Culture and Ignorance
By Dr Dinah Murray
Autism is defined by a set of diagnostic criteria that identify
dysfunction in a culturally biassed manner which harmfully distorts expectations and judgments. It is argued that this tends to have a prejudicial impact on the education and quality of life of autistic individuals, by causing inappropriately negative expectations of their capacities. Autism is more constructively viewed as not an illness but an aspect of essential human diversity. Particular attention is given to issues around empathy. Evidence of many positive characteristics of the autistic disposition is discussed.