Nadel, J., Croue, S., Matlinger, M.-J., Canet, P., Hudelot, C., Lecuyer, C., & Martini, M. (2000) Do children with autism have expectancies about the social behaviour of unfamiliar people?: A pilot study using the still face paradigm. Autism, 4, 7950816.
During our last exchange on Saturday, April 7, we asked the Tribe for their feedback on the research we are focusing on. We presented the basis of the study, methodology, and results to everyone in our class, in the Tribe, and the communication partners of the Tribe. We then asked the Tribe their thoughts on how many assume that they do not have social expectancies due to the fact that they autistic, as well as “low-functioning and non-verbal” according to the study. We also asked if they thought imitation could work as a way to elicit social interactions.
The feedback we got from the Tribe was mostly negative regarding the study. They felt that interactions like this would treat the children like babies and perhaps below their mental age. This made the study “not meaningful,” according to Ryan. In addition, many of the Tribe members noted that this does not allow them to have actual social interactions and instead only be imitated, which is not really a true connection, like we discussed with Huan later. “Imitation is not how I socialize,” Ben said, which shows their unhappiness with the nature of the study.
Ben’s reaction spoke to the way in which the study was written. He noted that the authors should change their language from “non-verbal” to non-speaking. In addition, Elizabeth made an upset noise when the study noted that those who were non-verbal were considered low-functioning. These are important points that show that the authors doing the study were more focused on how “surprising” this information is, rather than acknowledging that this shows how similar the autistic participants were to neurotypicals.
While all of their responses made good points, I think the one I would use on the poster would be Ian’s: “ I want to learn how to interact in my own way like others do.” While it seems so simple, I think this quote shows how many studies, this one and others, lumps autistics together as a group, whereas each autistic is an individual. Just as any neurotypical learns to interact in their own ways, autistics should be given this opportunity to develop into their own social being with their own “personal sense of humor,” as Huan notes. These authors and others should perhaps begin to treat autistics more similarly instead of thinking they are completely different from neurotypicals.
I think that overall the Tribe spoke to how this study would make them feel belittled, and as though they are all the same person. Ian’s quote about learning to interact in his own way seems so simple, yet often people want to focus on how different autistics are, rather than giving them the opportunity to learn and socialize in the way others do. Each neurotypical learns to socialize in their own way, yet this study could perhaps limit the way that autistics learn to socialize, instead of taking into account each autistics’ own way of learning and socializing.