Maternal intimacies: Talking about autism diagnosis

Rozanna Lilley*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


This paper draws on the narratives of Australian mothers of pre-school children with autism as they struggle to make sense of, and sometimes resist, diagnosis. My analysis investigates the conflict and collusion between professional and maternal expertise. In the process of giving meaning to their grief, mothers frequently focus on the strengths of their children and the value of their own intimate expertise, which is grounded in a recognition of the full personhood of their child. While mothers frequently perceive their children through the shaping lens of diagnostic criteria, maternal counter-narratives allow a temporary disidentification from the diagnostic process and, in their valorisation of mother/child attachments, are an important source of personal and familial resilience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-224
Number of pages18
JournalAustralian Feminist Studies
Issue number68
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes


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