Methodologies in Autistic Research
Autism awareness is a raising concern, and people are becoming more informed on the need to be more tolerant to those on the spectrum. Autism research is relevant in creating acceptance of autistic people and enhancing healthy lives (Rajalakshmi, 2014). Previous research shows that one of every sixty-eight children is diagnosed with autism. This psychological disorder has the following features: lack of elaborate socialization skills, lessened use of both verbal and non-verbal speech and much usage of labelled behaviors (Bailey, 2014). These symptoms must appear before the age of three years for the condition to be termed as autism. For accuracy in my research, I will use the observation, surveys, and experiments in the proposed research. The methodologies will be applied as discussed below.
- Scientific Observation (Natural or laboratory Setting)
Observational studies involve a direct involvement of the researcher with the subject. This is to be carried out in familiar environments with familiar people and without altering the normal environment. This method will be applied to children below the age of three years to determine their developmental trends (New Scientist, 2010). This will be done in non-formal settings such as homes and playgrounds in the company familiar peers. In these environments, the autistic children are likely to be distinguished from normally developing children by checking their relationship skills and attitudes. Autistic children are unlikely to establish friendships, share interests and enjoyment with their peers and empathy towards other.
However, this method may not be very much effective as children at times may be distracted or have mood swings (Rajalakshmi, 2014). Due to this, they may fail to display their typical behaviors. To enhance this approach, the evaluator should consider minimizing the effective filter.
- Surveys (Questionnaire or Interview)
This method is only applicable literate and older members of the society. This could be the autistic individuals themselves, their parents or even siblings. I would prefer giving questionnaires and administering interviews to the relatives of the autistic persons (Springer Link, 2014). The autistic people themselves may not be cooperative enough and which is a drawback to the research. Some of the issues that can be covered in the interviews and the questionnaires include speech practices such as echolalia and comprehension of other people’s speech. Questions on interests could also be relevant (Springer Link, 2014). I will prefer using open-ended questions to avoid limiting my audience from participating fully. Autistic people could be questioned about their independence in life as well as the reactions they get from the society at large.
People however may be reluctant to giving their responses as they may fear that this could interfere with their privacy. They may also give wrong information which could threaten the reliability and the accuracy of the research.
Conducting experiments will mean altering the environment of the subjects. This will be more effective if applied to children below the age of three years. Adults can hardly be manipulated and thus dealing with them is rather tricky (New Scientist, 2010). This may be applied when measuring the interaction capabilities of the children. For example, I could alter the environment, the activities or the company of the children. By changing the company of the children, I will try to monitor their socialization skills and their ability to establish new friendships. Autistic children are majorly introverted and will hardly engage in any conversations. Experiments are highly discouraged as there may hinder even the participation of the normally developing children (New Scientist, 2010).