Here are a range of articles, research papers, personal accounts and videos about autism.
Me and Monotropism: A unified theory of autism Monotropism provides a comprehensive explanation for autistic cognition. In a nutshell, monotropism is the tendency for our interests to pull us in more strongly than most people. It rests on a model of the mind as an ‘interest system’: we are all interested in many things, and our interests help direct our attention. Different interests are salient at different times. In a monotropic mind, fewer interests tend to be aroused at any time, and they attract more of our processing resources, making it harder to deal with things outside of our current attention tunnel.
Autistic Communication “We try to accommodate neurotypical people, but we inevitably misinterpret or miss meanings when they are implied. Autistic people have no choice but to accommodate for non-autistic communication because autistics are the minority, but when what looks like a compliment is sometimes an insult and what might be a hint is sometimes a warning… we don’t always get it right. What we can both do to better communicate is to ask lots of questions for clarification, speak clearly without subtext, and not assume that a direct statement is an insult (or even a compliment) but rather a simple statement of fact. While it might be hard work at the beginning, many allistics will find our style of communication to be refreshingly honest and interesting when they get used to it.”
Anthropological perspective on autism Much of the world’s earliest great art is likely to have been created by gifted early humans on the autism spectrum, new research by British scientists suggests. Archaeologists working in conjunction with autism experts have concluded that humans were able to produce the first realistic art some 33,000 years ago because ice age conditions drove the selection of particular combinations of genes. Harsh conditions favoured the natural selection of genes which predisposed some humans to develop abilities to focus on tasks in great detail for long periods; to perceive their environments in three-dimensional terms in an enhanced way; to develop greater image retention abilities; and to develop greater aptitudes to identify and analyse patterns of geography and movement.
How ability can grow out of seeming disability People who are diagnosed with ASD are typically characterized by their early language delays, atypical social behavior, obsessive narrow interests, and repetitive routines. But over and over again, once you take the time to really get to know people on the spectrum, you see there is much more than meets the eye.
Exploding myths about autism Presenting a Positive Perspective of Autism – Dr Luke Beardon (Video)
The Neurodiversity Reader – Chapter 19 “Zero Tolerance” of Black Autistic Boys: Are schools failing to recognise the needs of African Caribbean Boys with a diagnosis of autism? The chapter explores the wider political context that Black families are struggling within; and examines the lack of understanding within education about the needs of neurodivergent students who don’t and can’t fit into the narrow and often rigid school behavioural policy agenda.
‘Autistic while black’: How autism amplifies stereotypes There is a debate in autism research about whether race should be considered in evaluating how well therapies work. In 2016, Jason Travers and his colleagues analyzed 408 peer-reviewed, published studies of evidence-based autism treatments. Only 73 of them, or 17.9 percent, reported the race, ethnicity or nationality of participants. Of the nearly 2,500 participants in the 73 studies, fewer than one in five reported their race — and 63.5 percent of those were white.
Masking and Mental Health in Women with Autism The vast majority of women with autism have a history of “masking,” or camouflaging, their symptoms. They do this in order to make and maintain friendships, fit in at school and higher education, and pass as “normal” in a variety of social contexts, including the workplace. Camouflaging behaviours often employed by women with autism include forcing themselves to make eye contact, using memory techniques to remember suitable conversation topics, suppressing autistic tendencies, and/ or trying to engage in “normal” social behaviours.1 Autistic women aren’t alone in camouflaging, but research suggests they are more likely to camouflage than neurotypicals or autistic men.2
Autistic Masking Women and Girls Many girls hide their autism, sometimes evading diagnosis well into adulthood. These efforts can help women on the spectrum socially and professionally, but they can also do serious harm.
Alexithymia Around a half of autistic people have difficulties understanding and describing their own emotions. This is known as Alexithymia. Alexithymia can make anxiety feel worse for autistic people.Alexithymia is a term to describe problems with feeling emotions. In Greek, it loosely translates to “no words for emotion.” It is estimated that 1 in 10 people has alexithymia, but it is much more common in those with depression and in autistic people. 1 in 5 autistic people have alexithymia. People who have alexithymia may have have trouble identifying, understanding and describing emotions. They may also struggle to show or feel emotions that are seen as socially appropriate, such as happiness on a joyous occasion.
30 Black Autistic People You May Want To Know About The Art of Autism celebrates black autistic influencers.
Code for success: 25-year-old Prem Sankar builds websites. He is autistic Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at the age of five, Chennai-based Prem Sankar and his family fought a broken education system and job market before he finally turned entrepreneur.
Amrit Khurana, a young artist with autism from India this young artist with autism from India has no formal training but has acquired fame for her unique and imaginative works of art. Amrit is currently making waves for a range of sarees she has designed for Suta, the well-known sustainable saree brand.
Naoki Higashida was born in Kimitsu, Japan in 1992. Diagnosed with severe autism when he was five, he subsequently learned to communicate using a handmade alphabet grid and began to write poems and short stories. At the age of thirteen he wrote The Reason I Jump, which was published in Japan in 2007. Its English translation came out in 2013, and it has now been published in more than thirty languages.
Our thanks to Olatunde Spence who curated these resources about Autism (2023)