
198 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations

USD $56.95

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Book Description

A key issue for researchers and practitioners is how to support the social engagement of children with autism in ordinary, everyday social processes that are transactional in nature and involve mixed groups of children, with and without autism, in rich and varied relationships.

Autism and the Social World of Childhood brings together current understandings about the social engagement of children with autism, gained from psychology-based research into autism, with well-established ideas about children’s everyday social worlds, gained from sociocultural theories of childhood. It describes the experiences of interaction, friendship and play from children’s own point of view as a way of giving insight into children’s lives as they are lived and understood by them. Such an understanding serves to inform educational practice and aids the provision of more effective learning environments.

Autism and the Social World of Childhood includes sections on:

  • the nature of play, social interaction and friendship in autism
  • the nature of children’s ordinary social worlds, including children’s cultures of communication and variation in children’s play
  • research approaches to investigating the social engagement of children with and without autism in natural contexts
  • educational approaches to supporting the integration of children with autism within a school setting
  • the importance of assessment in autism education.

Autism and the Social World of Childhood includes real life descriptions of children’s social experiences taken from ethnographic research into the play and interaction of children with and without autism. Practical guidance is provided on educational approaches to supporting the inclusion of children with autism within the ordinary social worlds of childhood.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Richness and Variation in Children’s Lives  2. The Social Experiences of Children with Autism  3. Children’s Cultural Worlds  4. Children’s Cultures of Communication  5. Finding Ways to Play and Make Meaning  6. Researching Autism in Natural Contexts  7. From Intervention to Assessment in Autism Education  8. The Practitioner’s Toolbox

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Carmel Conn is a teacher and researcher, and has a background in special educational needs and inclusive education. She has many years of experience in supporting children with autism, their friends, schools and families in included educational settings.



'This book provides excellent discussions of the complexities of the sociological underpinnings of autism and how children with this condition develop and grow compared to more "typically developing children."...Conn offers a number of proven techniques to investigate how these children can be understood and provided with meaningful educational and social experiences in and out of school...Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduate, graduate, research, and professional collections.'- -J. D. Neal, University of Central Missouri, in CHOICE, January 2015