The Negotiation of Footing and Participation Structure in a Social Group of Teens with and Without Autism Spectrum Disorder
Issue: Vol 2 No. 1 (2011)
Subject Areas: Linguistics
This study combines participant observation and discourse analytic methodologies to determine how an adolescent girl with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), referred to here as Sheila, negotiates shifts in footing and participation structure within a small group intervention. The intervention also includes two typically developing, adolescent peers. Video recordings of 11 hours of group session were transcribed and analyzed. Analysis shows that Sheila uses resources characteristic of ASD, namely repetition, to structure the mode in which she participates in social group activities. Repetition appears in both verbal and physical modalities, and serves to shift footing into or out of alignment with her peers depending on the context of the interaction. Through bodily imitation, Sheila reframes a game of charades into a joint performance, and is corroborated by her typical peers and the adult facilitator in doing so as they ratify her shaping of a new game.
Author: Kristen Bottema-Beutel