Date of Conferral
Peggy A. Locke
Minimal research focuses on females with Asperger Syndrome (AS). Without understanding the experiences of this population, the knowledge and understanding necessary for the development of appropriate diagnosis and supports is unavailable. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to gain insights into the challenges faced by females with AS by describing the central phenomena of their lived experiences from a critical feminist theoretical framework. Four participants were included in the study that explored their lived experiences pertaining to academic, home, personal, and social experiences including their recollections pertaining to these social contexts during elementary, middle, and high school. Data was collected through semi-structured, in-depth interviews, observations, and artifacts. Data were examined for significant statements that aligned to the research focus, and these were then coded into four significant thematic units to inform textual description and synthesis of shared experience. Four significant units emerged including victimization, anxiety, social issues, and age-appropriate interests. The essential conclusion was that female adolescents with AS share common interests, though qualitatively different, with neurotypical peers while continuing to battle internal and external circumstances. Analysis of nonconforming information pointed to the utility of other theoretical models in understanding the AS experience of young females. This research contributes to positive social change by providing a voice to females with AS, lessening their invisibility as a minority within a minority. Contributing such knowledge of the lived experiences of female adolescents with AS can lead to the development of better diagnostic criteria and appropriate supports.