Understanding Social-Emotional Reciprocity in Autism: Viewpoints Shared by Teachers

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Schwartz, Lizaan
Beamish, Wendi
Mckay, Loraine
Griffith University Author(s)
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2021
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Abstract

Poor social-emotional reciprocity (SER) has been identified as one of the defining traits of autism. It is a key criterion in recent Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders editions, DSM-IV and DSM-V (American Psychiatric Association [APA], 1994, 2013). Yet this difficulty related to socially engaging and interacting with others is poorly understood. The study reported here was a small-scale, qualitative inquiry underpinned by a phenomenological approach in which social-emotional reciprocity (SER) was the phenomenon being studied. Semi-structured interviews with three experienced teachers at an Australian autism-specific school were used to capture their understandings and experiences related to the trait. Interestingly, our teachers found it challenging to discuss SER in isolation from other key autistic traits such as repetitive behaviour and restricted interests. When data were formally explored using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), teacher viewpoints clustered around three interconnected themes: perspectives about SER; relationships and friendships; and impact on teachers. Limitations of this inquiry and recommendations for future research in this area are provided.

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Australian Journal of Teacher Education

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46

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1

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© The Author(s) 2021. The attached file is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. For information about this journal please refer to the journal’s website or contact the author(s).

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Education

Specialist studies in education

Social Sciences

autism

sex differences

social-emotional reciprocity

Educational Research

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Schwartz, L; Beamish, W; Mckay, L, Understanding Social-Emotional Reciprocity in Autism: Viewpoints Shared by Teachers, Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 2021, 46 (1), pp. 24-38

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