På kanten af det normale: En undersøgelse af den sociale integration af unge med Aspergers syndrom

Anne van der Sterren Rovsing & Trine Skov Bjerregaard

Studenteropgave: Speciale


This masters thesis deals with the social integration of young people with Asperger’s syndrome in their transition from childhood to adult life. The interest in this investigation stems from the fact that the number of young people with Asperger’s syndrome signed in to the handicap centres of the municipality of Copenhagen has increased dramatically over the last decade. This sudden increase, combined with a general lack of useful public offers for young people with Asperger’s syndrome, makes the social initiatives for this particular group a major challenge of social work today. The thesis addresses this problem from two different levels of analysis. First, it forms a processual understanding of the transition from childhood to adult life through a legislative perspective as well as practice oriented perspective. And secondly, it identifies and analyses the different elements promoting and impeding the social integration of young people with Asperger’s syndrome. These issues are investigated within the framework of social integration, with a specific focus on how they are managed through social legislation. The first part of the thesis sets up the theoretical framework. It does so by defining and discussing the central terms and concepts used throughout the thesis, and by pinpointing the specific frames of explanation relevant for the group investigated and the special conditions it is subdued. The theoretical framework comprises theories of social integration, marginalisation, and social devaluation. The theories are compiled and presented in what we call a ‘theory landscape’, which constitutes a theoretical framework capable of discussing central terms and concepts from several different theoretic angles, instead of merely advancing the contribution of one particular scholar in the field. The second part of the thesis analyses the empiric material gathered throughout the investigation. This constitutes qualitative interviews with social workers, experts and advisers with specific knowledge on the group investigated, as well as young people with Asperger’s syndrome and their parents. Each of these groups of respondents contributes to the understanding of the integration process and how it is dealt with from both a social perspective and from the parties involved. And by doing so, they help us identify elements promoting and impeding the social integration of young people with Asperger’s syndrome. The legislation in the field applies a citizen-oriented perspective, which emphasizes the need for better inclusion of the handicapped in society by thorough preparation of the youth before the age of 18 and effective handling over between different departments in the social system. The investigation presented in this thesis points, however, to a number of obstacles faced by the social authorities when dealing with social integration, which hinder the fulfilment of the legislative intent. First, it finds the structural organization of public social administration, with its cogent division of rules and procedures between respectively the children’s field and the adult’s field, to impede the efforts made to strengthen the social integration of the group. Secondly, the thesis identifies significant problems related to individuals feeling ‘abnormal’ or being met as ‘deviants’ by the surrounding society. This finding, which is comprehensively documented in the empiric material and backed by the theoretical framework, underlines the inexpediency of society’s tendency to operate with a dominant ‘conception of normality’. A tendency, which often results in marginalisation of specific groups, and appears to form a significant challenge to social initiatives, directed at people labelled ‘handicapped’.

UddannelserSocialvidenskab, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato1 jan. 2006
VejledereCatharina Juul Kristensen