Special Education ETDs

Publication Date

Fall 11-13-2017



Understanding how ASD policy is made at the state level is important to the various institutional and individual stakeholders who make, apply, and are governed by it. Critical disability theory was applied to this qualitative study of ASD policymaking in New Mexico. This study examined how policymakers and stakeholders brought their identities, knowledge, values, and beliefs to policymaking in New Mexico. The study was guided by the question, “How is ASD policy in New Mexico constructed?” The research used the following methods: (a) individual interviews of policy stakeholders, (b) observations of public policy meetings, (c) document review. Six major themes emerged: Tension in the Discursive Field, Dividing Practices, Reifying Autism, The Use of Force, The Government of Autism, and Autism Tsunami Policy Paradigm Shift. Analysis also uncovered related sub-themes. The study findings addressed interactions among governmentalities, discourses, violence, and resistance that, together with outside influences, may produce a paradigm shift in ASD policy in New Mexico.


ASD, autism, policy, New Mexico, Critical Disability Theory

Document Type




Degree Name

Special Education

Level of Degree


Department Name

Special Education

First Committee Member (Chair)

Julia Scherba de Vanlenzuela

Second Committee Member

Ruth Luckasson

Third Committee Member

Loretta Serna

Fourth Committee Member

Kristina Rewin Ciesielski

Fifth Committee Member

Lindsay Smith