Skip to main content

The normalisation agenda and the psycho-emotional disablement of autistic people

Milton, Damian, Moon, Lyte (2012) The normalisation agenda and the psycho-emotional disablement of autistic people. Autonomy, the Critical Journal of Interdisciplinary Autism Studies, 1 (1). ISSN 2051-5189. (KAR id:62638)


This paper critically analyses the use of normative social scientific principles in the treatment of autistic people and utilises the concept of psycho-emotional disablement (Reeve, 2002, 2004), to suggest that such a dominant normalising agenda has led to the silencing of the autistic voice in knowledge production and community awareness. Reflecting upon the researchers own insider situated knowledge, and findings from a number of pilot studies conducted in the course of a doctoral research programme, this paper examines the insider/outsider positionality of parent and self advocates within the autistic community, before challenging the legacy of Lovaas and recent attempts in Britain to modify such techniques. The paper finishes with a reflection upon how such measures have led to the further disablement of autistic people and their subjective lifeworld.

This paper also includes a contribution from Lyte, who is an individual who I have met recently in the course of my studies. As an emerging voice regarding neurodiversity, Lyte puts their own point of view to some of the issues that have arisen in the course of my research and are highlighted by this paper.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: Autism, Behaviourism, Normalisation, Psycho-emotional Disablement, Voice
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC553.A88 Autism. Asperger's syndrome
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research > Tizard
Depositing User: Damian Milton
Date Deposited: 14 Aug 2017 05:46 UTC
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2020 04:16 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Milton, Damian:
  • Depositors only (login required):


Downloads per month over past year