Autism justice ethics and morality
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Autism – Justice, Ethics, and Morality. Luke Beardon Senior Lecturer in Autism The Autism Centre Sheffield Hallam University. Thought for the day. Why can't I go to the pub on my own without getting beaten up???. So.

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Autism justice ethics and morality

Autism – Justice, Ethics, and Morality

Luke Beardon

Senior Lecturer in Autism

The Autism Centre

Sheffield Hallam University


Thought for the day

Thought for the day...

Why can't I go to the

pub on my own without getting beaten up???

Luke Beardon, The Autism Centre


Autism justice ethics and morality

So...

  • Who is responsible for ensuring the individual with an ASD is fully (and preventatively) supported?

    • Parents?

    • Education?

    • Social Services?

    • Health?

    • The real triad!

Luke Beardon, The Autism Centre


The nature of autism

The Nature of Autism

  • Areas of developmental difference

  • Qualitatively different cognitive processes

  • Spectrum 'condition' of neurodiversity

  • Duality of individuality within a prescribed population

  • If autism is not understood then bad practice will prevail

Luke Beardon, The Autism Centre


The dual nature of autism

The Dual Nature of Autism

  • There are some facts about autism that are attributable to all those with an appropriate diagnosis, e.g.

    • there is no cure

    • individuals will all share common areas of difference

    • autism is a (highly) complex pervasive developmental disorder (is it a disorder?)

  • Any yet...people with autism could not be more individual...?!?

Luke Beardon, The Autism Centre


Why did joe attack his staff

Why Did Joe 'attack' his staff?

  • Boredom?

  • Avoiding social interaction?

  • Resistance to change?

  • Structure – executive functioning?

  • Gaining attention – communication?

  • Garlic

Luke Beardon, The Autism Centre


Why the contradiction

Why the Contradiction?

  • People with autism are people first, with their own personalities and unique individuality

  • The learning process is key to understanding autism

  • Direct learning versus indirect learning

  • Areas of indirect learning include, for example:

    • Theory of Mind

    • social interaction

    • non verbal communication

    • the sensory system

    • understanding sequences

Luke Beardon, The Autism Centre


Why is autism so unique and individual

Why is Autism so Unique and Individual?

  • Sensory issues

  • Different ways of learning

  • Processing information is markedly different for most people

  • Each area of difficulty is diverse in the extreme, and the effects are very individual

  • The permutations of the combination of the effects means that each person will be unique

Luke Beardon, The Autism Centre


Autism justice ethics and morality

So.........

  • People with ASDs will all be unique and individual

  • May share similar behaviours – BUT we must not assume that causality of behaviour is the same for each individual

  • Will always have autism – BUT the way in which the individual copes with daily life will change, dependent on, for example:

    • setting

    • environment

    • support

    • time

Luke Beardon, The Autism Centre


Autism justice ethics and morality

YOU CAN NOT CHANGE

SOMEONE'S AUTISM,

BUT YOU CAN CHANGE

THE WAY IN WHICH

THE INDIVIDUAL IS

ABLE TO COPE WITH IT

Luke Beardon, The Autism Centre


So how can we learn and support

So How Can We Learn and Support?

  • The 'Triad of Support':

Time with

the Individual

Theory of

Autism

Theory into

Practise

Luke Beardon, The Autism Centre


Autism and ethical considerations

Autism and Ethical Considerations

  • Autism does not necessarily mean disability – I think that the many people with autism are highly intelligent, even those with a 'label' of learning disability

  • There are many positive world contributions made by people with autism

  • The vast majority of problems encountered by people with autism are because of everybody else!

  • People with autism can help us to understand – if we only let them

Luke Beardon, The Autism Centre


Further considerations

Further Considerations

  • Why are people with ASDs regarded as being 'impaired'?

  • Sensory differences

  • How big is your willy?

  • Honesty

  • Focus

  • Attention to detail

Luke Beardon, The Autism Centre


Autism and crime personal research

Autism and Crime – personal research

  • Some people with autism break the law

  • Some individuals could be regarded as criminals

  • But should all individuals with ASDs be considered as criminals

Luke Beardon, The Autism Centre


Example case study 1

Example Case Study 1

  • Crime: selling drugs

  • Verdict: guilty

  • Diagnosis: Asperger Syndrome

  • Adult, male, aged 22

  • Outcome: AS not taken into consideration, branded as a criminal

Luke Beardon, The Autism Centre


The real story

The Real Story

  • Desperate to make friends

  • Understands that to do so it is a good idea to agree to things

  • Agrees to sell drugs in return for friendship of local gangs

  • Autism specific elements:

    • Theory of Mind

    • literal interpretation

    • poor social understanding

    • Dysexecutive functioning

    • Weak central coherence

Luke Beardon, The Autism Centre


Example case study 2

Example Case Study 2

  • Crime: 'Sexual' offender

  • Verdict: guilty

  • Diagnosis: autism

  • Adult male

  • Outcome: branded as paedophile

Luke Beardon, The Autism Centre


The real story1

The Real Story

  • Complex autism condition

  • obsessive desire to understand gender disparity

  • Lack of prior education

  • Logical solution to problem

  • Autism specific elements:

    • Lack of Theory of Mind

    • Rigidity of thought process

    • No social awareness

    • No understanding of consequences

Luke Beardon, The Autism Centre


Issues

Issues

  • Clearly justice is not being done in many cases

  • People with ASDs should have appropriate education to prevent possible problems

  • A reduction in crime rates benefits all

  • Lack of understanding and recognition of ASDs causes real problems

Luke Beardon, The Autism Centre


Diagnostic issues

Diagnostic Issues

  • Autistic 'traits'

  • Asperger Syndrome is not a 'mild form of autism'

  • A diagnosis is not a label

  • Misdiagnosis/no diagnosis is discrimination

  • Lack of diagnosis leads to no/poor support which can lead to potential crises

  • Positive diagnosis can be the most positive aspect of an individual's life

Luke Beardon, The Autism Centre


Parent issues

Parent Issues

  • Lack of professional understanding can lead to:

    • frustration

    • patronisation

    • bad practice

    • allegations of neglect/abuse/MSBP

Luke Beardon, The Autism Centre


Going too far

Going Too Far

  • Not recognising the very real problems that autism/AS present for the individual can mean a lack of appropriate support

  • A lack of learning disability is not synonymous with a lack of need for support

  • Support should be positive for the individual, not necessarily in line with neurotypical value systems

  • 'Normalisation' is unethical and discriminatory

  • Rights for the individual mean recognition of need and the right to appropriate support

Luke Beardon, The Autism Centre


Autism justice ethics and morality

Ethics, Morality, and Normalisation

It is essential that individuals with ASDs are treated with respect for their way of thinking and behaving, and that ‘normal’ value bases are not enforced upon them

Luke Beardon, The Autism Centre


The way forward

The Way Forward

  • Better understanding and recognition of the need for a better understanding

  • Better practice in diagnostic clinicians

  • Doing away with global policies that are generic and of little relevance

  • Paradigm shift in societal values and expectations

Luke Beardon, The Autism Centre


Autism justice ethics and morality

Contact

Luke Beardon, Senior Lecturer in Autism

The Autism Centre

Faculty of Development and Society

Sheffield Hallam University

Collegiate Crescent

Sheffield

S10 2BP

0114 – 2255645

[email protected]

Luke Beardon, The Autism Centre


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