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The Role of Cultural Differences in Autism

The Role of Cultural Differences in Autism

When learning about culture, really we are learning to look beyond surface deep. Cutural awareness you could argue is about possibilities not limits.

It is this very same thinking picked up by a piece in Scientific American entitled, "How Cultural Differences Affect Autism Diagnoses".

The co-authored guest blog neatly lays out examples of why and how in the USA autism is identified and diagnosed according to cultural programming. Behaviour seen as pointing to autism can and is seen in other cultures as perfectly normal, even desirable or polite!

"For very young children, diagnostic screenings are based on parental perceptions of behaviors, including their child’s tendency to establish eye contact, to form relationships with others, to reach milestones in language development, and to display certain repetitive motor and play behaviors."

Immediately those who have studied culture will see the potential pit-falls here. Behaviours such as eye contact, how we interact, non-verbal communication, etc can all be, and are, interpreted in different ways by different people in different cultures.

Is it therefore correct that some children are misdiagnosed based on cultural misperception?

The article is worth considering as one can draw many parallels with it. Whether in business or on holiday, sometimes we completely misunderstand behaviours based on seeing them through our own cultural lenses.

 

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