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From prose to poetry: retelling the experiences of children with autism navigating around a school to promote empathy and understanding

Julie E.N. Irish (College of Design, Iowa State University of Science and Technology, Ames, Iowa, USA)

Qualitative Research Journal

ISSN: 1443-9883

Article publication date: 19 February 2021

Issue publication date: 12 October 2021

163

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper was to describe the experiences of four children with autism spectrum disorder navigating around the corridors of an unfamiliar school and translate the findings into poetic format. Poetry could provide a more accessible format to a nonacademic audience and promote empathy and understanding about this population.

Design/methodology/approach

Each participant was shown a route from the start point to the destination by the researcher then asked to lead the way there. Post-study, participants were interviewed for their perceptions and feelings about navigating.

Findings

Participants' responses and behaviors differed, e.g. some were stimulated by colors, some noticed small details and some were distracted. Poetic translation vividly emphasized these behaviors and emotions.

Originality/value

Few studies have described how children with autism navigate the built environment or asked their opinion about navigating. None in the field have used poetic translation to explore data.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Linda Grierson-Irish for comments on an earlier version of this manuscript.

Citation

Irish, J.E.N. (2021), "From prose to poetry: retelling the experiences of children with autism navigating around a school to promote empathy and understanding", Qualitative Research Journal, Vol. 21 No. 4, pp. 483-497. https://doi.org/10.1108/QRJ-10-2020-0137

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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