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“Imagining Otherwise”: Challenging Dominant Views Regarding Autism and How to Help Autistic People

Milton, Damian (2017) “Imagining Otherwise”: Challenging Dominant Views Regarding Autism and How to Help Autistic People. Pavilion Press (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Abstract

In recent years we have seen a massive growth of academic research in the field of autism. Much of this has set out to examine genetic causes or cognitive and behavioural characteristics, and has been largely carried out in the United States. This attention has also led to a growth in the number of media representations of autism and autistic people, often based on rather stereotypical characterisations, and consultations with researchers and clinicians.

This expansion in the use of the term ‘autism’ can be traced back to the work of Lorna Wing and Judith Gould who pioneered the use of the term the ‘autism spectrum’ and the subsequent widening of diagnostic criteria. Initially, autism was the preserve of developmental psychologists in descriptions of ‘abnormal’ child development (as measured against averages on a number of measures), yet with the widening of diagnostic criteria as well as information technology, autistic people were able to contact one another, form communities and develop a growing autistic culture, and from which build critiques of how such a way of being in the world had come to be interpreted.

What one considers autism to be, will have a significant impact on how one then interprets what is meant by ‘best practice’ with autistic people. In this report, such theories of autism will be critically reviewed, alongside the interventions that are linked to such ways of viewing autism, and these will be contrasted with the concerns of autistic people.

The critical disability studies scholar Lennard Davis (2010) suggests that through experiences of non-normativity and marginality, disabled people are given the chance to ‘imagine otherwise’. It is in this spirit that this report has been written. What if autism was imagined otherwise? What changes in practice might this lead to? How could researchers test the efficacy of such practices? For research, theory and practice to be coordinated, ongoing reflection is always needed, and this includes revisiting and critiquing taken-for-granted assumptions.

Item Type: Research report (external and confidential)
Uncontrolled keywords: Autism, Monotropism, Flow, Double empathy problem, Support strategies
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research
Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research > Tizard
Depositing User: Damian Milton
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2017 10:07 UTC
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2020 04:16 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/63365 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Milton, Damian: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3825-6194
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