The Negotiation of Footing and Participation Structure in a Social Group of Teens with and Without Autism Spectrum Disorder


  • Kristen Bottema-Beutel University of California, San Francisco State University



Autism Spectrum Disorder, Participation Frameworks, Adolescents, Peer Interaction


This study combines participant observation and discourse analytic methodologies to determine how an adolescent girl with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), referred to here as Sheila, negotiates shifts in footing and participation structure within a small group intervention. The intervention also includes two typically developing, adolescent peers. Video recordings of 11 hours of group session were transcribed and analyzed. Analysis shows that Sheila uses resources characteristic of ASD, namely repetition, to structure the mode in which she participates in social group activities. Repetition appears in both verbal and physical modalities, and serves to shift footing into or out of alignment with her peers depending on the context of the interaction. Through bodily imitation, Sheila reframes a game of charades into a joint performance, and is corroborated by her typical peers and the adult facilitator in doing so as they ratify her shaping of a new game.

Author Biography

Kristen Bottema-Beutel, University of California, San Francisco State University

Kristen Bottema-Beutel is a Ph.D. candidate in the Joint Doctoral Program in Special Education at UC Berkeley and San Francisco State University. Kristen received a master’s degree in special education from San Francisco State University, with an emphasis in autism spectrum disorders. Her research focuses on social and communicative interaction in children and adolescents with autism spectrum and related disorders, and the design of social interventions in inclusive settings. Kristen is also interested in typically developing adolescent’s reasoning about whether or not to include individuals with social disabilities in their peer groups. Kristen has assisted on several large-scale research projects in each of these areas during her graduate career. She is currently implementing a mixed methods study designed to further examine the effectiveness of social groups for teens with and without autism spectrum disorder that will serve as her doctoral dissertation.


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How to Cite

Bottema-Beutel, K. (2011). The Negotiation of Footing and Participation Structure in a Social Group of Teens with and Without Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Interactional Research in Communication Disorders, 2(1), 61–83.