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      Noticing the unusual: a self-prompt strategy for adults with autism

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          Abstract

          Purpose

          – There is a substantial lack of research focusing on how to support the social understanding of high-functioning adults with autism (HFA). The perspectives of three adults with HFA were used to develop and implement self-prompt systems to increase knowledge and awareness of social situations. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

          Design/methodology/approach

          – Semi-structured interviews and diaries were used to support individuals to reflect on video-based and real-life social situations, within a qualitative participatory case study design. Qualitative data were analyzed thematically.

          Findings

          – Participants developed and used a self-prompt system to support their social understanding in a range of situations. “Noticing the unusual” in social situations, consideration of the potential impact of others’ behavior on them personally, and guessing the intention of others were identified as useful strategies. Basing social judgments on the facial expressions of others was not useful.

          Research limitations/implications

          – This was a small-scale study with only three high-functioning participants and so the research needs to be extended to a wider group.

          Practical implications

          – There is considerable potential for this approach to be used with adults accessing support services because the strategies identified can be easily applied and personalized.

          Social implications

          – Independent, unplanned use of the self-prompt strategy enabled participants to reduce dependence on others in social situations through supporting their independent thinking and actions.

          Originality/value

          – This study moves away from a deficit-focussed model of intervention to one that seeks to uncover strengths in order to empower individuals to use their existing knowledge.

          Related collections

          Most cited references 36

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          The "Reading the Mind in the Eyes" Test revised version: a study with normal adults, and adults with Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism.

          In 1997 in this Journal we published the "Reading the Mind in the Eyes" Test, as a measure of adult "mentalising". Whilst that test succeeded in discriminating a group of adults with Asperger syndrome (AS) or high-functioning autism (HFA) from controls, it suffered from several psychometric problems. In this paper these limitations are rectified by revising the test. The Revised Eyes Test was administered to a group of adults with AS or HFA (N = 15) and again discriminated these from a large number of normal controls (N = 239) drawn from different samples. In both the clinical and control groups the Eyes Test was inversely correlated with the Autism Spectrum Quotient (the AQ), a measure of autistic traits in adults of normal intelligence. The Revised Eyes Test has improved power to detect subtle individual differences in social sensitivity.
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            Enhanced perceptual functioning in autism: an update, and eight principles of autistic perception.

            We propose an "Enhanced Perceptual Functioning" model encompassing the main differences between autistic and non-autistic social and non-social perceptual processing: locally oriented visual and auditory perception, enhanced low-level discrimination, use of a more posterior network in "complex" visual tasks, enhanced perception of first order static stimuli, diminished perception of complex movement, autonomy of low-level information processing toward higher-order operations, and differential relation between perception and general intelligence. Increased perceptual expertise may be implicated in the choice of special ability in savant autistics, and in the variability of apparent presentations within PDD (autism with and without typical speech, Asperger syndrome) in non-savant autistics. The overfunctioning of brain regions typically involved in primary perceptual functions may explain the autistic perceptual endophenotype.
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              • Article: not found

              Visual Fixation Patterns During Viewing of Naturalistic Social Situations as Predictors of Social Competence in Individuals With Autism

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                AIA
                10.1108/AIA
                Advances in Autism
                Emerald Publishing
                2056-3868
                29 October 2015
                29 October 2015
                : 1
                : 2
                : 87-97
                Affiliations
                Southampton Education School, University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom
                Southampton Education School, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
                Article
                AIA-05-2015-0006.pdf
                10.1108/AIA-05-2015-0006
                © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
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                Articles
                Research paper
                Health & social care
                Learning & intellectual disabilities
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