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Understanding autism
Understanding autism

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4.3 The effects of stigma

Even when parents are aware that their child has a problem, shame or fear of societal stigma may deter them from seeking appropriate help. For instance, in South Korean culture, some consider autism to be a ‘genetic taint’, which diminishes the marriage prospects of other children in the family. Parents may be reluctant to come forward, or may seek a diagnosis of ‘Reactive attachment disorder’, which implicates the mother’s behaviour in causing the child’s difficulties (Grinker et al., 2011).

Yet, as Dr Perepa explains, the role of stigma in explaining different rates of diagnosis across ethnic groups is complex and requires more research.

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We will return to the global perspective in Week 8.