Education about Autistic culture, the ND paradigm, and the ND movement – for medical professionals, by Autistic people

Join Autistic people from all over the world, committed to the de-stigmatisation of Autistic ways of being and other forms of neurodivergence, in support of the development and delivery of education about Autistic culture, the neurodiversity paradigm, and the neurodiversity movement – for medical professionals, by Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent people. Fill in the form below to sign.

The Autistic Collaboration Trust centres the lived experience of Autistic people in the education of healthcare professionals about Autistic ways of being and Autistic culture. All our educational work in the healthcare sector adheres to the Design Justice Network Principles and is envisioned to catalyse the adaptation of healthcare services to the specific needs of Autistic people and corresponding improvements in health outcomes.

If you are Autistic or otherwise neurodivergent, you can add your name to underscore the urgency for Autistic led education based on lived experience. If you are a healthcare professional, you can add your name to demonstrate your commitment to removing the social stigma frequently encountered by Autistic or otherwise neurodivergent colleagues and patients.

Sign

The level of ignorance, stigma, and open hostility that Autistic patients and Autistic healthcare professionals regularly have to deal with is traumatising. There is a need for healthcare sector wide education in the neurodiversity paradigm, the neurodiversity movement, and Autistic culture. Education on these topics is essential for addressing entrenched problems of lack of cultural and psychological safety in the workplace. There are also corresponding problems of lack of safety for patients, their whānau / families and communities.

Education about the neurodiversity paradigm is not the same as education about neurodiversity. It answers an important question:

  • How does the mindset and language of the new paradigm differ from the language in the old paradigm?

Education about the neurodiversity movement builds on the neurodiversity paradigm. It answers three important questions:

  • Why is there an urgent need for a paradigm shift?
  • Who is involved in the shift?
  • Who must learn from the neurodiversity movement?

Education about Autistic culture builds on the results of the neurodiversity movement. It answers three important questions:

  • What is Autistic culture?
  • How does it relate to other cultures?
  • How does it relate to the neurodiversity movement?

I care deeply about the healthcare outcomes of patients and about the cultural and psychological safety of all patients and all healthcare professionals within clinical environments. I recognise an urgent need for education about the cultural contexts, sensory profiles, diverse needs, and the social stigma frequently encountered by Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent people.

In particular, healthcare professionals must be introduced to the non-pathologising and non-stigmatising language that has become the expected default within Autistic culture and within the broader neurodiversity civil movement that emerged out of the Autistic rights movement. The required education is very different from education framed in the culturally outdated language of the pathology paradigm, which still presents and rates the humanity of neurodivergent people in terms of deficits relative to the current neuronormative culture.

I support the work of the Autistic Collaboration Trust to facilitate education in the neurodiversity paradigm, the neurodiversity movement, and Autistic culture based on lived experience.

Scope of required education

The neurodiversity paradigm

Education about the neurodiversity paradigm and intersectionality is not the same as education about neurodiversity. It answers an important question:

How does the mindset and language of the new paradigm differ from the language in the old paradigm?

Topics:

  1. Motivation
  2. Terminology
  3. The social model of disability
  4. Dimensions of divergence from neuronormativity
  5. Intersectionality
  6. Autistic ways of being and the LGBTQIA+ kaleidoscope
  7. Autistic ways of being and ADHD ways of being
  8. The communal definition of Autistic ways of being / Takiwātanga
  9. Anthropological background
  10. Exposing the cultural bias of normality
  11. The role of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  12. Transdisciplinary understanding of human learning and wellbeing
  13. The connection between neurodiversity and creativity
  14. Ableism and lived experience
  15. Frequently asked questions

The neurodiversity movement

Education about the neurodiversity movement builds on the neurodiversity paradigm. It answers three important questions:

  • Why is there an urgent need for a paradigm shift?
  • Who is involved in the shift?
  • Who must learn from the neurodiversity movement?

Topics:

  1. Historic background
  2. Cultural bias against creativity, critical thinking and transdisciplinary collaboration
  3. What is happening in the neurodiversity movement right now
  4. Behaviourism in parenting, education, workplaces, economics, and the sciences
  5. Disability in a sick society
  6. Cultural safety and the human rights perspective
  7. Psychological safety
  8. What therapies and medical practices do Autistic adults consider unsafe / safe / useful?
  9. Autistic communities
  10. Towards comprehensive bans of conversion therapies
  11. Overcoming cultural inertia in a time of exponential change
  12. Design BY and WITH neurodivergent people
  13. Advice process
  14. Introduction to Open Space as a transformational tool
  15. Guidance for making good use of Open Space
  16. Critical thinking tools for creative experimentation

Autistic culture and lived experience

Education about Autistic culture builds on the results of the neurodiversity movement. It answers three important questions:

  • What is Autistic culture?
  • How does it relate to other cultures?
  • How does it relate to the neurodiversity movement?

