The meaning of the double empathy problem
Autistic Scholar Blog
by Patrick Dwyer
3w ago
Well, it’s been a while… I must confess that I haven’t written a single blog post in a few years – and haven’t posted any in a couple of years.  I got busy and distracted, and I guess the idea of writing blog posts turned gradually into a chore instead of what it was supposed to be – a nice way for me to share thoughts1 without going through the rigmarole of peer review, or trying to distill complex ideas into a particular format or length for publication. However, I’ll try to write the occasional post moving forwards when inspiration strikes. Today, I’m writing about the meaning of the d ..read more
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ABA Reform: Distinguishing Meaningful Change and “Neurodiversity Lite”
Autistic Scholar Blog
by Patrick Dwyer
1y ago
I’ve been doing some more thinking on that most controversial of controversial autism questions: ABA. Right now, most neurodiversity advocates don’t trust the idea that any sort of ABA intervention could be a good thing, and why should they?  Far too many ABA interventionists have been pointing to a few modest changes to their programs – like removing aversives1, or adding some cosmetic “neurodiversity lite” jargon – and claiming that this makes their programs adequate and ethical.  But that’s not enough. While I admit that the behaviour intervention field has made some progress over ..read more
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Sensory Sensitivities and “Picky Eating”
Autistic Scholar Blog
by Patrick Dwyer
1y ago
I’m a so-called “picky eater,” like many autistic people. Nowadays, as an adult, this is no problem.  I have a system that works for me.  I buy foods I like, prepare them, and eat them.  I do try to cover a variety of food groups and so on, but I am not going to agonize over not being able to stomach some particular food or another – I’ll just avoid it.1 This is a bit different from the situation early in my childhood.  Today, I have control over what I eat.  Back then, I did not. When I didn’t have that control – when I had others around me insisting that I should eat ..read more
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Post-COVID Transition Anxiety and Autistic Burnout
Autistic Scholar Blog
by Patrick Dwyer
1y ago
For more than a year now, we’ve been dealing with the challenges of the global COVID-19 pandemic.  This has had a devastating impact, both in general and in particular on many disabled people. Most obviously, COVID-19 has killed millions of people worldwide, and neurodivergent communities have been disproportionately impacted.  The death toll among people with intellectual disabilities in residential group homes and institutional settings has been catastrophically high.  Unfortunately, discrimination against neurodivergent people – again, particularly people with intellectual di ..read more
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Revisiting monotropism
Autistic Scholar Blog
by Patrick Dwyer
1y ago
The monotropism account of autism – which was introduced by Dinah Murray, Mike Lesser, and Wenn Lawson in 2005 – is, within the autistic adult community, probably the dominant theoretical approach towards understanding what autism is.  Many autistic people – myself included – find monotropism to be quite a bit more consistent with our personal experiences than other theories of autism.  I suspect this might have something to do with the fact that the monotropism account was developed by autistic people, and the other theories were developed by neurotypicals… In any case, the monotrop ..read more
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Behaviour Intervention: Some Key Terms
Autistic Scholar Blog
by Patrick Dwyer
1y ago
Hopefully the fact this post has “behaviour intervention” in the title should act as a content warning to anyone who might find a discussion about ABA triggering, but just to be sure, here’s one now. – – Not long ago, I was complaining about the way advocates and researchers/professionals often talk past one another in the field of ABA.  I grumbled that terms like “ABA” were constantly being understood in different ways, so that even if these groups could get together and have a conversation – no easy thing in itself, given the siloed nature of these communities – it wouldn’t be clear tha ..read more
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Advocates, Researchers, and Reconciliation
Autistic Scholar Blog
by Patrick Dwyer
1y ago
I’m not writing this post because I particularly want to apportion blame to either researchers or neurodiversity advocates, or to fight over old grievances, as an end in itself.  Mostly, I hope we can move forwards into a future where researchers and autistic advocates see one another as collaborators, as allies who are both fundamentally interested in the same goals – in particular, enhancing quality of life for autistic people across all the whole breadth of the multidimensionally diverse autism constellation. I would like there to there to be reconciliation or rapprochement between the ..read more
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ABA Reform: Distinguishing Meaningful Change and “Neurodiversity Lite”
Autistic Scholar Blog
by Patrick Dwyer
2y ago
I’ve been doing some more thinking on that most controversial of controversial autism questions: ABA. Right now, most neurodiversity advocates don’t trust the idea that any sort of ABA intervention could be a good thing, and why should they?  Far too many ABA interventionists have been pointing to a few modest changes to their programs – like removing aversives1, or adding some cosmetic “neurodiversity lite” jargon – and claiming that this makes their programs adequate and ethical.  But that’s not enough. While I admit that the behaviour intervention field has made some progress over ..read more
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Building Self-Determination in Childhood
Autistic Scholar Blog
by Patrick Dwyer
2y ago
I’ve previously written about the importance of giving neurodivergent people more self-determination in childhood.  Indeed, I think all children, including the neurotypicals, could probably benefit from increased self-determination and autonomy.  Isn’t it rather strange that entering adulthood in our society, legally speaking, gives one full rights to autonomy overnight where previously one’s autonomy was legally minimal?  An abrupt transition, for sure!  Why not give people more practice exercising autonomy in childhood? It certainly seems like giving more opportunities fo ..read more
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Sensory Sensitivities and “Picky Eating”
Autistic Scholar Blog
by Patrick Dwyer
2y ago
I’m a so-called “picky eater,” like many autistic people. Nowadays, as an adult, this is no problem.  I have a system that works for me.  I buy foods I like, prepare them, and eat them.  I do try to cover a variety of food groups and so on, but I am not going to agonize over not being able to stomach some particular food or another – I’ll just avoid it.1 This is a bit different from the situation early in my childhood.  Today, I have control over what I eat.  Back then, I did not. When I didn’t have that control – when I had others around me insisting that I should eat ..read more
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