Lunch Hour Lecture : Autism and Family Mental Health: Shifting the Narrative


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The medical model is applied to autistic children and their family members from the moment they are diagnosed. Parents are introduced into the socially constructed ideology that autism is bad, abnormal and unexpected. Metaphors have often been used in published material to describe autism, all which view autistic people as having deficits which require intervention: hidden behind walls or within fortresses; as aliens; as animals or savages; as robots or other machines; as mind-blind; or as puzzles. Such descriptions of autism are associated with a medical view of disability which dominated disability research and policy until the middle of the 20th century, assuming there is always a conflict in family life between neurotypical and autistic family members. Although more recent sibling studies have portrayed a more balanced picture of siblings' experiences- news, campaigns and other media output still focus on deficits and difficult family experiences. This lecture will provide overview evidence about the psychological adjustment of autistic CYP and their family members. Then, I will consider what we can learn about autism and the needs of autistic and non-autistic family members using a lifeworld framework, rooted in humanistic psychology, and the ways it could serve as a basis to explore family experiences, perspectives and needs. Finally, I will offer examples of my recent work exploring the benefits of working with autistic and non-autistic siblings as co-researchers and co-producers of the research, and the role siblings may play in educating their local communities about autism acceptance. Date: Tuesday 20th October Speaker: Dr Georgia Pavlopoulou , Senior Teaching Fellow in Psychology and Mental Health , UCL Free to attend, live stream or watch online: More info : Join the conversation on Twitter at #UCLMinds #MadeAtUCL

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