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Early Intervention and Autism: The Impact of Positivism and the Call for Change

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Early childhood intervention in autism has over three decades of empirically validated study, but has very limited qualitative analysis. There is a wealth of research in this field, but it remains very much within a solely positivist paradigm and researchers are constantly striving to prove that their method is the most effective In this paper I explore the impact of this paradigm on our approach to intervention, and our understanding of what it means to be autistic. I will look at some of the common themes in early intervention research across a range of approaches, and will state the case for a more ethical methodology when researching young children with autism. I will argue against the medicalization of a disorder that in its nature cannot be defined as a 'medical truth', and subsequently state the case for moving forward into a more qualitative, critical disability paradigm in this field.

Affiliations: 1: University of Edinburgh, School of Education


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