1st Edition

The Routledge International Handbook of Critical Autism Studies

Edited By Damian Milton, Sara Ryan Copyright 2023
    326 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This handbook provides an authoritative and up-to-date overview of Critical Autism Studies and explores the different kinds of knowledges and their articulations, similarities, and differences across cultural contexts and key tensions within this subdiscipline.
    Critical Autism Studies is a developing area occupying an exciting space of development within learning and teaching in higher education. It has a strong trajectory within the autistic academic and advocate community in resistance and response to the persistence of autism retaining an identity as a genetic disorder of the brain.
    Divided into four parts
    • Conceptualising autism
    • Autistic identity
    • Community and culture
    • Practice
    and comprising 24 newly commissioned chapters written by academics and activists, it explores areas of education, Critical Race Theory, domestic violence and abuse, sexuality, biopolitics, health, and social care practices.
    It will be of interest to all scholars and students of disability studies, sociology, anthropology, cultural studies, education, health, social care, and political science.

    Chapter One – Critical Autism Studies: An Introduction
    Damian Milton and Sara Ryan

    Part One: Conceptualising Autism

    Chapter Two – First There Is A Mountain, Then There Is No Mountain, Then There Is. Whither Identity?
    Larry Arnold

    Chapter Three – Critically Contextualising ‘Normal’ Development and the Construction of the Autistic Individual
    Charlotte Brownlow, Lindsay O’Dell, and Ding Abawi

    Chapter Four – Dimensions of Difference
    Dinah Murray

    Chapter Five – Heterogeneity and Clustering in Autism: An Introduction for Critical Scholars
    Patrick Dwyer

    Chapter Six – Rational (Pathological) Demand Avoidance: As a Mental Disorder and an Evolving Social Construct
    Richard Woods

    Chapter Seven – Community Psychology as Reparations for Violence in the Construction of Autism Knowledge
    Monique Botha

    Part Two: Autistic Identity

    Chapter Eight – Through the Lens of (Black) Critical Race Theory
    Melissa Simmonds

    Chapter Nine – Postponing Humanity: Pathologising Autism, Childhood and Motherhood
    Francesca Bernardi

    Chapter Ten – ‘It sort of like gets squared’: Health Professionals’ Understanding of the Intersection of Autism and Gender Diversity in Young People
    Magdalena Mikulak

    Chapter Eleven – Autistic Young People’s Sense of Self and the Social World: A Challenge to Deficit Focused Characterisations
    Emma Rice-Adams

    Chapter Twelve – A Personal Account of Neurodiversity, Academia and Activism
    Damian E. M. Milton

    Part Three: Community and Culture

    Chapter Thirteen – ‘Autopia’: A Vision for Autistic Acceptance and Belonging
    Luke Beardon

    Chapter Fourteen – The Moulin Rouge and the Rouge Moulin: Language, Cartesianism, Republicanism and the Construct of Autism in France
    Peter Crosbie

    Chapter Fifteen – Support on whose Terms? Competing Meanings of Support Aimed at Autistic People
    Hanna Bertilsdotter Rosqvist, Damian Milton and Lindsay O´Dell

    Chapter Sixteen – Critical Autism Parenting
    Mitzi Walz

    Chapter Seventeen – "Even though I’m on the Spectrum, I’m still capable of falling in love": A Bourdieusian Analysis of Representations of Autism and Sexuality on Love on the Spectrum
    Allison Moore

    Chapter Eighteen – Seeking Sunflowers: The Biopolitics of Autism at the Airport
    Katherine Runswick-Cole and Dan Goodley

    Part Four: Practice

    Chapter Nineteen – Autistic Identity, Culture, Community, and Space for Well-being
    Chloe Farahar

    Chapter Twenty – Contemplating Teacher Talk through a Critical Autism Studies Lens
    Nick Hodge, Patty Douglas, Madeleine Kruth, Stephen Connolly, Nicola Martin, Kendra Gowler, and Cheryl Smith

    Chapter Twenty-one - Models of Helping and Coping with Autism
    Steven K. Kapp

    Chapter Twenty-two – Critical Approaches to Autism Support Practice: Engaging Situated Reflection and Research
    Joseph Long

    Chapter Twenty-three – From Disempowerment to Wellbeing and Flow: Enabling Autistic Communication in Schools
    Rebecca Wood

    Chapter Twenty-four - Autistic Voices in Autistic Research: Towards Active Citizenship in Autism Research
    Krysia Emily Waldock and Nathan Keates


    Damian Milton is a Senior Lecturer in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities at the Tizard Centre, University of Kent. Damian’s interest in autism began when his son was diagnosed in 2005 as autistic aged 2 and he was diagnosed with Asperger’s in 2009 aged 36. Damian’s primary focus is on increasing the meaningful participation of autistic people and people with learning disabilities in the research process and chairs the Participatory Autism Research Collective (PARC).

    Sara Ryan is a Professor of Social Care, Manchester Metropolitan University. Her research focuses on autism, learning disabilities, and marginalised groups.