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The ABCs of Autism

Aspects of Maternal Pedagogy in Australia

Rozanna Lilley

The field of autism interventions, as well as advice given to parents on educating children with autism spectrum disorders, is characterized by competing claims and controversy. This article compares two events targeted at parents, both of which were staged on the same weekend in Sydney, Australia, in 2007. One centered on applied behavioral analysis, holding out the promise of potential normalization for children with autism and their families. The other, mobilizing civil rights rhetoric, pushed for the full educational inclusion of all children with disabilities. This article investigates the assumptions underlying these varied positions and assesses some of the ways in which parents, especially mothers, make sense of and situationally negotiate these often emotionally charged claims and counter-claims.