A modified hermeneutic phenomenological approach toward individuals who have autism

Authors

  • Claire Newman,

    Corresponding author
    1. Faculty of Nursing Midwifery & Health, University of Technology Sydney and New South Wales Justice Health, Professorial Unit, Suite 302 Level 2, Westfield Office Tower, 152 Bunnerong Rd, Eastgardens, Sydney, New South Wales 2036, Australia
    • Faculty of Nursing Midwifery & Health, University of Technology Sydney and New South Wales Justice Health, Professorial Unit, Suite 302 Level 2, Westfield Office Tower, 152 Bunnerong Rd, Eastgardens, Sydney, New South Wales 2036, Australia.
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    • Research Nurse.

  • Andrew Cashin,

    1. School of Health & Human Science, Southern Cross University, Lismore, Australia
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    • Professor of Nursing.

  • Cheryl D. Waters

    1. Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Health, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, Australia
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    • Senior Lecturer.


  • No financial or other support was received for this paper.

Abstract

Individuals with autism have a unique cognitive processing style characterized by impaired abstraction, impaired theory of mind, and visual as opposed to linguistic processing of information. A consequence of this unique cognitive processing style is that traditional ways of hermeneutical phenomenological examination may be inadequate to achieve the kind of understanding of experience toward which this method is directed. In order to stay true to Heidegger's hermeneutic phenomenology, we needed to develop modifications to this research methodology, which include the use of visual aids to promote participant engagement and access the eidetic memory of a participant with autism, so as to elicit concrete descriptors of an experience. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 33:265–271, 2010

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