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Friday, May 12, 2017

"Ask an Autistic Person"

In The Politics of Autism, I write:
Arguing that autistic people themselves are the main stakeholders, groups such as ASAN have called for increasing this representation.[on IACC] They also argue that too much autism research spending goes to the “disease frame” and that no enough goes into improvement of services and the quality of life. In 2010, for instance, only 16 percent went to services and only 2 percent went to “lifespan issues” (e.g., the needs of adults on the spectrum).
John Elder Robison writes at STAT:
There’s a widespread view that autistic people need to “get scientists to listen to us,” and that “scientists need to stop ignoring autistic people.” That hasn’t been my experience at all. I first got involved with autism science when researchers from Harvard and the University of Washington tracked me down following the release of my first book and asked for my perspective on proposed work. Since then, autism scientists have welcomed me into their groups, answered my questions, sought my advice and paid attention to it.

Ten years ago, the director of the National Institutes of Mental Health invited me to serve our government in a similar capacity. With his support, and the encouragement of others in government, I have been proud to do that. Since then, I’ve been joined in this work by other autistic people. We’ve discussed hundreds of proposed research studies, and it has been gratifying to see some of them funded, with our ideas and suggestions integrated into research.
A larger movement now aims to recruit more so-called autistic advisers, and to encourage every researcher to seek input from autistic people when structuring studies. “Ask an autistic person,” has become a common refrain in the autism science community.