Who am i meant to be? In search of a psychological account of autism, from the viewpoint of an ‘insider’


The legacy of psychological theories (3)



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The legacy of psychological theories (3)

  • ‘An explicit disavowal of the psychoanalytic formulation of autism as rooted in the mother-child relationship motivated the project of defining autism strictly as an organic disorder.’ (Nadesan, 2005: 148).
  • The victory spared the mother, yet lay the blame at the autistic person themselves.

Psychological theories and ownership

  • These psychological accounts actively socially construct what it is to be ‘autistic’.
  • This has a massive impact on the social lives of autistic people, in terms of how they are regarded by both professionals and the general public (in a diluted and distorted form).
  • A lack of ‘theory of mind’ has often been cited as an essential difference between humans and other animals, potentially constructing the autistic person as somewhat ‘less than human’ (Lawson, 2010).
  • Increasing danger from theories that suggest a ‘lack of empathy’ can be linked to violence and criminality (Baron-Cohen, 2011).
  • The dominant psychological models have reduced the power of autistic people to speak for themselves, and thus ‘owning’ their own self-determination.



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