Professor Simon Baron Cohen endorses Neurodiversity

16 Dec

Neurodiversity, that much misunderstood, much maligned concept has been dragged through the mud for years by people determined to misunderstand it and misrepresent it. We all know who these people are.

However, it also has its supporters and people determined to understand it on either a social or personal level. One such person is Professor Simon Baron-Cohen.

In an interview with the Encyclopaedia Britannica blog Professor Baron-Cohen was asked:

Individuals with Asperger syndrome often use the term “neurotypical” to describe normal people, and in an effort to lessen the stigmatization associated with autism as a medical condition, the Asperger community has initiated the so-called neurodiversity movement. Can you briefly describe the neurodiversity movement and its implications on the diagnosis of autism spectrum conditions?

To which he replied:

The neurodiversity movement has been a very positive influence in reminding us that there is no single pathway in neurological development, but there are many ways to reach similar end-points.

Stigmatizing anyone, whether they have autism or any other characteristic, is wrong, since the point about these labels is not to pick out the person in order to make their lives worse, but to help others understand their special needs and qualities.

How nice to see a researcher who _gets_ it.

3 Responses to “Professor Simon Baron Cohen endorses Neurodiversity”

  1. Dan July 17, 2011 at 02:42 #

    The only problem is that statements like “women’s brains are hardwired to cook and men’s brains are hardwired to do maths and science” can be characterised as “neurodiversity”. As a general principle I endorse any kind of diversity, and that includes “neurodiversity”, but I don’t endorse anything that falls under its remit.


  1. The Simon Baron Cohen Endorsement « Outside In - December 19, 2010

    […] an interview with Encyclopedia Britannica, Professor Simon Baron Cohen explained what the neurodiversity movement is all about and its implications on the autism/Asperger’s […]

  2. Aspergers – How do you know if someone has it? « My Shepherdstown - January 31, 2011

    […] Professor Simon Baron Cohen endorses Neurodiversity ( […]

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