Autistic Self-Advocacy and the Neurodiversity Movement: Implications for Autism Early Intervention Research and Practice

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Abstract

The growth of autistic self-advocacy and the neurodiversity movement has brought about new ethical, theoretical and ideological debates within autism theory, research and practice. These debates have had genuine impact within some areas of autism research but their influence is less evident within early intervention research. In this paper, we argue that all autism intervention stakeholders need to understand and actively engage with the views of autistic people and with neurodiversity as a concept and movement. In so doing, intervention researchers and practitioners are required to move away from a normative agenda and pay diligence to environmental goodness-of-fit, autistic developmental trajectories, internal drivers and experiences, and autistic prioritized intervention targets. Autism intervention researchers must respond to these debates by reframing effectiveness, developing tools to measure autistic prioritized outcomes, and forming partnerships with autistic people. There is a pressing need for increased reflection and articulation around how intervention practices align with a neurodiversity framework and greater emphasis within intervention programmes on natural developmental processes, coping strategies, autonomy, and well-being.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Apr 2021