The fact that it’s still widely regarded as acceptable for courses on autism to be mostly taught by non-autistic people is an indicator of just how deeply the pathology paradigm pervades the mindset of our society.
There are enough out-of-the-closet autistics in academia these days that any college should be able to find one to teach a course on autism.
And given how heavily most hiring processes discriminate against autistics, the autistic academics could certainly use the work. The Instructor Must Be a Participant in Autistic Culture, Community, and Resistance When academic institutions do invite an autistic person to have any sort of significant voice in their curriculum on autism, the autistic person in question is nearly always chosen from a short list of well-known autistics whom I have come to think of as the The tame autistics all have certain traits in common: they are white; they are heterosexual, asexual, and/or fairly closeted about their sexuality; they grew up fairly affluent and have never faced extreme poverty or homelessness; they are highly capable of oral speech; they are ableist, and have no problem with pathologizing non-speaking autistics or other autistics who are significantly more disabled than themselves; they regard disability as shameful and tend to avoid describing themselves as disabled; they rarely contradict non-autistic “autism experts” or ableist autism organizations run by non-autistic people; they have few (if any) close autistic friends and have never been deeply involved in the radical activist autistic culture and communities from which the Neurodiversity Movement emerged; they have appropriated the term “neurodiversity” now that it’s becoming a well-known buzzword, but their thinking remains rooted in the pathology paradigm.
” I eventually developed a list of seven such guiding principles, which have served me quite well and which are here enumerated in the hope that they will be useful to others in creating similar courses. To Hell with “Balance” A good course on autism (or, for that matter, a good piece of writing on autism, or good education or journalism on autism in any medium) should not attempt to strike any sort of “balance” between the neurodiversity paradigm and the pathology paradigm.
The pathology paradigm is simply an outgrowth of cultural ableism and bigotry.
It is also important to think of resilience in a developmental context and to consider the views of parents and individuals with ASD in defining a good outcome.
course for the undergraduate Interdisciplinary Studies program at California Institute of Integral Studies, I asked myself the question, “What are the most essential and indispensible guiding principles any course on autism must follow, in order to ensure that the course truly remains grounded in the neurodiversity paradigm and avoids inadvertently reinforcing the attitudes of the pathology paradigm on any level?
The fact that at this point in history nearly mainstream academic and professional writing on autism is based in the pathology paradigm doesn’t make it any less wrong.
There was a time that nearly all mainstream academic and professional writing on race was racist, and that didn’t make racism valid or right.
It’s good for students to understand the rationale behind an unorthodox reading list; it’s also good for students to understand how the gatekeeping systems of conventional academic literature resist incursions by marginalized voices that pose radical challenges to dominant paradigms – and how such challenges, as a result, tend to emerge outside the borders of mainstream academia and only gradually fight their way inward. The Instructor Must Model the Accommodation of Neurodivergence Most academic settings reflect the ableist and neuronormative values of the dominant culture.
Students are expected to conform to the dominant neuronormative conventions of learning and participation, and students whose learning and access needs conflict with those conventions are heavily discriminated against in most educational institutions.
The goal of this chapter is to discuss the concept of “resilience” against the background of the remarkable heterogeneity seen in the natural history of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).