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25 Sep '19

Who is Good Autism Practice Good for?

Posted by Charlene Tait in News

What constitutes good autism practice, is, to a large extent, subjective. There is a paradox that what are perceived as “good” outcomes do not always equate with “good” methods and approaches to practice. There are also challenges such as, who is it good for? Who is benefiting? What impact has there been on quality of life or health and happiness.

Ethics are a fundamental underpinning of practice. Our ethical principles need to take us beyond “do no harm” to reflective practice that challenges us to question “Am I doing any good?” This, for me, is where personalised rather than programme based, mechanistic approaches, come into their own.

I have long seen the contradiction between the acceptance that everyone with autism is an individual and the fervent development of programmes of intervention that target a particular aspect of autism, especially those that seek to minimise or eradicate “behaviours” that many autistic people feel are part of who there are as an individual.

This leads to further reflection on who should be the focus of an “intervention” that aims to change behaviour? Practitioner values and mindset are, I would argue, fundamental to establishing the support relationship in a way that doesn’t problematise autistic individuals. Recognising that practice is relational and transactional logically takes us to a place where practitioners as well as supported people should be a principle consideration in support planning.

There is a growing community of practitioners and organisations who see good autism practice in this way. Sharing in that dialogue and being open to challenge is, in my view, the cornerstone of good autism practice. Research and development in our field is so important but we must take account of what autistic people are telling us is important to them and be shaped by that, rather than seeking to reinforce tired paradigms and stereotypes that the autistic community tell us not only create barriers but, all too often, do harm.

Charlene Tait
Deputy Chief Executive, Scottish Autism

Forthcoming Events

If you would like to hear more knowledge updates and great practice here’s a couple of great professional development events:

“The Annual Autism Conference 2020”

Medica CPD are delighted to announce Internationally renowned expert on autism Brenda Smith Myles, will be the key note speaker at “The Annual Autism Conference 2020” on 28th Feb. Join us for a fantastic day of learning, knowledge updates, practical strategies and tips - so you can make a real difference to the children & young people you support with ASD.

For further information and to book visit: or call: 0141 638 4098

“Innovation in Autism Practice: The Future is Here”

On the 14th November, Scottish Autism are hosting “Innovation in Autism Practice: The Future is Here” Conference. For further information visit:

Awesome CPD Events for teachers, social care workers and health professionals.

Book now