Please note, this is a draft of our ethos and guiding principles, and is subject to review.
At Aucademy our fundamental aim is to educate Autistic people and non-autistic people about Autistic experience, as taught by an entirely Autistic team of educators and collaborators. Outlined below is our ethos, which we require our educators and collaborators to embody. Please note, while this is Aucademy’s ethos, and an ethos we require for our educators to be a part of Aucademy, we cannot enforce this in our educators. Currently, while Aucademy is growing and developing we will be working with Autistic educators and collaborators on a freelance basis, and as such educators are not under contract to adhere to our ethos, but can be removed from our site should they grossly diverge from our fundamental principles – divergence and debate are healthy, but intolerance and disrespect of others will not be acceptable at Aucademy.
Our guiding principles for both Aucademy learners, and educators and collaborators:
Respect: We expect respect for different perspectives, but ultimately, Autistic perspectives are prioritised – in all their guises. As such, please consider the needs of Autistic people – both educators and learners – and interact accordingly. This may mean understanding that certain demands, questions, expectations may cause anxiety responses, including anger and frustration for e.g. those with “pathological” demand avoidance profiles; differences in attention for those who have attention differences (“ADHD”); atypical eyegaze, blunt and/or black and white thinking, longer processing times when e.g. asked questions (Autistic experience), and so on.
Language: While we advocate identity first language, and refuse to use functioning language, we understand that many people, both Autistic and non-autistic, are at different stages in their Autistic education. Please take time to learn the importance of language, and the language of Autistic culture in order to have respectful, educated, and informed interactions. See here for a short blog on language that can get in the bin and what we can use instead.
De-pathologisation: Here at Aucademy we work within the neurodiversity paradigm, understanding that there is no such thing as a “normal brain”, only societally sanctioned ideas of “normal behaviour”. As such, please attempt to refrain from using clinical language to discuss Autistic experience, unless as a means of educating about the clinical narrative, which the neurodiversity narrative opposes. For example, we at Aucademy do not discuss “autism symptoms”, but we do discuss Autistic experiences. We appreciate this narrative and the language of Autistic culture will be new to many people, and we respect those who make a clear attempt to learn – slip-ups are to be expected. As such, attempt to be humble when corrected. You may feel the way you are corrected is blunt, please try and remember Autistic people can be blunt, but it is unlikely personal.
Intersectionality: The Autistic community and population is as bio- and neurodiverse as the non-autistic population, and we welcome people from all communities that intersect with Autistic experience. We are particularly interested to hear from Autistic educators to work with us who are:
- from Black and People of Colour communities;
- from the LGBTQIA+ community;
- Autistic parents;
- Autistic people with non-traditional education backgrounds;
- Disabled Autistic people;
- Autistic people with psychological-divergences (e.g. voice hearers; anxiety etc.);
- Autistic people with non-traditional modes of communication
- Learning disabled Autistic people
Gentle educating: At Aucademy we accept that learners may be coming to us with different views to our ethos – it is our job to educate, but we are not here to enforce narratives.
Ultimately, we would like Aucademy educators and collaborators who can be positive role models leading by example, and who can work with diverse learners. Our learners may be Autistic people, non-autistic people, families, professionals, teachers, employers – anyone! The diversity of our learners will mean that we may encounter people who have very limited or problematic perceptions of Autistic experience, and it is our job to educate and lead by example, but it is not our job to foster heated debate. If someone wants to learn, they will, all we can do is give them the knowledge and the tools – it is not down to us how they use them.
Potential educators and collaborators: If you are interested in becoming an Aucademy educator or collaborator please head to our contact form.
Potential learners: If you want to be an Aucademy learner, please let us know what topics you might like to learn about in the form below. In the coming months we will be building the materials for learners on our site, but in the meantime, subscribe to our page to keep up with how we are growing or take a look at the details of our first webinar, or view our free-view livestreams.