Community Bulletin: Antiracism in Clinical Practice, Bilingualism and Autism | Spectrum

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Illustration by Laurène Boglio

Hello and welcome to this week’s community newsletter! I am your host, Chelsey B. Coombs, Spectrumengagement editor.

I want to remind you a New Spectrum investigation on how autism researchers approach scientific conferences until the end of the year. Are you ready to relive the unique experience of the Society for Neuroscience conference in person? Or will you be watching the action from your lab (or couch)? We would be grateful if you could share your thoughts.

Our first threads this week come from Diondra Straiton and Aksheya Sridhar, graduate students in clinical psychology at Michigan State University in East Lansing. The pair posted a call to action in Autism on how clinicians in the field can help end anti-black racism in autism assessment, treatment and care.

“Clinicians have a responsibility to understand how anti-black racism influences access to quality assessment, accurate and timely diagnosis, autism-related services, and high-quality care for black people with dementia. autism spectrum, ”they write.

They offer five recommendations, including that clinicians should listen to what black people with autism think about their organization, remember that anti-racism learning is happening, and become anti-racism advocates.

The document also includes appendices with suggested anti-racism readings and training materials for clinicians. Sridhar tweeted that a website to accompany the document would be available soon.

Autism researchers and clinicians praised the document. Sarah edmunds, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of South Carolina, tweeted that she was excited to implement these suggestions.

Kristen Bottema-Beutel, associate professor of education, curriculum, and society at Boston College in Massachusetts, tweeted that she added the article to her curriculum.

Also this week, Rachael Davis, postdoctoral researcher at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, tweeted about bilingualism and autism, based on a comment she co-wrote.

Studies show that bilingualism can benefit children with autism by strengthening family bonds and boosting self-confidence, wrote she and her colleagues. But many parents are concerned that it could cause confusion or language delay as well. Despite no evidence to support this view, some clinicians and educators continue to advise parents against raising their autistic children to be bilingual.

Lorna hamilton, associate and associate professor of psychology at York St. John University in the UK, as well as one of the critics of the commentary, wrote that it was “great to see him in the world.”

Naïma Bhana, an assistant professor of special education at Niagara University in Lewiston, New York, tweeted that she had faced similar issues professionally and personally and called the article “insightful.”

And finally, Noah Sasson, associate professor of behavioral and brain sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas, tweeted his thoughts on studies that claim to be about people with autism, but actually focus on autistic traits.

Clare Harrop, an assistant research professor in paramedical sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, tweeted her own frustrations with the practice.

“This would of course also apply to every animal study, David Mandell, professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania and Autism editor, noted in response.

Don’t forget to register for our September 28 webinar, with Jeremy Veenstra-VanderWeele, professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, who will talk about the development goals of new drugs for autism – and the obstacles that researchers can meet.

That’s it for this week’s community newsletter! If you have any suggestions for interesting social posts you’ve seen in autism research, please feel free to email me at chelsey@spectrumnews.org. See you next week!



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