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Neurodiversity: rethinking autism

Public Health Portland Style 9 Neurodiversity Rethinking Autism

#9: neurodiversity: rethinking autism

Approximately 1 in 68 U.S. children is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, a developmental disability that affects social communication, sensory processing, and scope of interests. As children on the autism spectrum enter adolescence and adulthood, there is a growing appreciation of the needs and perspectives of adults who have already been diagnosed, and who know what it’s like to live in a world where they are the minority. Adults on the autism spectrum have asked business leaders, health care and educational providers, public health advocates, researchers and community members to rethink autism, not as a deficit to be fixed, but rather as a source of human variation that should be appreciated, accommodated and supported.

The event brings together Dora Raymaker, Ph.D., assistant professor, Portland State University School of Social Work, and co-director, Academic Autism Spectrum Partnership in Research and Education, Christina Nicolaidis, M.D., M.P.H, professor, Portland State Univeristy School of Social Work; associate professor, OHSU Department of Medicine and OHSU-PSU School of Public Health; co-director, Academic Autism Specturm Partnership in Research and Education; and Editor-in-Chief, Autism in Adulthood and Katharine Zuckerman, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.A.P., associate professor of pediatrics, OHSU School of Medicine, OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, and affiliate associate professor, OHSU-PSU School of Public Health

Dr. Raymaker, who is autistic, researches employment outcomes for autistic adults. Dr. Nicolaidis is an internal medicine physician who conducts research on health care for autistic adults.  She is also the parent of an autistic teenager. Dr. Zuckerman is a pediatrician who cares for many children on the autism spectrum, and who conducts research on access to autism therapy in children.

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