The likely adverse effects of “Profound Autism” and “PDA Profile of ASD” discourses.

Conference presentation


Woods, R. (2023). The likely adverse effects of “Profound Autism” and “PDA Profile of ASD” discourses. Disability Research Forum. Online 18 Dec 2023
AuthorsWoods, R.
TypeConference presentation
Abstract

The categories within the American Psychiatric Manuals are attributed to persons as reflecting ways of being human and are primarily discussed in deficit-laden language reflecting how the categories are constructed. Despite their many flaws, they are reified by attributing types of distress and/ or perceived impairment. Those attributed to such categories are often adversely affected by such categories’ discourse and ideology. Initially proposed during the 1940s, autism was included in the American Psychiatric Manuals in 1980 as a narrow and rare category. Subsequently, like other psychiatric categories, autism has become a common heterogeneous “spectrum”. Often described as having “low functioning” at one end, and “high functioning” at the other. This, with other deficit-based concepts created stereotypes, adversely affects many autistics. This contributes to autistics being systemically failed by wider society, partly explaining the atrociously autistic suicide rates.

Autism subtypes were partly removed to reduce stigma for autistics, and because evidence and clinical practice indicate negligible differences between subtypes. However, lately there are two proposed subtypes of “Profound Autism”, and “PDA Profile of ASD”. Both categories can describe impairments which can be problematic for those with lived experience and their caregivers, and persons attributed with these categories require suitable support. Both categories are described as “severe” forms of autism, in line with the flawed “low functioning to high functioning spectrum”. Subsequently, the serious problems associated with the linear “spectrum” of, filicide of autistic, autistic suicide, and deaths from diagnostic overshadowing of physical ill-health symptoms attributed to autism; risk being predictably applicable to both proposed subtypes. These issues are discussed through a Critical Autism Studies lens. Both proposed subtypes are functioning categories and ableist concepts, perpetuating the systemic poor treatment of autistics.

KeywordsAutism; "Pathological Demand Avoidance"; "Profound Autism"; Preventable deaths; Suicide; Filicide; Diagnostic overshadowing; Autism subtypes; Autism subgroups; "PDA Profile of ASD"; Extreme Demand Avoidance; Rational Demand Avoidance; Demand-Avoidance Phenomena; Functioning Categories
Year2023
Accepted author manuscript
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Open
Publication dates
Print18 Dec 2023
Publication process dates
Accepted30 Oct 2023
Deposited19 Dec 2023
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