Understanding Autism Through Autobiographical Narrative of a Third Culture Woman
Ms Ipek AltunPadlet
Regarding the noteworthy changes in the diagnostic procedures of autism and recent discussions of the neurodiversity movement on a global scale, personal narratives on autism have become a part of my interest areas. Despite the wide range of examples on various online and offline platforms in English, personal narratives on autism in Turkish have just become visible in the last 10 years.
In this respect, one of the most visible personal narratives on autism belongs to Birsen Basar, born in the Netherlands as a daughter of a Turkish immigrant family. As a person who was diagnosed with autism at 21 years old in the Netherlands, she has committed herself to raise awareness on autism as her special interest for Turkish people in the Netherlands and/or Turkey. In this study, my aim is to examine her position of - in her own words - 'an in-betweener in two countries with her autism' based on her second book 'Living with Autism'. In accordance with the concept of Goffman's stigma and the perspective of life history research focusing on the 'unknown', I argue that her narrative reveals herself as an invisible subject and provides a space for reflection on our understandings of autism.