Theories Serve to Guide Us

Filed Under (Autism Theories) by Estee on 05-10-2010

I enjoy listening to Uta Frith. I appreciate her ability to balance the way she views cognitive theories that help us “guide” us to answers. Also, I like when she states “explaining the causes [of autism] is not everything….we need to understand what it means.” Yes, we need to understand what it means to be autistic. We can only know and come to understand this by engaging with autistic people. Also, parents have so much to contribute via anecdotal accounts of how our children engage with us and how we come to view autsm by living with our children day-to-day. We all have something to contribute to the scientific process.

One thing to remember is the next time a news report states “a new study links…” which is something we seem to hear almost weekly, that this study is more than likely a theory; another stepping stone to understanding autism and our amazing children. Thinking of human difference, I thought I’d share this quote I found:

“An individual having unusual difficulties in coping with his environment struggles and kicks up the dust, as it were. I have used the figure of a fish caught on a hook; his gyrations must look peculiar to other fish that don’t understand his circumstances: but his splashes are not his affliction, they are an effort to get rid of his affliction and as every fisherman knows, these effects may succeed.”
— Karl Mennenger

Of course, I don’t view autism as an affliction, however, I do appreciate the effort of autistic people to manage the environment. I view it as natural to Adam who must do certain things to make himself comfortable again.


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About Me


I’m a PhD candidate at York University, Critical Disability Studies, with a multi-disciplinary background in the arts as a curator and writer. I am the Founder of The Autism Acceptance Project (, and an enamoured mother of my only son who lives with the autism label. I like to write about our journey, critical issues regarding autism in the area of human rights, law, and social justice, as well as reflexive practices in (auto)ethnographic writing about autism.