Rachel Cullen (they/them)
Rachel Cullen (they/them) is an Autistic researcher and advocate and proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community with an undergraduate degree in English literature and language, a PGCert in linguistics, a Masters in autism studies, and in 2022 Rachel intends to start a PhD in intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Rachel is interested in several aspects of research that directly improve the lives of Autistic people with a particular focus on language features of Autistic people across the spectrum. However, more generally Rachel’s interests include neurodiversity, intersectionality, and human rights of Autistic and disabled people.
Rachel’s Autistic pragmatic language hypothesis is currently one of Aucademy’s most important topics covered to date, detailing as it does the idea that Autistic people have a different communication system compared to non-autistic people. This helps support the idea that Autistic people do not have deficit or disordered communication, but a different system.
The evidence Rachel is starting to build to support their hypothesis was outlined in an Aucademy session, and along with Chloe and Annette, Rachel discusses the incredibly valuable impact the hypothesis can have for Autistic people. Rachel’s hypothesis, if substantiated, would provide evidence that Autistic people have a shared communication at odds to the non-autistic population, and offer practical means to bridge the double empathy gap between Autistic and non-autistic, neurotypical people.
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