Identity management and self-disclosure practices of filipino college students with ASD

Abstract: Tuazon, R. B. S. (2017). Identity Management and Self-Disclosure Practices of Filipino College Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Unpublished Undergraduate Thesis, University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication.

This thesis examines the identity management and disclosure behaviors of Filipino college students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). As the population of people with ASD in the Philippines increases and ages, individuals with the condition face the possibility – or necessity – of enrolling in tertiary academic institutions upon graduating from the basic education system. However, these individuals face unique challenges in adapting to a neurotypical-dominant academic environment, and as such, they have to equip themselves with the right tools to more effectively navigate their way through college life and the stage of adulthood. This qualitative study examines the communicative strategies of these individuals by analyzing data from interviews with five young adults with the condition. Results from the study support the argument that students with ASD use identity management strategies that allow them to blend in with their neurotypical peers while acknowledging the existence of ASD symptoms which make them ‘different’. However, these strategies are more nuanced and do not necessarily point to challenging traditional notions of ASD as the ultimate goal. Instead, they utilize the strategy of compromise as a means to either merely adjust to neurotypical social norms or to challenge these norms in their own way.

Keywords: Interpersonal Communication, Stigma Communication, Identity Management, Disclosure, Special-Needs Students, Autism

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