Paras Shital Arora

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Stanford U.

Grant number

Gr. 10669

Approve Date

April 15, 2024

Project Title

Arora, Paras (Stanford U.) ""Not a Child Anymore?": Autistic Adults between & beyond Families & Assisted Living Facilities in Delhi, India"

Compared to barely a handful of autism diagnoses made in the 1980s, there are over 18 million autistic individuals living in India today. Since the 2010s, a record number of these individuals have aged into their adulthood. Unsettling longstanding, seductive imaginaries of an “infantile disorder” that could be rehabilitated out of existence, autistic adults are staking agentive claims to a place in future with their disabilities, cognitive dispositions, and desires to grow up. Yet in the absence of State-mandated support, and the presence of fragile familial relations, autistic adults are being increasingly admitted into newly established and privately run assisted living facilities across all major Indian cities. Through 12 months of ethnographic research with autistic adults, their familial and professional caregivers across multiple assisted living facilities, familial homes, and disability NGOs in Delhi, this project interrogates how the ageing of autistic individuals into adulthood is reassembling imaginaries of kinship and practices of care in India. By prioritizing the under-explored lives of autistic adults in an ethically attentive and methodologically multimodal manner, this project seeks to make significant contributions to the anthropology of kinship, care, and cognitive disability.