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Over the past decade, the way in which we conceptualize autism has changed dramatically. There has been a shift within much psychological research away from deficit based models as a method for understanding ‘impairment’ in autistic people, towards acknowledgement of autism as a form of neurodiversity ...

Over the past decade, the way in which we conceptualize autism has changed dramatically. There has been a shift within much psychological research away from deficit based models as a method for understanding ‘impairment’ in autistic people, towards acknowledgement of autism as a form of neurodiversity characterized by differential strengths and challenges in comparison to the neurotypical population. This change in knowledge has also led to a change in approach; surveys examining how the autistic community (including both autistic people and their families) feel about research has revealed a large discrepancy between the kind of research that was being done and the kind of research that the autistic community would like to see. Stakeholders expressed a desire to see research which examines issues with practical implications for improving the lives of autistic people, and gradually research in these areas is increasing.

Many of the issues that are important to autistic people are similar to the issues that matter to most people; including things like better healthcare and education, healthy relationships, and what happens when we get older. There is also a growing focus on understanding autistic experiences in these areas. We are now seeing more research led by autistic researchers, with some of the research teams led by non-Autistic people moving towards participatory research and co-design.

In addition, we’ve seen the development of research into issues that are more specific to autistic people, including: increased knowledge of how autistic people can present in different ways and how this might contribute towards being missed and mis-diagnosed; understanding co-occurring conditions; understanding the causes of co-occurring mental health conditions and the best therapies for autistic people; how to improve sleep; how to support autistic learners in the classroom; recognizing autistic burnout; and the need for Autistic people to be valued, respected and presumed to be competent.

We invite submissions which span a range of themes including (but not limited to): mental and physical health and wellbeing, education, sex and gender, relationships, and ageing. We particularly welcome research produced by, or with, autistic people. As we are focussed on research which enhances our understanding the autistic community, we ask authors to be mindful of their language and to avoid ableist and deficit focussed descriptions. We recommend that authors read Avoiding Ableist Language: Suggestions for Autism Researchers
Kristen Bottema-Beutel, Steven K. Kapp, Jessica Nina Lester, Noah J. Sasson, and Brittany N. Hand (2020)
Autism in Adulthood 0 0:0
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Keywords: Autism, Neurodiversity, Mental Health, Sex, Gender, Healthcare, Ageing, Education


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