How Diagnostic Categories Influence the Self-Description of Person with a Diagnosis: On the Relation Between Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder and Self-Identity (1)

Monday, July 14, 2014: 6:15 PM
Room: 422
Oral Presentation
Shigeru URANO , Department of Nursing, Mie Prefectural College of Nursing, Tsu City, Japan
Satsuki AYAYA , Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
Shinichiro KUMAGAYA , Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
Previous studies have revealed that there is a mutual relationship between the self-description and social cognition/interaction (Spreng and Mar, 2012; Nelson and Fivush, 2004). These studies have found that to infer the intentions, feelings and beliefs of others from their behaviors requires the structured self-description which serves as a reference frame. On the other hand, self-description is structured through the social interaction.

  The persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), the medical definition of which is qualitative deficits of social cognition/interaction, are suggested to have difficulties in semanticizing their own autobiographical memories through social interaction, which gives atypical structure of self-description (Crane et al., 2010; 2011; Bon et al., 2013; Lind et al., 2010; Williams et al., 2010; Uddin et al., 2011). However, performance of social cognition/interaction and self-description depends on ‘how’ to interact ‘with whom’, and may not be reduced to individual characteristics (Crane and Goddard, 2008; Bruck et al, 2007; Crane et al., 2012).

  As a practice in which alternative self-description and social recognition/interaction are generated simultaneously, we focus on Tohjisha-Kenkyu. ‘Tojisha’ means first-person in Japanese, and ‘Kenkyu’ means research. In a nutshell, Tohjisha-Kenkyu is studying oneself through communication with others who share similar experiences. Tojisha-Kenkyu is a novel method of self-help and intellectual exploration born in Japan, which neither accepts without question nor rejects completely existing technical terms and diagnosis, but rather uses and customizes them to make more suitable descriptions for each experience.

  In this presentation, the speaker, who is diagnosed with ASD and is a facilitator of Tohjisha-Kenkyu meetings for ASD, will introduce 7-year experiences of Tohjisha-kenkyu. She also talks about how she has utilized technical terms to change her own self-description, which ranges from implicit body schema to explicit self-narratives, and the relationship with others (Ayaya, 2013).