Autism as a Natural Human Variation: Reflections on the Claims of the Neurodiversity Movement by:  Pier Jaarsma, Stellan Welin  Health Care Analysis, Vol. 20, No. 1. (1 March 2012), pp. 20-30, doi:10.1007/s10728-011-0169-9  Key: citeulike:8851751Abstract

Neurodiversity has remained a controversial concept over the last decade. In its broadest sense the concept of neurodiversity regards atypical neurological development as a normal human difference. The neurodiversity claim contains at least two different aspects. The first aspect is that autism, among other neurological conditions, is first and foremost a natural variation. The other aspect is about conferring rights and in particular value to the neurodiversity condition, demanding recognition and acceptance. Autism can be seen as a natural variation on par with for example homosexuality. The broad version of the neurodiversity claim, covering low-functioning as well as high-functioning autism, is problematic. Only a narrow conception of neurodiversity, referring exclusively to high-functioning autists, is reasonable. We will discuss the effects of DSM categorization and the medical model for high functioning autists. After a discussion of autism as a culture we will analyze various possible strategies for the neurodiversity movement to claim extra resources for autists as members of an underprivileged culture without being labelled disabled or as having a disorder. We will discuss their vulnerable status as a group and what obligation that confers on the majority of neurotypicals.


Deficit, Difference, or Both? Autism and Neurodiversity. by:  Steven K. Kapp, Kristen Gillespie-Lynch, Lauren E. Sherman, Ted Hutman  Developmental psychology (30 April 2012), doi:10.1037/a0028353  Key: citeulike:10677509


The neurodiversity movement challenges the medical model's interest in causation and cure, celebrating autism as an inseparable aspect of identity. Using an online survey, we examined the perceived opposition between the medical model and the neurodiversity movement by assessing conceptions of autism and neurodiversity among people with different relations to autism. Participants (N = 657) included autistic people, relatives and friends of autistic people, and people with no specified relation to autism. Self-identification as autistic and neurodiversity awareness were associated with viewing autism as a positive identity that needs no cure, suggesting core differences between the medical model and the neurodiversity movement. Nevertheless, results suggested substantial overlap between these approaches to autism. Recognition of the negative aspects of autism and endorsement of parenting practices that celebrate and ameliorate but do not eliminate autism did not differ based on relation to autism or awareness of neurodiversity. These findings suggest a deficit-as-difference conception of autism wherein neurological conditions may represent equally valid pathways within human diversity. Potential areas of common ground in research and practice regarding autism are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).


Neurodiversity, neurological disability and the public sector: notes on the autism spectrum by:  Dana L. Baker Disability & Society, pp. 15-29, doi:10.1080/09687590500373734  Key: citeulike:6306623


Neurodiversity and neurological disabilities reflect rising public sector challenges. Both refer to the same set of medical conditions, but speak to different aspects of diversity affecting the public sector. Neurodiversity describes features of neurological difference associated with individual or community identity that is a more or less elective choice of those experiencing neurological difference. Neurological disability refers to impairment of socially determined major life functions caused by observable, diagnosable difference in an individual's brain. Both neurodiversity and neurological disability produce challenges and opportunities for public programs and societies. This article employs findings from a survey of families with children with autism to examine administrative implications of neurodiversity and neurological disability. The findings suggest that in managing new (and rising) kinds of diversity, public administrators must navigate sharpening divides between interests related to inclusion and those related to identity.


Defining autism in Canada: Unfolding the public aspects of neurological disability by:  D. Baker  The Social Science Journal, Vol. 44, No. 4. (2007), pp. 687-697, doi:10.1016/j.soscij.2007.10.010  Key: citeulike:6207944


Modern disability policy seeks a balance between individual and social responsibility for disability. Striking this balance involves redefining issues related to disability. This article presents an analysis of the issue definition process on autism in Canada. The findings suggest although autism became an increasingly present issue in public discourse in Canada during the last 20 years, no specific aspect of the autism experience became defined as an urgent public problem. Furthermore, public discourse surrounding autism focuses on health care, challenging ongoing development of rights-based disability policy.