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Autism: Neurodiversity and Pathology Paradigms

Published: 2021-12-23
Author: Disabled World | Contact: Disabled World (Disabled-World.com)

Synopsis: A brief outline and definitions of neurodiversity and pathology paradigms in relation to the autism spectrum and autistic disorders. The neurodiversity paradigm is a view of autism as a different way of being rather than as a disease or disorder that must be cured. The pathology paradigm is the traditional view of autism through a biomedical lens, in which it is seen as a disorder characterized by various impairments, mainly in communication and social interaction. Those taking this perspective believe that autism is generally a kind of harmful dysfunction.

Main Digest

Outline of Neurodiversity Paradigm and Pathology Paradigm

The word paradigm was originally derived from both Greek and Latin languages and has been used since the 15th century. In Greek, 'para' meaning 'beside' and 'deiknynai' meaning 'to display or show' were combined to form 'paradeiknyai', which possessed the literal meaning 'to display side by side'. The Latin word 'paradigma' was used to refer to 'a model or pattern', which is still one of the formal meanings of the word paradigm today - (macmillandictionaryblog.com/paradigm)

Related:

Paradigms in Psychology

Paradigms in psychology are defined as a set of assumptions, attitudes, concepts, values, procedures, and techniques that constitutes a generally accepted theoretical framework within, or a general perspective of, a discipline - (dictionary.apa.org/paradigm)

 The rainbow-colored infinity symbol represents the diversity of the autism spectrum as well as the greater neurodiversity movement.
The rainbow-colored infinity symbol represents the diversity of the autism spectrum as well as the greater neurodiversity movement.

Autism Neurodiversity Paradigm

The neurodiversity paradigm is a view of autism as a different way of being rather than as a disease or disorder that must be cured. Autistic people are considered to have neurocognitive differences which give them distinct strengths and weaknesses, and are capable of succeeding when appropriately accommodated and supported. The belief is that efforts to eliminate autism should not be compared, for example, to curing cancer but instead to the antiquated notion of curing left-handedness.

There is no leader of the neurodiversity movement and little academic research has been conducted on it as a social phenomenon. As such, proponents of the neurodiversity paradigm have heterogenous beliefs, but are consistent in the view that autism cannot be separated from an autistic person. Advocacy efforts may include opposition to therapies that aim to make children "indistinguishable from their peers," accommodations in schools and work environments, and lobbying for the inclusion of autistic people when making decisions that affect them.

Neurodiversity advocates are opposed to medical research for a cure, believing that it will lead to eugenics, and instead support research that helps autistic people thrive as they are. For example, NeuroTribes author Steve Silberman noted a lack of research in regards to seizure-controlling drugs and autistic brains; that sensory differences in autistic people were unheard of until Temple Grandin spoke about her experiences; and that only a small percentage of research funding goes towards the needs of autistic adults. Advocacy groups that focus primarily on acceptance and accommodation include:

Autism Pathology Paradigm

The pathology paradigm is the traditional view of autism through a biomedical lens, in which it is seen as a disorder characterized by various impairments, mainly in communication and social interaction. Those taking this perspective believe that autism is generally a kind of harmful dysfunction. Ways of functioning which diverge from a typical brain are "incorrect" or "unhealthy" and must therefore be treated or cured. The atypical behaviors of autistic individuals are considered a detriment to social and professional success and should therefore be reduced or eliminated through therapy.

Advocates with this view include both a small but significant minority of autistic adults and large majority of parents of autistic children, but contain a higher percentage of parents when compared to those adopting the neurodiversity paradigm. These advocates believe that medical research is necessary to address the "autism epidemic", reduce suffering, and provide the best outcomes for autistic individuals. In addition to etiological research, other areas of focus may include biology, diagnosis, and treatment, including medication, behavioral and psychological interventions, and the treatment of co-existing medical conditions. Advocacy groups that focus primarily on medical research include:

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Cite This Page (APA): Disabled World. (2021, December 23). Autism: Neurodiversity and Pathology Paradigms. Disabled World. Retrieved January 17, 2022 from www.disabled-world.com/health/neurology/autism/paradigms.php