Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Child Development, Disorders of Childhood, Disorders of Childhood, Legal Ethical Issues, mental illness.

Description: When you think of disorders such as Autism or Asperger’s syndrome which of the following words comes was quickly to mind? Would be inferior? Or perhaps disordered? Or how about simply different? This radio interview with Steve Silverman author of the book noted below might cause you to rethink your initial reaction to the above question.

Source: Rethinking Autism through the Prism of Neurodiversity, The Current, CBC Radio December 8, 2015.

Date: December 8, 2015


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So how did you respond to the above question? While we might wonder about the prospect of a “cure” for disorders such as depression and schizophrenia does it make sense to speak the same way about disorders along the Autism/Asperger’s spectrum of disorders? Steve Silverman, the author of a book entitled Nero Tribes: the legacy of autism in the future of Neurodiversity, suggests that we need to challenge your thinking in relation to this spectrum of disorders. The concept of Neurodiversity suggest that we need to consider whether some ways of being that are currently described within diagnostic manuals like the DSM might better be understood simply as alternative human ways of thinking and being. Listen to the interview and see what sort of thoughts come to mind for you in relation to this interesting question. Silverman’s history of psychology and psychiatry’s approach to autism and related disorders as detailed in absolutely fascinating and most certainly worth a read if you have any interest in this area at all.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What does Steve Silverman suggest needs to change in relation to how we think about disorders along the autism spectrum of disorder?
  2. What other areas of human experience or human ways of being might be approached more effectively through thinking in terms of Neurodiversity?
  3. What sort of social conventions and practices might we consider revising if we are to take this approach to thinking about autism spectrum disorders seriously?

References (Read Further):

Silberman, S. (2015). NeuroTribes: The legacy of autism and how to think smarter about people who think differently. Allen & Unwin.

Silverman, C. (2015). NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity by Steve Silberman (review). Anthropological Quarterly, 88(4), 1111-1121.