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A recent research paper on Autistic Flourishing, recommends five shifts to support this to happen:

  1. From Health to Well-Being: Instead of focusing solely on physical and mental health, the broader concept of well-being should be considered. This perspective acknowledges the importance of social and environmental factors in shaping disability.
  2. From Other-Defined to Self-Defined: The definition of a good life for Autistic individuals should primarily be determined by Autistic people themselves, moving away from normative life achievements.
  3. From the Big to the Small: Pay attention to the everyday concerns that make up the fabric of an Autistic person’s life, shifting from abstract, grand theories to practical, real-life experiences.
  4. From the Individual to the “Individual-in-Context”: Emphasize the role of the broader context in creating opportunities and challenges for Autistic individuals, understanding that difficulties are not solely inherent to the individual.
  5. From Researcher-Led to Autistic-Led: Autistic people and their allies should be actively involved in shaping the research agenda, from decision-making to interpretation of findings.

Pellicano, E., Heyworth, M. The Foundations of Autistic Flourishing. Curr Psychiatry Rep 25, 419–427 (2023).