Today someone mentioned that for their psychology degree's ASD and ADHD module, they have to read ‘Autism: a very short introduction’ by Uta Frith (Oxford University Press, 2008).

Here, dear reader, is what psychology students are being taught, and it's bad.
“There are now a number of people who have diagnosed themselves as having Asperger syndrome. These individuals often call themselves Aspies, and they feel different from NTs or neurotypicals."
Bear in mind, Asperger Syndrome was removed as a label from newer editions of the DSM after this date, and the phenomenon was combined with Autism Spectrum Disorder. But students still get prescribed this. And now it gets worse:
"They do not need the attention of a clinician. They are perfectly adapted in their everyday lives, occupying a niche that is just right for their special interests and skills."
"It is not surprising that these people argue that Asperger syndrome is not a disorder. To them it is merely a difference, and a difference to be proud of."
"Some campaigners go even further and say that for the whole of the autism spectrum it is wrong to talk of brain abnormalities, wrong to focus on deficits in the mind, and wrong to highlight impairments in behaviour."
"Instead there should only be talk of differences in brain and mental make-up, some of which represent the autistic mind."
"This is a strange proposition. To someone who is familiar with classic cases and other severe cases of autism, and knows of the suffering that is associated with autism, it seems perverse. You may disagree, but then this book is not for you.”
So, here is a bit of a problem with this book. The opinion of some 'Aspies' (outdated word!) gets presented, albeit without reference to the human rights model of disability as espoused in the #CRPD, and...
...with an oversimplified aggregation of the views of people who espouse the neurodiversity paradigm.
And that's where the mention of #ActuallyAutistic opinion stops: with the 'Aspies'!

This is 2021! The OTHER, non-Aspie autists have been putting their words out there for YEARS. Many are part of the neurodiversity movement. Read this thread, good grief!
Psychology students shouldn't be made to read a 2008 book by Uta Frith!
Autism isn't a psychological condition anyway; it's a neurodevelopmental phenomenon (or a collection of neurotypes); and that understanding is key to determining the kind of support that autistic people may need.
In 2021, this vexing message comes across like, "Self-diagnosed 'Aspies' are doing the talking about autism. They don't have problems you should bother with, and you shouldn't listen to them. No other autists are saying anything, so listen to meeeeeeeeee."
Now, autism may not be a psychological disorder, but autistic people, INCLUDING SELF-IDENTIFIED AUTISTIC PEOPLE may well need the help of a psychologist at some point. But we can't have Uta-Frith-in-2008-psychology! Argh!
And it's jolly well time to listen to what autistic people with high support needs are saying about the kind of help they need from psychologists.
But it's not all. Going for 10, 20 or 50 years without any kind of communication, not even being able to communicate with eye gaze because your nystagmus is so bad, IS TRAUMATIC.
Special support is needed for people who've been through that, and who may have had cruel behaviour therapy on top of the exasperating struggle with their bodies.
Psychology students aren't learning to provide this support, because most of their lecturers don't #ListenToNonspeakers.
So, enough of this nonsense. We're gonna have a revolution.
And the revolution in the autism professions will be spearheaded by Black, LGBTQ+ and nonspeaking autistic people.
"Get ready for change."
— Zekwande Mathenjwa (@autisticspeak)

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More from @ekverstania

3 Jun
One reason why disabled people generally get a raw deal from society is because the organisations designed specifically to serve them are often bastions of ableist hypocrisy.
Every SEN school, residential facility, disability service organisation and local SASSA office should set a transformation timeline for appointing at the very least a representative number of disabled staff, especially in leading roles.
They should ALL be trained in the #CRPD and in anti-ableist practices. If the actual disability sector can't model it for the rest of society, how on earth do they expect general institutions to become more inclusive?
Read 19 tweets
28 May
The irony of autistic representation in the autism professions is that...
...the people who are prepared to slot in as token autistics are presented as authoritative role models (whilst being out of touch with a broad range of other autists), while...
...the intersectional activists who stand up for human rights for all are said to be representing only themselves.
Read 22 tweets
26 May
This is one of my fellow disability rights activists. His school had him in Grade 1 at the age of 14 and said he wouldn't progress. Meanwhile he was dreaming of learning calculus.

He was 17 when this photo was taken.

Many, many, many nonspeaking autistic people are similarly underestimated, and denied the right to robust AAC.

Their extreme movement difficulties are seen as 'behaviours' and assumed to be signs of a 'developmental delay' or intellectual disability.

Read 4 tweets
8 May
I'm probably fighting a losing battle here, but DIVERSITY is a characteristic of items in a GROUP.

A single item can't be diverse (if you're looking at one trait).
"The biodiversity in this park is amazing!" = "There are many species in the park."

Hence, neurodiversity means neurological diversity WITHIN A POPULATION.

It doesn't mean, "I'm different from most people."

If you diverge from the norm, you're DIVERGENT, not DIVERSE.
Neurodiversity: Some basic terms and definitions

Read 17 tweets
7 May
[THREAD] I wanna show you an example of what presuming competence with nonspeaking autistic children means.
This is a lesson on fractals, prepared by Vicky Oettle, a teacher at a school for nonspeaking autistic children in Johannesburg. It's for use in a one-to-one lesson where the client develops motor skills by pointing to letters on a letterboard.

These children would normally have been in SEN schools where their movement issues were misinterpreted as deliberate misbehaviour, or a sign of intellectual impairment.
Read 48 tweets
6 May
🧩 Autism politics question

You know how the ABAmongering 'experts' are happy to share a stage with Temple Grandin, Stephen Shore and John Elder Robison, because they know those guys won't bite their heads off --

So, question: Who are their favourite famous AAC users?
I ask this, because it seems to me that they are anti-AAC because of the things that AAC users say.

Seems like, "We like working with people who are intelligent yet know their place; but we can't find any AAC users who know their place now that Carly Fleischmann is gone."
And I don't even mean that Carly was tame; it's just that she had the kind of personal goals that wouldn't necessarily bring her headlong into confrontation with 'autism experts' very often.
Read 5 tweets

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