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Autism Spectrum Disorder: Cultural Factors

There are differences in cultural definitions of health, abnormality, and disability. More specifically, culture can influence the presentation, interpretation, and assessment of the symptoms, the proposed etiologies, the prevalence rates, the prognosis, and the treatment approaches of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). As Courtenay Frazier Norbury and Alison Sparks noted in their review of cultural issues with neurodevelopmental disorders, Western societies subscribe to the medical model of diagnosis, which conceptualizes psychological diagnoses, such as ASD, as individual psychobiological dysfunctions composed of deviant and maladaptive behaviors that significantly impair the individual’s functioning. Norbury and Sparks emphasize that although the medical model focuses on a biological etiology of disorders, it is the interaction between biological and environmental factors that influences the emergence of a neurodevelopmental disorder such ...

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