Almost a decade ago, general internist and health services researcher Christina Nicolaidis published an essay titled “What Can Physicians Learn from the Neurodiversity Movement?” (2012). The mother of a child with autism, she was deeply invested in providing better health care to people on the spectrum. She argued that doctors had to become much less pitying and alienating if they wanted to more effectively treat some of autism’s less salubrious aspects—anxiety, for example. She called on doctors to do two things: (1) learn from autistics about autism and (2) abandon what self-advocates and others call the “deficit model.” “Such a model, which focuses almost exclusively on impairments and limitations, leads us,” she wrote, “to see autistic individuals as broken people who are ill” (503). The neurodiversity model, in contrast, moves beyond illness—without sacrificing treatment—to difference.

This essay may be found on page 143 of the printed volume.

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