Aucademy in discussion: Interview with Emma Dalmayne, Autistic Woman of Colour, advocate, & activist

Aucademy is pleased to have recorded this interview with Emma Dalmayne discussing POC Autistic experiences and the support these minorities need.

Emma is an Autistic Woman of Colour, advocate, and activist, fighting against the harm done to Autistic people in the name of “curing” us.

Emma is also the author of two great books explaining Autistic experience in an accessible way for children – “Susie Spins” & “It’s an autism thing: I’ll help you understand it“, as well as being the CEO of Autistic Inclusive Meets Community Group AIM, and an admin on the 17,600+ member strong Autism Inclusivity Facebook page.

Trigger warnings: Please note that Chloe and Emma discuss some incredibly distressing topics relating to the mistreatment of Black and Persons of Colour Autistics, there is also mention of rape and death threats that Emma has received for campaigning against harmful “autism treatments”.

Why we’re all weird, but nobody is ill

Blog post – Chloe

Prof Peter Kinderman , someone I have had the pleasure of meeting, is a kind and empathetic professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Liverpool. His work seeks to address the real causes of psychological distress, placing the causes more accurately outside of a persons head and more firmly in social contexts.

This is particularly important when we consider the psychological distress many Autistic and neurodivergent people experience, where our neurodevelopmental difference is blamed for the psychological distress we experience, instead of placing the onus on the environment that led to the distress.

“Dr Peter Kinderman argues that mental emotional distress is not a sign of illness but a symptom of social causes and pressure. Depression, anxiety and even schizophrenia can be serious and debilitating experiences for people; but Dr Kinderman says the causes of these symptoms will not be found inside the brain but rather outside the person. Unemployment, bullying, child abuse, these are often the causes of mental distress – and the treatment he prescribes is for all of us to take greater social responsibility to address the situation…”

Click here for a 26 minute podcast with Peter Kinderman, Episode 7: Is it really mental ‘illness’?

Autistic communication – no deficit

Blog post – Chloe

One of the most important pieces of research for the Autistic community, and to educate non-autistic people, demonstrates that Autistic people do not have deficits in social communication, but that there is a translation issue between Autistic and non-autistic people (known as the Double Empathy problem by Dr Damian Milton – an Autistic academic). This important piece of research by Dr Crompton shows that communication between Autistic people is stronger than between mixed neuro type groups – Autistic and non-autistic groups.

This has implications such as not placing the onus on Autistic people having a problem or deficit, and asking that non-autistic people work to learn the language and communication of Autistic people.

See here a short video explaining the study, and the video below of Jac den Houting discussing the double empathy problem, as well as the neurodiversity paradigm to replace the medical paradigm.