How should autism research change?

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Full paper:…/10.1177/1745691620958010

nothing about us without us

Who: Davies & Crompton
Journal: Perspectives on Psychological Science
Published: 2021
Title: What do new findings about social interaction in autistic adults mean for neurodevelopmental research?

how should autism research change?

Previously, researchers thought that autistic people had a core deficit in their ability to communicate & engage in social interaction

Now, it is more understood that there are communication difficulties between autistic and non-autistic people, and that this is a two-way problem!


so what should change?
several things!

Instead of looking at autistic development as a deviation from typical development, it should be considered a valid development trajectory in its own right.

Because autistic people are not deviant neurotypical people. We are autistic people.

So we need to consider autism-specific factors on social development! Such as parental knowledge of autism, education experience, and autistic peer-support systems. These things might change how an autistic person develops socially.


Also, we need to make a “measure” (like a test) of autistic social and communication skills.
At the moment, we use ones based on non-autistic people, so these might show that autistic people are very bad at social communication because they are very different that non-autistic people!

But different is not the same as bad or wrong.

So we need something that can measure autistic social and communication skills! Because we might be very good at it, but we do it in autistic ways.


Also, we should probably stop using measures which are based on non-autistic people to measure autistic skills, because we do lots of things differently!

These should be co-produced with autistic people so that they measure the right things, and don’t measure what a non-autistic person thinks is the right thing.

These things are essential for bridging the communication gap.

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