Welcome to our podcast, Autistic Perspectives on Adulthood!
What is this podcast about?
As an outreach project in Professor Nadig’s course Autism in Adulthood, speech-language pathology master’s students, led by Isabella Poitras, developed a podcast. This is a four-episode interview series with autistic teens and adults sharing their perspectives on issues of inclusion during their transition to adulthood. Our goal is to give autistic people a voice, allowing listeners to get to know some of them as people – which research indicates can reduce the stigma that autistic people face.
Please note that two episodes are in French and two are in English. Audio transcripts and translations can be found in the show note PDFs below.
Why do a podcast on this subject?
Increasing autism acceptance is fundamental to promoting social inclusion and positive life experiences for individuals on the spectrum. Research indicates that, within seconds, non-autistic people tend to form negative first impressions of autistic people, and that these negative impressions are associated with reluctance to engage in further social interactions (Sasson et al., 2017). A likely consequence of this reluctance is reduced opportunities for social inclusion for autistic adults.
Against a background of anti-autism stigma in society, autistics often show high rates of camouflaging behaviours, meaning that they mask or hide their autistic traits and behaviors to better fit in with people at work, school, and in social situations. Critically, these efforts to assimilate to the non-autistic norm can lead to negative mental health consequences (Cage & Troxwell-Whitman, 2019).
What can be done to reduce the negative stigma autistic people face?
All too often the responsibility for social inclusion is pinned solely on autistic people, but research on first impressions demonstrates that all of us in society have an important role to play. Rather than stemming from characteristics of the autistic individual, the most significant determinants of negative first impressions have been shown to be characteristics of the non-autistic observer: degree of pre-existing stigma, and lack of knowledge about autism (Morrison et al., 2019). However, by engaging in autism acceptance training (i.e., learning about autism and hearing autistic people’s perspectives), non-autistic people can create more positive first impressions of autistic adults and be more open to engaging in social interactions with them, and hold fewer misconceptions about autism (Jones, DeBrabander, & Sasson, 2021). This can be done through autism acceptance training or education programs (Gillespie-Lynch et al., 2015), but also by engaging with material that allows you to hear first person experiences of being autistic, like this podcast.
More on our motivation is available at this link.
What is Autism Acceptance Month?
April is internationally recognized as Autism Awareness Month, with April 2nd being designated as World Autism Awareness Day. This initiative was first launched in the 1970’s as “National Autistic Children’s Week”, and later evolved into Autism Awareness month. More recently, as autism awareness increases in the general population, a shift is taking place towards autism acceptance rather than awareness which supports the growing neurodiversity movement. Awareness is key for education and understanding, and acceptance breaks down the false notion that autistic people need to be cured or fixed. Join us this April by listening to the perspectives and stories of autistic adults and teens so we can all work towards embracing neurodiversity.
How can I access the podcast?
Spotify Podcast Link:
Spotify Episode Links:
Soundcloud Podcast Link:
Coming soon! Stay tuned.
Coming soon! Stay tuned.
Podcast Show Notes and Translation
References and Resources for Autism Acceptance
Cage, E., & Troxell-Whitman, Z. (2019, May). Understanding the Reasons, Contexts and Costs of Camouflaging for Autistic Adults. J Autism Dev Disord, 49(5), 1899-1911.
Gillespie-Lynch, K., Brooks, P. J., Someki, F., Obeid, R., Shane-Simpson, C., Kapp, S. K., Daou, N., Smith, D. S. (2015). Changing college students’ conceptions of autism: An online training to increase knowledge and decrease stigma. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 45, 2553–2566
Jones, D. R., DeBrabander, K. M., & Sasson, N. J. (2021). Effects of autism acceptance training on explicit and implicit biases toward autism. Autism : The International Journal of Research and Practice, 1362361320984896, 1362361320984896–1362361320984896.
Morrison, K. E., DeBrabander, K. M., Faso, D. J., & Sasson, N. J. (2019). Variability in first impressions of autistic adults made by neurotypical raters is driven more by characteristics of the rater than by characteristics of autistic adults. Autism, 23(7), 1817-1829.
Sasson, N. J., Faso, D. J., Nugent, J., Lovell, S., Kennedy, D. P., & Grossman, R. B. (2017). Neurotypical Peers are Less Willing to Interact with Those with Autism based on Thin Slice Judgments. Sci Rep, 7, 40700.