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Addressing people with autism spectrum disorders in the contemporary media

Nina Maslo Plečnik (2022) Addressing people with autism spectrum disorders in the contemporary media. MSc thesis.

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    In this master's thesis, we studied how people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are depicted in contemporary media. In the theoretical part, we defined ASD, presenting how it was first detected, acknowledged and named, and presented the main signs of ASD. After listing and describing three main areas children with ASD struggle with, we presented the historical overview of how attitude towards people with special needs has developed and compared it to the historical overview of how people with special needs have been depicted in the media, trying to find similarities. We described the general attitude towards people with special needs in contemporary media, detailing how they are depicted in books, shows and films. In the empirical part, having selected four contemporary films and shows and two books addressing people with ADS, we studied how these characters are presented and how their depiction might influence their perception and acceptance in the general public. We conducted a semi-structured interview with actor Urban Kuntarič, who played a person with ADS in a Slovene crime show, titled V Imenu Ljudstva. According to the results presented using the descriptive method, we determined that in contemporary media people with special needs are mostly presented stereotypically. In most cases, they are played by a white male aged between 20 and 30, who, in addition to having all »prescribed« signs of autism, is exceptionally gifted in a certain field, mostly scientific. Such a depiction might be harmful, as it makes the general public and people with ADS create unrealistic expectations, which only 10% of all people with ADS can fulfil. More research in this field would be desired, in order to determine the overall influence of the depiction of people with ADS in contemporary media on their general perception. An unrealistic depiction might be misleading, while a realistic depiction might help people better understand the disorder and develop deeper empathy for people with ADS as well as their families.

    Item Type: Thesis (MSc thesis)
    Keywords: autism spectrum disorder, contemporary media, stereotypes, improved understanding of the disorder
    Number of Pages: 58
    Language of Content: Slovenian
    Mentor / Comentors:
    Mentor / ComentorsIDFunction
    prof. dr. Janez JermanMentor
    Link to COBISS: https://plus.si.cobiss.net/opac7/bib/peflj/109758723
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Education
    Item ID: 7207
    Date Deposited: 31 May 2022 08:57
    Last Modified: 31 May 2022 08:57
    URI: http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/7207

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