Including Autistic-Neurodivergent Perspectives in Adapted Physical Activity Textbooks

  • Author / Creator
    Nguyen, Hue An
  • Pedagogical textbooks are oftentimes the first introduction undergraduate students and future Adapted Physical Activity (APA) and Adapted Physical Education (APE) professionals have to the discipline. These texts can set the epistemological and axiological framing through which all subsequent knowledge is judged and incorporated for learners. This means that the ways in which APA and APE textbooks introduce experiences of Autism could inform future interactions learners have with Autistic individuals. Further, because textbooks play a key role in the identity narrative of a discipline, it is important to consider whether or not stories told about Autism are representative of APA’s purported values as a field.
    The purpose of this study was to compare the ways in which experiences of Autism are represented in neurodivergent communities to the ways they are represented in pedagogical APA textbooks. This work was done with a theoretical lens from the neurodiversity paradigm. Through a comparative thematic analysis I sought to answer two questions: 1) what are the biggest similarities and differences between how etic APA experts and emic Autistic experts talk about and strategize around Autism-related inclusion? And 2) What can this thematic comparison teach us about how APA and APE textbooks are constructing and promoting the APA values of self-advocacy, self-determination, and choice for Autistic individuals? From the analysis, I found that APA textbooks could better support Autistic communities by including neurodivergent understandings of Autism in their texts, teaching and exemplifying trauma-informed practice, differentiating between harmful and different characteristics of Autistics, and rejecting harmful organizations and practices like Autism Speaks or Applied Behavioural Analysis.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2021
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.