Topics:

  1. Discovering Autistic way of being
  2. Autistic language
  3. Learning without imitation
  4. Autistic collaboration
  5. Competency networks
  6. Minimising misunderstandings
  7. Exposing social injustice
  8. Raising healthy children
  9. Creating thriving communities
  10. Towards mutual understanding and a better world
  11. Difference drives humanity forward
  12. Autistic clinicians, nurses, social workers, lawyers, accountants, scientists of all stripes, mathematicians, artists, musicians, engineers, and entrepreneurs
  13. Deep innovation
  14. Evolutionary design

For paediatricians

  1. What do paediatricians need to know about Autistic culture?
  2. What do Autistic people want paediatricians to know?
  3. What books could a paediatrician or parent read if they wanted to learn more?
  4. Other useful resources for paediatricians and parents

Autistic trauma

Education about the many ways in which Autistic people are traumatised throughout their life by the social norms and “normal” living conditions in modern industrialised societies. It answers three important questions:

  • Why are Autistic people severely affected by traumatising conditions and events?
  • How to distinguish between Autistic traits and trauma coping mechanisms?
  • How to best support highly traumatised Autistic people?

Topics:

  1. Sensory overload
  2. Physical symptoms of dis-ease
  3. Mental symptoms of dis-ease
  4. Traumatising diagnostic experiences
  5. Industrialisation and W.E.I.R.D. social norms
  6. Trauma caused by coercive techniques
  7. Trauma caused by social power gradients
  8. Trauma caused by group identities
  9. Avoiding and healing from hypernormalisation
  10. Avoiding and healing from reductionism
  11. Avoiding and healing from behaviourism
  12. Avoiding and healing from bullying
  13. Avoiding and healing from othering

Signatories

Last update: 22 July 2022

Healthcare professionals

  1. Dr. A. Ann Emery, Allied health professional, Psychologist, Canada
  2. Dr. Alan Beach, PhD, LCSW, LMFT, Allied health professional, Clinical Social Work & Family Counseling/Psychotherapy, United States
  3. Aly Dearborn, LMFT, Allied health professional, Psychotherapist, United States, Autistic
  4. Amanda Curran, Allied health professional, Australia
  5. Amanda Hart, Nursing professional, S a c t nursing sister, United Kingdom, Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent
  6. Amber Lane, Allied health professional, United Kingdom, Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent
  7. Ana Karemy López Cortes, Licenciatura, Healthcare administrator, psicologa, México, Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent
  8. Andrea Afonso, Physician, Portugal
  9. Andrea Beres, Allied health professional, Psychologist, Australia
  10. Annette Collins, Allied health professional, Australia
  11. Ariel Lenning, Physician, Optometric physician, Optometry, United States, Autistic
  12. Dr. Ashley Dubin, PhD, Allied health professional, Psychology, United States, Otherwise neurodivergent
  13. Brannen Clark, Allied health professional, United States, Autistic
  14. Becki Woolf, Allied health professional, United States
  15. Brian Hess, Allied health professional, United States
  16. Brian Moran, Nursing professional, United States
  17. Carol Beatty, Allied health professional, Counsellor, Couples’ Therapist, United Kingdom
  18. Casey Wilson, Allied health professional, United States
  19. Cecilia Barbosa, Allied health professional, United States
  20. Chanlynn Liao, Allied health professional, Speech-language Therapist, United States
  21. Chelsea Mongan, Nursing professional, Nurse Practitioner, United States, Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent
  22. Doraine Raichart, Allied health professional, United States, acupuncturist and Eastern medicine practitioner
  23. Elizabeth Williams, Allied health professional, United States, Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent
  24. Emma Ward, Allied health professional, United Kingdom
  25. Fernando Rodríguez, Allied health professional, España
  26. Heather King, Allied health professional, Speech-Language Pathologist, Australia, Autistic
  27. Holly Sprake-Hill, Allied health professional, United Kingdom, Otherwise neurodivergent
  28. Ian Reid, Nursing professional, United Kingdom
  29. Ioannis Voskopoulos, Allied health professional, Greece, Otherwise neurodivergent
  30. Iuliana Sava, Allied health professional, Psychologist, United Kingdom, Autistic
  31. Jess Hodges, Allied health professional, Psychotherapist, Australia, Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent
  32. Jessica Kitchens, Allied health professional, Mental Health, AA Therapist and Advocate, United States, Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent
  33. Jessica Newland, Allied health professional, United States, Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent
  34. Jonathan VanLandingham, Nursing professional, Registered Nurse, United States, Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent
  35. John Finnegan, Allied health professional, United States
  36. Julie McCarthy, Allied health professional, Australia, Otherwise neurodivergent
  37. Kali Rees, Allied health professional, United Kingdom
  38. Karen Scorer, Allied health professional, United Kingdom
  39. Katrina Fiebig, Allied health professional, Patient/Family Advocate, Psychiatry, Nursing professional, United States
  40. Kristen Ipson, Allied health professional, Speech-Language Pathologist, United States, Otherwise neurodivergent
  41. Lauren Lopez, Nursing professional, LPN, RN, Public Health, United States, Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent
  42. Luke Shobbrook, Allied health professional, Counselling Psychologist, Psychology, Jersey
  43. Maija Mills, Allied health professional, Physiotherapy, Canada, Autistic
  44. Marie Manalili, Allied health professional, Speech/Language Pathologist, Philippines, Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent
  45. Marta Louise, Allied health professional, Canada, Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent
  46. Dr. Megan Anna Neff, Allied health professional, Psychology Resident, United States, Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent
  47. Meredith Thompson, Allied health professional, Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, Social work, United States, Otherwise neurodivergent
  48. Miah Pavlik, Nursing professional, United States, Autistic
  49. Miranda, Nursing professional, Canada, Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent
  50. Monica Boyd, Healthcare administrator, Education, Canada
  51. Nicola M, Allied health professional, United Kingdom, Otherwise neurodivergent
  52. Nicole Lui, Allied health professional, Certified Functional Nutritionist (FNLP, CFNC), Medical Cannabis Consultant (AAFP-EC), Clinical Herbalist (TCM & Western Herbology, working towards board certified), and Spiritual Teacher, Canada & Hong Kong, Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent
  53. Dr. Patricia Burkhart, Physician, Radiologist, United States, Autistic
  54. Paula Gómez, Allied health professional, Australia, Otherwise neurodivergent
  55. Raphael de Miranda Luz Trindade, Physician, Portugal, Autistic
  56. Sandy Rayman, Allied health professional, Therapist, United States
  57. Sara Schultz, OD, Physician, optometrist, United States
  58. Stephanie Warm, Allied health professional, psychotherapist (LCSW), United States
  59. Svanhildur Svanvarsdottir Kristjansson, Allied health professional, Autism consultant, Speech Language Pathologist – TEACCH advanced certified consultant, United States, Otherwise neurodivergent
  60. Tara O’Donnell-Killen, Allied health professional, Ireland, Autistic
  61. Dr. Terry Hannan, A/Professor, Physician, General Internal Medicine and eHealth, Australia
  62. Tonya Makar, Allied health professional, United States, Otherwise neurodivergent
  63. Tracey Nelson, Allied health professional, Australia
  64. Vanessa MacKay/ OT, Allied health professional, United States, Otherwise neurodivergent
  65. Dr. Zoe Raos, Gastroenterology, Physician, Aotearoa New Zealand

