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Reversing the vicious circle of psycho-emotional disablism in the education of autistic people

Milton, Damian (2013) Reversing the vicious circle of psycho-emotional disablism in the education of autistic people. In: Banajee, Pallavi and Barrie, Richard and Hand, Michael, eds. Championing research, educating professionals: how compatible are elitism, inclusion and social justice? Annual Conference (11). University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK, pp. 127-134. ISBN 978-0-7044-2831-7. (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:62654)

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This paper reflects on findings from a number of consultation exercises that were undertaken on behalf of the Autism Education Trust (AET) in the development of nationally recognised training materials, school standards and practitioner competencies, as well as pilot studies conducted in the course of a wider thesis regarding a phenomenological and discursive analysis of educational narratives regarding autistic learners, with the aim to uncover common ground and tensions between stakeholder groups in order to provide recommendations for practice. These studies included surveys and interviews with parents, practitioners and autistic people, and a collaborative action research project with autistic adults.

Contested narratives regarding best educational practice for autistic learners reflect wider narrative constructions of autism, ranging from a description of autism as a medically defined disorder which affects normal social functioning in need of intervention, to a diverse neurological style that needs to be understood and interacted with on more equal terms. Thus the ontology of what autism pertains to leads to the construction of very differing accounts of inclusion and what counts as social justice for autistic people.

It is argued here, that it is essential for the dominance of cognitive-behavioural accounts of autistic deficit within educational theory and practice to be challenged, so that autistic people do not develop feeling devalued for who they are due a vicious circle of psycho-emotional disablement (Reeve, 2011) that the implementation of such practices can create. To reverse the circle there needs to be a fundamental change in the ideology of educational theory and practice from one of behavioural modification to fit into society, to one of mutual respect. In keeping with other autistic self-advocates, this paper will refer to ‘autistic people’, and ‘those who identify as on the autism spectrum’, rather than ‘people with autism’.

Item Type: Book section
Uncontrolled keywords: Autism, Education, Stress, Double empathy problem
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LC Special aspects of education
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC553.A88 Autism. Asperger's syndrome
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research > Tizard
Depositing User: Damian Milton
Date Deposited: 14 Aug 2017 08:06 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 10:24 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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