Research that aims to find ways of improving public knowledge and acceptance of autism could help address discrimination and stigma. By taking a neurodiversity perspective that frames neurological differences as natural variations of human experience (rather than deficits) will help address problems in education and the workplace, and identify how more inclusive spaces and practices might enable autistic people to be accepted and valued.
To establish the research priorities of the autistic community in Aotearoa New Zealand, the Health Research Council has funded a project involving a team of autistic and non-autistic researchers.
By interviewing autistic young people to find out what they think, the researchers hope the partnership project can inform the future direction of autism research in Aotearoa New Zealand – both in terms of the questions asked and the way researchers try to answer them.
By listening to the preferences and priorities of the autistic community the researchers hope to go beyond the tokenistic, towards a genuine inclusiveness in research. Autistic partnership in the research moves away from “research on” to “research with” to directly tackle the problems created by the present lack of balance in autism research.