Nothing about us without us.
The autism community has made it clear that research must be participatory and co-designed by them. Sir Simon Baron-Cohen examines how this stance has changed the course and focus of autism research. In addition, he examines the current tension between neurodiversity and disability and how to better protect the human rights of autistic people. He encourages the scientific community to embrace these challenges as opportunities to explore and expand what we can know.
Becca Lory Hector joins the conversation to provide perspective from an autistic adult. She addresses the “nothing about us without us” axiom from a personal point of view and with an eye to how research should focus on bettering the lives of those on the spectrum. The discussion also looks at the rate of suicide and depression affecting the community and how mental health should be supported.
Michelle McGowan shares the perspective of parents with autistic children and asks important questions about how science can support children as they grow into adulthood. She also explores how parents, educators, and education systems can better understand and communicate with non-neurotypical children.
This important conversation was the keynote presentation at the Autism Tree Project Foundation Annual Neuroscience Conference.