Introduction.The Etiology Of Autism Is As Yet Unknown And

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The etiology of autism is as yet unknown and the phrase Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is used to encompasses a range of autistic disorders (Cheslack-Postava and Jordan-Young, 2012). ASD is a common neurodevelopmental syndrome and an umbrella term for a group of heterogeneous disorders, differentiated by pervasive difficulties, and impaired development, with area such as social communication, flexibility, social reciprocity and sensory processing (American Psychiatric Association, 2013; Bargiela et al., 2016; Cheslack-Postava and Jordan-Young, 2012; Haney, 2015; Maenner et al., 2014). Recent research into ASD has emphasised, how women with autism, are at higher risk of being misdiagnosed, receiving a late diagnosis, or not
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Due to the suggested gender bias within autism diagnosis, and the associated underrepresentation of females within the literature, the review also asks to what extent findings, within past and current research, can be used to characterise the female ASD population. As the term ‘gender’ is widely used within this review it is important to outline this term. For the purposes of this essay, gender is used to describe culturally determined factors, roles, and attributes which relate to the masculine and feminine; this differs from the term ‘sex’ which refers to biological and physiological differences (Torgrimson, 2005; Lai et al., 2015; Jordan-Young, 2010).

Alongside the review of ASD presentation in females, there is also a critical examination into research with people with learning difficulties and ASD, this pays particular reference to the specific ethical and methodological issues affecting these populations and how these can be addressed by researchers. Additionally, the issue of positionality, and the process of reflexivity are considered, and in what ways these concepts are intertwined with the epistemological and ontological assumptions researchers bring to the research process.

Conducting Research with People who have ASD and/or Learning Disabilities.

Historically, research into the lived experiences of the
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