Patients

  1. Alden Blevins, United States, Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent
  2. Alix Latta, United States, Autistic
  3. Ama Love, United Kingdom, Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent
  4. Amanda Sutton, United Kingdom
  5. Bailey Wagner, Canada, Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent
  6. Brina Simon, United States, Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent
  7. Candace Jordan, United States, Otherwise neurodivergent
  8. Caroline Kimrey, United States, Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent
  9. Catherine Andrews, United States, Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent
  10. Dan McFarland, United States, Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent
  11. Daniel Aird, Senior Research Associate (Biotech / cancer field; but am very well versed in science), United States, Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent
  12. Heather Johnson, Writer, United States, Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent
  13. Heather Steeves, United States, Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent
  14. Herman Langkamp, Nederland, Autistic
  15. Jacki Edry, Author, educator, advocating for neurodiversity and inclusion, parent of neurodivergent children, Israel, Otherwise neurodivergent
  16. Jax Bayne, United States, Autistic
  17. JC John Sese Cuneta, Philippines, Autistic
  18. Jessica Nabb, Australia, Autistic
  19. Kae Peterman, United States, Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent
  20. Karen Sydow, Australia, Otherwise neurodivergent
  21. Khaenin Rutherford, United States, Otherwise neurodivergent
  22. Linda Guevara, Mexico, Otherwise neurodivergent
  23. Lisa W, United States, Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent
  24. Lucy Reid, United Kingdom, Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent
  25. Liz Pine, United States, Autistic
  26. Martin Bryan-Tell, United States, Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent
  27. Matthew R, United States, Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent
  28. Meg Bradshaw, Canada, Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent
  29. Natasha Trotman, United Kingdom
  30. Rachel Millar, Australia, Otherwise neurodivergent
  31. Rachel Morton, United States, Autistic
  32. Renata Moreno, Chile, Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent
  33. Rome Icasiano, United States, Autistic
  34. Ryan Boren, United States, Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent
  35. Stephen Dooley, United Kingdom, Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent
  36. Suzanne Galloway, Australia, Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent
  37. Sydney Warner, United States
  38. T. Purk, ASD Researcher and Educator, United States, Otherwise neurodivergent
  39. Traci Collins, United States, Autistic
  40. Victoria Busuttil, United Kingdom, Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent
  41. Wendy Garfield, United States, Otherwise neurodivergent
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4 Responses

  1. I think, with good reason, that I am neurodiverse, though I am just now at age 70 arriving at this realization, and I am exploring this field. I feel quite confident that this explains a lot of the difference that others see in me and that I have felt peculiar in.

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