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Prompt Dependency Beyond Childhood: Adults With Asperger's Syndrome and Intimate Relationships

  • Bronwyn Wilson (a1), Wendi Beamish (a1), Stephen Hay (a1) and Tony Attwood (a2)


Many children on the autism spectrum are dependent on prompts provided by adults for staying on-task, completing activities and transitioning between activities in the home, school and community environments (Bryan & Gast, 2000; Milley & Machalicek, 2012). Yet, prompt dependency beyond childhood has received little attention. This study explored the possibility that prompt dependency also applies to adults diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome (AS) when interacting with their neurotypical partner. In-depth interviews with nine couples (ages ranging from 29 to 69) were used to explore intimate relationships between partners in order to determine whether prompt dependency was evident. A grounded theory research strategy was applied to analyse interview data. Data analysed through constant comparison coding supported the hypothesis that adults with AS in the sample showed prompt dependency in their interactions with their partners. Limitations and implications for future research are discussed.


Corresponding author

ADDRESS FOR CORRESPONDENCE: Bronwyn Wilson, Griffith University Mount Gravatt Campus, 176 Messines Ridge Road, Mount Gravatt QLD 4122, Australia. Email:


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Prompt Dependency Beyond Childhood: Adults With Asperger's Syndrome and Intimate Relationships

  • Bronwyn Wilson (a1), Wendi Beamish (a1), Stephen Hay (a1) and Tony Attwood (a2)


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