Program Offers 4.0 APA CEs for Psychologists, and 4.0 BBS California CEUs for LPCCs, LPSW, and LMFTs.
As more and more people are coming out as autistic and openly participating in society, it is becoming abundantly clear that the last 60 years of scholarship on autism is woefully biased and inadequate. Most of what we know about autism comes from a deficits or medical model that centers non-autistic experience as normal and most functional. The result of this is that most knowledge, treatments, conceptualizations, and theories of autism are inherently ableist; practitioners see differences in functioning as less than human or disordered/deficient. When viewing autistic phenomena purely through a neurotypical lens, we develop a narrative of autism that is completely disconnected from the actual lived experience of autistic people. This continues a scientific tradition of centering majority experiences as normal in order to pathologize or minimize the importance of a minority experience.
In the last 15 years or so, autistic people and advocates have been developing a new paradigm to understand neurological brain differences. Borrowing from other social justice movements, the neurodiversity paradigm views conditions such as autism and ADHD as stemming from naturally occurring biodiversity. If we begin to understand autism from this perspective, including contributions from autistic researchers, autistic bloggers, autistic theoreticians, and autistic clinicians, we begin to develop an entirely different understanding of what autism actually is and how societal values, standard treatments, and modern hegemonies end up hurting and disabling autistic people more than they help. This program weds recent research on autism with lived experience of autistic people under a banner of neurodiversity to inform clinicians about how to best work with autistic people as assessors and therapists.