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Keywords:

  • hermeneutic phenomenology;
  • autism;
  • Martin Heidegger

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