Getting dressed as a social activity
The interactional competence of an Autistic teenager who doesn’t use speech
Keywords:Autism, collaboration, embodiment, routine activity, sociality
Up to 25 per cent of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder are classified as ‘nonverbal’. Building on interactional research on the communicative skills of Autistic children and of individuals who do not use speech, this article uses video data to examine the interactional competence of an Autistic bilingual Latino teenager who does not use speech to communicate. A comparison of multiple instances of the teenager’s getting-dressed routine shows that contrary to the clinical framing of this routine as individualized and efficiency-oriented, getting dressed can be a social achievement that relies on the collaboration of multiple social actors in community settings. While a core feature of an Autism diagnosis is social and communicative impairment, the analysis demonstrates that Autistic interaction is highly social and richly communicative as well as affectively engaged.
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