The reasons behind the increase in autism diagnoses have become hotly contested in the media as well as within the medical, scholarly, and autistic communities. Jordynn Jack suggests the proliferating number of discussions point to autism as a rhetorical phenomenon that engenders attempts to persuade through arguments, appeals to emotions, and representational strategies. In Autism and Gender: From Refrigerator Mothers to Computer Geeks, Jack focuses on the ways gender influences popular discussion and understanding of autism's causes and effects. She identifies gendered theories like the "refrigerator mother" theory, for example, which blames emotionally distant mothers for autism, and the "extreme male brain" theory, which links autism to the modes of systematic thinking found in male computer geeks. Jack's analysis reveals how people employ such highly gendered theories to craft rhetorical narratives around stock characters--fix-it dads, heroic mother warriors rescuing children from autism--that advocate for ends beyond the story itself while also allowing the storyteller to gain authority, understand the disorder, and take part in debates. Autism and Gender reveals the ways we build narratives around controversial topics while offering new insights into the ways rhetorical inquiry can and does contribute to conversations about gender and disability.
Olga Bogdashina argues persuasively that, contrary to popular belief, spirituality plays a vital role in the lives of many people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Drawing on interdisciplinary research from fields as diverse as psychology, philosophy, anthropology, linguistics, neuroscience and religion, as well as first-hand experiences of people on the spectrum, she shows how people with ASD experience their inner worlds and sense of self, and how this shapes the spiritual dimension of their lives and vice versa. She presents a coherent framework for understanding the routes of spiritual development and 'spiritual giftedness' within this group, offering insights that will inform understanding of how to support and nurture spiritual wellbeing in people with ASDs. This book gives a voice to both verbal and non-verbal individuals on the autism spectrum whose spiritual experiences, though often unconventional, are meaningful and profound. It is essential reading for all those interested in the spiritual wellbeing of this group, including pastoral carers and counsellors, ministers of religion, spiritual leaders, parents and carers and individuals on the autism spectrum.
Neurodiversity in the workplace can be a gift. Yet only 15% of adults with an autism spectrum condition (ASC) are in full-time employment. This book examines how the working environment can embrace autistic people in a positive way. The author highlights common challenges in the workplace for people with ASC, such as discrimination and lack of communication or the right kind of support from managers and colleagues, and provides strategies for changing them. Setting out practical, reasonable adjustments such as a quiet room or avoiding disruption to work schedules, this book demonstrates how day to day changes in the workplace can make it more inclusive and productive for all employees. Autism in the Workplace is intended for any person with an interest in changing working culture to ensure equality for autistic people. It is an essential resource for employers, managers, trade unionists, people with ASCs and their workmates and supporters.
Offering a summary of the current state of knowledge in autism research, Defining Autism looks at the different genetic, neurological and environmental causes of, and contributory factors to autism. It takes a wide-ranging view of developmental and genetic factors, and considers autism's relationship with other conditions such as epilepsy. Shedding light on the vast number of autism-related syndromes which are all too often denied adequate attention, it shows how, whilst autism refers to a single syndrome, it can be understood as many different conditions, with the common factors being biological, rather than behavioral.
In Tracing Autism, Des Fitzgerald offers an up-close account of the search for a neurological explanation of autism. As autism has gained cultural prominence with more diagnoses and more controversy, its biological causes remain elusive. Through in-depth interviews with neuroscientists, psychologists, and psychiatrists, Fitzgerald examines what it means to do scientific research in the ambiguous terrain of autism research, a field marked by shifting horizons of uncertainty and ambivalence. He draws out how autism scientists talk and feel their way through their research, demonstrating its profoundly affective character, and expanding our understanding of what is at stake in the new brain sciences.
Anxiety, meltdowns and emotional regulation can be hugely challenging for autistic people. This book is full of proactive strategies for understanding, accepting and respecting the processing differences in autism. It contains tools for reducing sensory, social and mental drain, and offers strategies to protect from ongoing stress and anxiety. These help minimize shutdowns and burnout, while maximizing self-esteem, autistic identity and mental health. Learn strategies for matching environmental demands to the person's processing needs, how to support vulnerabilities, and how to prevent and manage meltdowns while protecting the identify and self-esteem of the individual with autism.
In this rich and diverse collection, 28 writers describe what positive experiences they have had as an autistic person, and show how the most unexpected subject areas can be a source of the positive. They demonstrate that individuals can, and do, experience life in positive ways, sometimes in the face of adversity. Sharing both dark and joyful moments with unreserved honesty, their insights are moving, often hilarious, creative, and highly intelligent, and usually surprising. From hair-raising travelling experiences to parenting with verve, volunteering to teaching, running a marathon to taking on a PhD, they show that autism need not limit life. Introduced by Luke Beardon and Dean Worton, their stories challenge stereotypes surrounding autism, empower, and entertain.
A disorder that is only just beginning to find a place in disability studies and activism, autism remains in large part a mystery, giving rise to both fear and fascination. Sonya Freeman Loftis's groundbreaking study examines literary representations of autism or autistic behavior to discover what impact they have had on cultural stereotypes, autistic culture, and the identity politics of autism. Imagining Autism looks at fictional characters (and an author or two) widely understood as autistic, ranging from Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes and Harper Lee's Boo Radley to Mark Haddon's boy detective Christopher Boone and Steig Larsson's Lisbeth Salander. The silent figure trapped inside himself, the savant made famous by his other-worldly intellect, the brilliant detective linked to the criminal mastermind by their common neurology--these characters become protean symbols, stand-ins for the chaotic forces of inspiration, contagion, and disorder. They are also part of the imagined lives of the autistic, argues Loftis, sometimes for good, sometimes threatening to undermine self-identity and the activism of the autistic community.
Challenging existing approaches to autism that limit, and sometimes damage, the individuals who attract and receive the label, this book questions the lazy prejudices and assumptions that can surround autism as a diagnosis in the 21st Century. Arguing that autism can only be understood through examining 'it' as a socially or culturally produced phenomenon, the authors offer a critique of the medical model that has produced a perpetually marginalising approach to autism, and explain the contradictions and difficulties inherent in existing attitudes. They examine and dispute the scientific validity of diagnosis and 'treatment', asking whether autism actually exists at the biological level, and question the value of diagnosis in the lives of those labelled with autism. The book recognises that there are no easy answers but encourages engagement with these essential questions, and looks towards service provision and practice that moves beyond a reliance on all-encompassing labels. This unique contribution to the growing field of critical autism studies brings together authors from clinical psychiatry, clinical and community psychology, social sciences, disability studies, education and cultural studies, as well as those with personal experiences of autism. It is essential and challenging reading for anyone with a personal, professional or academic interest in 'autism'.
Unemployment can be an isolating experience. In this much-needed book, Michael John Carley reassures readers who are unemployed and have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) that they are not alone. Offering guidance on how you can cope with unemployment in a constructive and emotionally healthy manner, Michael John Carley writes with a crucial understanding of the isolation and negative emotions that unemployment can bring about if you have ASD. He explains why so many people find themselves out of work and how it's often not their fault. Providing guidance on how to maintain your confidence and motivation, this book offers advice on how you can pursue other opportunities, such as part-time work or volunteering. The book also features advice on how to manage your finances during periods of unemployment.