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Jackie Schuld Art Therapy Blog

You Have to Risk Being Wrong If You Write About Neurodiversity

Sometimes I get jealous of the other science fields. My friend, who is a biomechanical engineer, told me that new advancements in the field often start with exciting studies that lead to new theories.

Psychology isn’t typically that way. Since it is the study of the human mind and all of its thoughts, processes, and subsequent emotion. It’s a lot harder to start with new studies. Typically, advancements in the psychology field start with new theories and treatments that are then studied. Sometimes, the theories cannot even be studied. For example, we cannot study if there really is an “id, ego, and superego” per Freud’s theories. In these cases, these theories sometimes lead to different treatments. These treatments can then be studied. Sometimes the efficacy of these treatments then determines if the theory is robust or not.

This is a photo of a mixed medium painting with pink, purple, blue and teal tones by artist Jackie Schuld.
Mixed Medium Painting by Jackie Schuld

Hopefully, I haven’t lost you by now.

The point is, advancements in the psychology field start with people taking risks, with people asserting a theory or idea.

Right now, the field of neurodiversity is expanding rapidly as more and more neurodiverse people share their lived experiences and perspectives. Even the word “neurodiverse” is constantly evolving in its definition (you can read about that in my essay Us vs. Them).

Given how much the field is exploding, the science is not keeping up. There isn’t as much “scientifically valid” information or studies available to back up the claims we are making.

When I write about my perspectives on autism, I am writing based on a conglomeration of my personal experiences as an autistic, what I’ve observed with my autistic clients, the books I have read, and the continuing education classes I have taken.

A PhD student once wrote to me and asked if I could provide her with the scientific sources used for one of my essays. I didn’t have any. I understand that must be frustrating. We all want clarity and certainty. We just don’t have it yet.

And so to write as a neurodiverse writer right now means to risk being wrong. Our perspectives and opinions may be debunked in the future. New theories and science may evolve that make far better sense than the current ones we have.

That is a risk I am willing to take. It is a risk many of us must be willing to take if we want to get to the new theories and the new science.

And if you’re one of the people actually doing the science, thank you. Let us know how we can support the work you’re doing because we need more of it.


Thank you for reading. If you’d like to read more, sign up for my FUNletter. If you would like to explore your autistic identity with an autistic therapist, you can learn more about my therapy services here.


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