Professional guidance: maternal negotiation of primary school placement for children diagnosed with autism

Rozanna Lilley*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This article explores the different forms of professional guidance negotiated by mothers as they search for a primary school placement for their child diagnosed with autism. The intensely contested terrain of whether segregated or 'regular' classrooms would be 'better' for the child shapes the contours of both professional guidance and maternal decision-making. Interviews with 22 women whose children were about to start primary school in Sydney, Australia, allows an exploration of the ways women engage with or reject professional guidance, offered by paediatricians, psychologists, early intervention professionals, and education providers. Mothers frequently received conflicting professional guidance, and felt conflicted about their schooling decisions, especially when students are labelled 'borderline'. Overall, recent suggestions of a democratisation of autism expertise are not supported by this research, which underlines the need to analyse both the agency of mothers and the power differentials that continue to exist between families and experts.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)513-526
    Number of pages14
    JournalDiscourse
    Volume35
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014

    Keywords

    • autism
    • exclusion
    • experts
    • inclusion
    • mothers
    • professional guidance

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