The Ever-Changing Social Perception of Autism Spectrum Disorder in the United States
Martin, Danielle M.
This paper aims to examine the comprehensive social perception of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) within the United States today. In order to study the broad public view of those with ASDs, this study investigates the evolution of the syndrome in both sociological and scientificrealms. By drawing on the scientific progression of the syndrome and the mixture of this research with concurrent social issues and media representations, this study infers why such a significant amount of stigmatization has become attached to those with ASDs and how these stigmatizations have varied throughout history. After studying this evolving social perception of ASDs in the United States, the writer details suggestions for the betterment of this awareness, including boosted and specified research efforts, increased collaboration within those experts in autism, and positive visibility of those with ASDs and their families. Overall, the writer suggests that public awareness has increased and thus negative stigmatization has decreased in recent years; however, there remains much to be done to increase general social understanding of ASDs.
Danielle Martin is the winner of the 2012 Michael F. Bassman Honors Thesis Award.