|Author(s)||Douglas W. Maynard, Jason Turowetz|
|Title||Doing Testing: How Concrete Competence can Facilitate or Inhibit Performances of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder|
|Tag(s)||EMCA, AutismSpectrumdisorder, Testing, Scienceandtechnology, Conversationanalysis, Ethnomethodology, Medical sociology|
This article contributes to the sociology of science and technology through the study of language use and social interaction. As an analysis of how clinicians examine children to diagnose developmental disabilities, it involves the sociology of testing and standardization, with our particular focus on Autism Spectrum Disorders. Whereas previous research has concentrated primarily on the outcomes of testing, such as diagnostic trends, little has been written about the tests by which these trends are produced. Our analysis shows how psychometric tests operate to shape the interactive environments (those established by the test instrument, scoring metrics, etc.). Additionally, the interactional environment (the practices by which protocols are implemented as clinician and child do the test) exerts an influence on performance. In short, the interactive and interactional environment may affect the measurement of ability and difference in children. We propose that the emphasis of clinical tests on measuring second-order, abstract competence—or the ability to produce general answers to theoretical questions—may obscure various kinds of first-order, concrete competence and “autistic intelligence” a child displays. As forms of first-order, concrete competence, we examine orientation in situ to testing history, narrative combinations of test items, and using filler words for test item answers.