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A thread, fixing another research paper. This one. sciencedirect.com/science/articl…
It is about wearable tech and autistic people, but its summary of autism is a shocker. Look.
Here we go on this rollercoaster ride...hold on.../
OK, first up, we're not a disorder. Yes, I know it says so in a medical journal somewhere, but it's like calling females 'male deficit disorder'. At the very least, unpolite. At worst, extremely insulting. I would suggest that we all learn appropriate language. "Autistic people"
Secondly, no, we don't have 'impaired' social behaviour. You'll need this lovely bit of research which I talk about here. Autistic people communicate differently, and generally can understand one another. annsautism.blogspot.com/2019/05/autist…
Thirdly, let's talk about a 'normal life'. I put it to the researchers that there is no such thing, and that leading many sorts of different life is absolutely fine. Being autistic doesn't get in the way of a good life, if we are enabled to do so. /
What of autism limiting the life of us and our family? What limits the situation is largely a lack of budget, understanding, support and enablement, for the person and their family. Yes, there can be challenges remaining, but people sink because of those missing things./
Moving on to rigid repetitive behaviour, if a child kicks a football all day, that's fine. If they play an instrument for hours, great. If it's a hobby non-autistic people don't like, it's 'rigid repetitive behaviour'. How about no.
We also have 'inconsistent eye contact'? It's actually perfect eye contact, if you're autistic (often none at all, in fact).
And we don't 'fail to respond'. Non-autistic people are often simply rubbish at observing the responses, or exhibiting enough patience to wait for them/
As for talking about a favourite subject for ages, without noticing others are bored, actually the non-autistic people could tell us they need a change of conversation. So the problem is that non-autistic people don't know how to say what they want/
...and, adding, I cannot begin to tell you how often I have been bored to tears with conversations about e.g. Eastenders or blinking football etc, all of which is seen as absolutely fine.
So, we need to have a rethink of what's 'boring', don't we./
I will admit to the last item, though. The actions of non-autistic people are often a complete mystery to me, in the same way that some of mine are a complete mystery to many of them. That's called Double Empathy difficulties, & Dr Damian Milton @milton_damian talks about this/
So, in summary, I am rather unimpressed with papers that begin by misrepresenting or humiliating autistic people.
We need to do a lot better than this, and we need to start from a position of apology.
A position of admitting that we've misunderstood autistic people.
Thank you.
PS, if we want a definition of irony, it would be researchers writing this list of breathtaking stuff, whilst claiming it's the autistic people who get social understanding wrong.
Want that link to the Double Empathy work, and much else? Try kent.ac.uk/social-policy-…
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