Abstract

The neurodiversity movement takes an identity politics approach to autism spectrum disorders, proposing autism spectrum disorders as a positive “neuro-variation” to be approached only with interventions that assist individuals without changing them. This article explicates the concept of neurodiversity and places it within the context of autism spectrum disorders advocacy and treatments. It draws from fieldwork conducted in a midwestern urban center, from June through October 2008, with support groups for parents of children with autism spectrum disorders. Neurodiverse sentiments were identified within these groups, despite the pursuance of treatments to which some neurodiversity advocates might object. Therefore, although neurodiversity has influenced parents of children with autism spectrum disorders in this sample, its role as a medical advocacy group has not been fully realized. This article attempts to place neurodiversity in better conversation with advocates and medical professionals.

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