Working in ADR with disputants on the Autism Spectrum

Rebekah M. Doley

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Working effectively in the field of Alternative Dispute Resolution exposes the practitioner to a range of mental health concerns potentially impacting disputants. An under-explored area is the impact for disputants with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) on the mediation process. For these individuals challenges in executive functioning, social behavior, and non-verbal communication are often evident from childhood through to adulthood. It is a hypothesis that gaps in skill development impact on the conflict style favoured by the individual with ASD which, in turn, will impact on an approach to dispute resolution. This article is concerned with the role of the mediator in working with a disputant who has ASD, focusing on the cluster of symptoms that were previously known as Asperger's Syndrome. The potential impact of ASD on the mediation process is considered, along with strategies by which mediators might seek to support these individuals to effectively engage in successful dispute resolution.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-157
Number of pages8
JournalAustralasian Dispute Resolution Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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