Negotiating deficit discourses of autism in narrative inquiry: Sibling experiences of childhood play

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Though autobiographical accounts illustrate how enjoyable experiences of shared childhood play is well within the experience of being autistic, no published accounts by siblings describe in detail episodes of shared play. Sibling accounts tend to focus on the ‘personal tragedy’ construct of autism and the difficulties that families face, with mention of enjoyable moments of play provided only very briefly. This study sought to collect ‘enabling narratives of autism’ (Davidson and Orsini 2013) from non-autistic siblings who were asked to remember details of the games that were enjoyably played with their autistic brother or sister and address the question ‘how do you understand what happened’. Single interviews were carried out with three adult siblings and analysis of data focused straightforwardly on what was said about childhood play. Many successful play episodes were narrated and a range of play frames that were easily recognisable to and enjoyed by participants were described. However, a pattern was that participants felt concern about a positive-focus on autism since this might be seen as detracting from the difficulties faced by individuals and their families.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventNordic Network on Disability Research: Research Conference - Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden
Duration: 3 May 20175 May 2017
Conference number: 14


ConferenceNordic Network on Disability Research


  • Autism
  • Sibling play


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