Integrating Family Ritual and Sociocultural Theories as a Framework for Understanding Mealtimes of Families with Children on the Autism Spectrum

Curtiss, Sarah L.
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Based on a critical review of research on family meals and autism, this article explores ritual and sociocultural perspectives on shared family meals of families with children on the autism spectrum. Family ritual theory is a lens for analytically understanding phenomena observed in family life, how individuals are connected, and how symbolic meaning is created through patterned behavior. Sociocultural theory explains the presence of culture in thinking, the nature of learning, and the relation between development and instruction. An integration of these theories provides a framework for understanding what mealtime rituals mean and how they are created. Specifically, I address the limitations that impairments associated with autism may impose on a family’s ability to have shared family meals by situating sociocultural theory as a method for including children with autism in family rituals when they are not naturally occurring events.
Curtiss, Sarah L. (2018). Integrating family ritual and sociocultural theories as a framework for understanding mealtimes of families with children on the autism spectrum. Journal of Family Theory and Review, 10 (4) , 749-764.