JAMA Pediatrics editorial about a crossroads in treatment of autism
Can behavioral interventions and neurodiversity perspectives co-exist?
In JAMA Pediatrics, Dawson and colleagues (2022) published an opinion piece in which they present ideas about conflicts between advocacy for early behavioral interventions and for accepting neurodiversity. Interesting read; here’re the first few lines:
The neurodiversity perspective posits that each person has a unique brain and a unique combination of traits and abilities and asserts that many challenges faced by autistic individuals stem from a lack of fit between the characteristics of autistic people and society’s expectations and biases. The neurodiversity movement is akin to a civil rights movement. Among its goals are reducing stigma, increasing accessibility, and ensuring that autistic individuals’ voices are represented in decisions about autism research, policy, and clinical practice. The neurodiversity movement is having a growing influence on the scientific community, as evidenced in the recent pause in a large autism genetic study based on concerns raised by the autism community.1 It is also affecting autism practitioners as, increasingly, parents are expressing reservations about enrolling their child in early intervention programs, citing concerns that such programs do not value neurodiversity and, instead, prioritize changing their child’s behavior to fit neurotypical norms.
Dawson, G., Franz, L., & Brandsen, S. (2002). At a crossroads: Reconsidering the goals of autism early behavioral intervention from a neurodiversity perspective. JAMA Pediatrics, 176(9), 839–840. http://doi.org/10.1001/jamapediatrics.2022.2299
Special Education Today is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.