New study shows autistic people often misunderstood by family members.

New study shows autistic people often misunderstood by family members.

New research from Brett Heasman, who presented his findings recently in an April session of ‘Alphabet 12’, has now been published in the journal Autism.

Brett’s research makes two important contributions to understanding autism. First, he has shown that autistic adults are able to imagine the world from other people’s perspectives, even if they disagree with such perspectives (Heasman & Gillespie, 2017). This finding is significant, because previous research has suggested autistic people lack the ability to imagine other people’s point of view and are ‘anchored’ in their own egocentrism.

Second, Brett’s research shows that family members of autistic adults easily misread autistic adults, often in a more negative way. Part of the reason for this is related to the discourses which surround autism. For example, a number of family members believe that they were not being listened to because a diagnosis of autism meant it was not possible for their autistic relations to see their perspective. This finding highlights why it is so important to examine, and critique, the way in which autism is talked about in the public and in culture. Negative stereotypes can have real effects within relationships, shaping possibilities for interaction.

If you would like to read more about Brett’s research, follow the link here:

Heasman, B., & Gillespie, A. (2017). Perspective-taking is two-sided : Misunderstandings between people with Asperger ’ s syndrome and their family members. Autism, 1–11.

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