The Emergence of Neurodiversity




Schoger, Haley

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Research compiled from thirty years ago is different from the research we compile in today’s time, no matter the subject. My first question is how much has research about Autism Spectrum Disorder changed in the last 30 years? My second research question is how do people’s lived experiences compare with information in textbooks? ASD is classified in the DSM-5 as “deficits in social-emotional reciprocity, ranging, for example, from abnormal social approach and failure of normal back-and-forth conversation; to reduced sharing of interests, emotions, or affect; to failure to initiate or respond to social interactions.” The addition of ASD to the DSM-5 in May 2013 is fairly recent considering it was first discovered in 1943. The purpose of my research project was to compare how far Autism research has come between various published textbooks over the span of four decades and how that compared to the experiences of autistic young adults, parents of autistic children, and therapists who work with autistic people. In textbooks, autism is discussed on three broad categories: causes, diagnosis, and support. I am using the previous three terms based on information provided by members of the autism community. Previously collected de-identified interviews were evaluated for comments about cause, diagnosis, and support. The comments were compared to information available in the textbooks. The results of this yielded high variability across research textbooks. Many texts contradicted each other and my conclusion from my thesis project is that the variability in research contributes to the evidence based practice gap. This gap is seen from researchers not using their findings in a clinical setting, which leads to different texts saying different things about the same subject. Future studies need to incorporate more than written information, as suggested by people from the autism community.



variability, Honors College


Schoger, H. (2022). The emergence of neurodiversity (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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