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ERIC Number: EJ1178788
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Apr
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1362-3613
'Suddenly the First Fifty Years of My Life Made Sense': Experiences of Older People with Autism
Hickey, Aoife; Crabtree, Jason; Stott, Joshua
Autism: The International Journal of Research and Practice, v22 n3 p357-367 Apr 2018
Research on the experience of growing older with autism is very limited. In this study, 13 people with autism aged over 50 years participated in semi-structured interviews about their experiences of diagnosis, social support and getting older. Interviews were analysed using thematic analysis. Three overarching themes were generated: difference, life review and longing for connection. Prior to diagnosis, individuals had awareness of their difficulties, attributed these to intrinsic difference and engaged in a deliberate process of reducing the visibility of this difference. Diagnosis prompted a process of life review and externalisation, whereby past negative experiences were reattributed to autism as opposed to the self. Loneliness, isolation and yearning for interpersonal connection were ubiquitous and longstanding. Autism support and social groups were highly valued, offering opportunities for belonging, acceptance and social comparison. Results highlight the similarity to younger age groups in terms of lived experience and need for greater support, particularly with respect to reducing isolation and improving access to diagnosis.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A