1st Edition

Autism and The Predictive Brain Absolute Thinking in a Relative World

By Peter Vermeulen Copyright 2023
    178 Pages 37 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    178 Pages 37 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    What if our previous teachings and beliefs regarding processing stimuli, reading emotions and understanding human behaviour is all untrue? In this book, Peter Vermeulen investigates new findings on the predictive brain and what these insights mean for autism and current interventions.

    Recent research has shown that the classic ideas about how the human brain first needs to process incoming information about the world before it can react are no longer tenable. Rather, to survive in the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environment of modern society, what we need is a brain that predicts the world quickly and unconsciously, while taking proper account of the context. This book explains the new theories relating to the predictive brain, summarising some of the more recent highly technical research studies about the predictive mind and autism into as accessible and understandable language as possible. Shedding new light on the predictive brain and its relation to autism, the chapters lead readers to the inevitable conclusion that many of the current interventions used in connection with autism urgently need updating and outline possibilities for revising.

    This approachable book synthesises advanced research for professionals across disciplines working with people with autism spectrum disorder along with readers who have or have family members with ASD.

    Foreword Introduction 1. The predictive brain 2. The predictive brain and autism 3. The predictive brain and sensory processing in autism 4. The predictive brain and navigating in social traffic 5. The predictive brain and communication 6. The predictive brain and autism: what now? Notes References Index


    Peter Vermeulen, PhD, is an internationally respected lecturer/trainer in the field of autism and has written several books. In 2019, Peter received the Passwerk Lifetime Achievement Award for his more than 30 years of work in the autism field in Belgium.

    'Peter Vermeulen makes accessible our understanding of how the brain works. Using vivid examples, he unpacks the theory to better explain the difficulties that autistic people experience in the uncertain and unpredictable world of everyday life. His recommendations for autistic people, parents, and practitioners are startling as well as compelling, a rare match between theory and practice.' — Uta Frith, DBE FRS FBA FmedSci, Emeritus Professor of Cognitive Development, University College London

    'After reading this book, my first reaction was: what a positively written book. It reflects my opinion and experience as an autistic person. Nowhere is it absolutely stated that people with autism cannot do something at all. This innovative book radiates a lot of strength, hope and optimism.' — Sam Peeters, Autistic Self-Advocate, Author and Blogger, Belgium

    'Translating cutting-edge research and complex theories into clear and useful information is challenging. Reading Peter’s book is not. It offers opportunity to understand human thinking and behaviour in new and thought-provoking ways. In the context of autism, it provides new insights that can support autistic people, parents and professionals to deal with the everyday challenges of autism.' — Dr. Marita Falkmer, Associate Professor, School of Education and Communication, CHILD, Swedish Institute for Disability Research, Jönköping University, Gjuterigatan, Sweden and Dr. Torbjörn Falkmer, Emeritus Professor, Curtin University, Perth, Australia

    'Peter Vermeulen does it again! Vermeulen, more than most any other professional in the field of autism, has changed how we understand the autistic neurology. I thought it impossible that he could surpass the brilliance of Context Blindness, but I was wrong. This book on prediction provides new and much needed insights into how individuals on the spectrum react to and understand the world. To say this book is a "must-read" may sound trite, but this book is essential if you want to understand autism!' — Brenda Smith Myles, PhD, Speaker and Author

    'Peter Vermeulen has written another game-changing work that is sure to fundamentally shift how we understand autism. Just as he did in Autism as Context Blindness, Vermeulen makes an important but complex theory accessible, relatable and even often entertaining to read about. Drawing from the latest findings in neuroscience, he demonstrates the startling differences in how autistic and non-autistic people’s brains respond to predictions and explores the dramatic implications of these findings for better understanding the incredible strengths and also very real challenges for autistic people living in a complex and ambiguous world. Readers are sure to look at social, sensory and communication differences in a whole new light, and will be equipped with autism-friendly approaches of offering greater predictability and certainty to reduce "uncertainty stress" and increase well-being for the autistic people in their lives.' — Aaron Lanou, MSED, Special Educator, Inclusive Education Consultant, and Former Director of ASD Nest at New York University's Steinhardt School, New York City, US

    'In this fascinating, accessible and fitting sequel to Autism as Context Blindness, Peter Vermeulen discusses how the autistic brain anticipates and processes uncertainty, and how this contributes to the "characteristics" of autism. In juxtaposing established theories of autism, and the psychology of human biases, important questions are raised about the prevailing autism narrative and the way autism is framed. In so doing, Vermeulen challenges many of the common heuristics about what is helpful to autistic people, and even of the nature of autism itself.' — Richard Mills, Associate Consultant & Adviser to the Board, AT-Autism

    ‘This book uses established, innovative research about the human brain and relates it to real world experiences. Peter applies his wealth of knowledge to focus on areas that range from navigating the social landscape to providing insights into sensory issues. If you are a person who wants to learn more about neurological processing and how it relates to the autistic experience, this book will undoubtedly assist you. I wholeheartedly recommend this book as it provides another step towards demystifying autism, and helping us as practitioners, family members and friends to better support the autistic community to thrive.’ –Andrew McDonnell, PhD, Clinical Psychologist and Director of Studio3 Training Systems