Chloe Farahar (she/they) PhD

“I was diagnosed at age 32 after a lifetime of being told I am “weird”, “odd”, “stand-offish”, and “unapproachable”. I struggled to make friends, and experienced bouts of depression and constant anxiety. It was only once I realised I was Autistic that I found my “group of weird” – the Autistic community, and my new friend Annette. Together, Annette and I explored what being Autistic meant for us, and now we work together on projects and research to help other Autistics learn to find their “group of weird”. I hope that via SYA? you too can find your place in the world.”

– Dr Chloe Farahar

Dr Chloe Farahar (she/they) completed a PhD in social psychology with a programme of research specifically attempting to improve the dominant discourse surrounding “mental illnesses” (neuro-divergences). Using social psychological theory, Chloe created, developed, and uses a play (Stigmaphrenia©; Farahar, 2012) about the neuro-divergent nature of what is currently (and incorrectly) referred to as “madness” and “mental illness” in order to improve public attitude and behaviour, but more importantly, perceptions of the self.

Dr Farahar has a chapter on the use of her play Stigmaphrenia to reduce mental health stigma in the July 2020 release of The Neurodiversity Reader: Exploring Concepts, Lived Experience and Implications for Practice, edited by Dr Damian Milton.

Dr Farahar writes about the importance of positive Autistic identity, culture, community, and space/s for wellbeing, with a recent university article and accompanying cartoon published by UCL.

Chloe and Annette contributed a chapter to Brown’s Lived Experiences of Ableism in Academia: Strategies for Inclusion in Higher Education, outlining the challenges Autistic academics are faced with.

Chloe and Annette joined Meghan Ashburn of Not an Autism Mom to talk about their chapter, and the interview can be watched here.

While PhD students, Chloe and her friend and colleague, Annette Foster, together developed So, You’re Autistic (SYA)? at the University of Kent. SYA? is a pre- and post-diagnostic support for Autistics: a support programme teaching those with a diagnosis, awaiting a diagnosis, or self-diagnosed HOW to be their authentically Autistic selves – to understand what being Autistic means for YOU.

Chloe and Annette developed the SYA? programme so that future Autistics do not have to figure out what being Autistic means alone – to explore what being Autistic means together. 

More information can be found on her SYA? site.

Chloe’s play about the neuro-diversity of humanity has been performed in the UK and two educational establishments in the US. Chloe also carries out workshops educating diverse audiences about the power of language, and the need to move away from marginalising bio-medical language and the misconceptions it instils.

Chloe is always looking for collaborative endeavours to disseminate her play Stigmaphrenia©, as well as opportunities for academic collaboration, and is always happy to provide her workshops and talks for any audience.

Dr Chloe Farahar being interviewed about her joint So, You’re Autistic? programme

“autism” versus Autistic experience: Aucademy bitesize with Dr Chloe Farahar 29.05.2021

What therapy works for Autistic people? and the need for positive Autistic identity for wellbeing: Aucademy’s Chloe educates Sam Harris of BISnet 17.06.2021

A rose by any other name would smell…of stigma (or, the psychologically important difference between being a “person with autism” or an Autistic person) by Dr Chloe Farahar

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