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Understanding AutismParents, Doctors, and the History of a Disorder$
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Chloe Silverman

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691150468

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691150468.001.0001

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Desperate and Rational: Parents and Professionals in Autism Research

Desperate and Rational: Parents and Professionals in Autism Research

(p.167) 5 Desperate and Rational: Parents and Professionals in Autism Research
Understanding Autism

Chloe Silverman

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the process of persuasion and affective involvement whereby parents and new practitioners come to take part in the practice of treating autism as well as in research on autism. It considers the production of biomedical knowledge in one parent-practitioner community and the ways that social relations based on affect alter vision, create trust, and change measures of therapeutic success. Despite the fact that biomedical treatments for autism are regarded as “alternative” practices, this community does not operate “outside” the forms of expertise and representations of biological systems accepted by conventional practitioners. What makes them distinct is a conscious shift in perspective as opposed to an appeal to a diffrent knowledge system altogether. They are an experimental community within biomedicine, and their treatment practices remain controversial, but parents of autistic children are exploring them at increasing rates.

Keywords:   persuasion, parents, autism, autism research, biomedical knowledge, biomedical treatments, biomedicine, treatment practices, autistic children

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