Autism and the Family in Urban India: Looking Back, Looking by Shubhangi Vaidya

By Shubhangi Vaidya

The publication explores the lived fact of parenting and taking care of kids with autism in modern city India. it's according to a qualitative, ethnographic examine of households of kids with autism as they negotiate the difficult terrain of making a choice on their baby s incapacity, acquiring a prognosis, gaining access to acceptable providers and their on-going efforts to return to phrases with and make feel in their baby s specified subjectivity and mode of being. It examines the gendered dimensions of coping and care-giving and the differential responses of dad and mom, siblings and grandparents and the community to this complicated and sometimes tremendous difficult .
The booklet tackles head at the sombre query, what is going to take place to the kid after the oldsters are long past ? It additionally significantly examines the function of the kingdom, civil society and felony and institutional frameworks in position in India and undertakes a case examine of motion for Autism ; a Delhi-based NGO organize by means of mom and dad of kids with autism. This booklet additionally attracts upon the writer s personal engagement together with her baby’ s incapacity and therefore lends an authenticity born out of lived adventure and in-depth realizing. it's a precious addition to the literature within the sociology of the relatives and incapacity experiences.

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Extra resources for Autism and the Family in Urban India: Looking Back, Looking Forward

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It is old because people exhibiting its features have always been around, and often subsumed under other categories like ‘madness’, ‘feeble-mindedness’, ‘schizophrenia’ to name a few. He also notes that ‘autism’ as a category has no local referent in most non-Western cultures, including India. There are cultures where the symptoms of autism are not regarded as pathological, but rather as a sign of divine grace or, conversely, possession by evil spirits. Feinstein (2010) in his comprehensive history of autism also 28 1 Mapping the Terrain: Examining Discourses … remarks that if indeed autism is a neurological disorder, then it is very likely that it has always existed.

In India, in the 1920s, the case of the sisters Kamla and Amla found together in the forest also provoked much interest (Grinker 2007). Kanner’s insights on the biological or innate nature of the disorder ran counter to the prevalent discourse of the 1940s and 1950s in America which was deeply influenced by psychoanalysis. Autism was therefore conceptualized as a disorder of the psyche, resulting from the child’s emotional withdrawal from a cold, rejecting mother. The notorious ‘refrigerator mother’ hypothesis which demonized and stigmatized a whole generation of mothers of children with autism was the direct outcome of this perspective and held sway over the way autism was conceptualized and treated for a long time.

8 37 Overview of the Book Drawing from these research directions, I now present an overview of this book. As mentioned earlier, it is based upon primary research conducted with twenty families in Delhi during the period 2005–2007. It attempts to chronicle their lived experiences and thus bring to attention their daily negotiations with their child’s autism. The data are supplemented by findings from the growing body of research on autism and other intellectual disabilities and the family in India.

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