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ERIC Number: EJ1006767
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Jan
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0012-1649
Difference or Disorder? Cultural Issues in Understanding Neurodevelopmental Disorders
Norbury, Courtenay Frazier; Sparks, Alison
Developmental Psychology, v49 n1 p45-58 Jan 2013
Developmental disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder and specific language impairment, are biologically based disorders that currently rely on behaviorally defined criteria for diagnosis and treatment. Specific behaviors that are included in diagnostic frameworks and the point at which individual differences in behavior constitute abnormality are largely arbitrary decisions. Such decisions are therefore likely to be strongly influenced by cultural values and expectations. This is evident in the dramatically different prevalence rates of autism spectrum disorder across countries and across different ethnic groups within the same country. In this article, we critically evaluate the understanding of developmental disorders from a cultural perspective. We specifically consider the challenges of applying diagnostic methods across cultural contexts, the influence of cultural values and expectations on the identification and treatment of children with suspected disorders, and how cross-cultural studies can help to refine cognitive theories of disorder that have been derived exclusively from Western North American and European investigations. Our review synthesizes clinical, cultural, and theoretical work in this area, highlighting potential universals of disorder and concluding with recommendations for future research and practice. (Contains 1 table.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A