Education in the neurodiversity paradigm, the neurodiversity movement, and Autistic culture

The Autistic Collaboration Trust in collaboration with S23M Healthcare Solutions is offering in-depth education in the neurodiversity paradigm, the neurodiversity movement, and Autistic culture based on our unique database of lived experiences. 

In one of our recent education workshops community members and clinicians concluded:

Your own quality of life as a service provider will improve if you fight for systemic changes. Advocate for the wellbeing of neurodivergent patients, and we will also support your fight for better working conditions. We can jointly gather data and insights from all sides, and jointly engage with governing bodies who don’t have the capability of doing transdisciplinary grassroots research.

The objectives of the Autistic and neurodiversity civil rights movements overlap significantly with the interests of those who advocate for greater levels of cultural and psychological safety in the workplace and in society in general. In the workplace the topics of cultural and psychological safety are relevant to all industries and sectors.

Committed allies of the neurodiversity movement such as Dr. Zoe Raos (Te Āti Awa), a gastroenterologist in Waitematā, Tāmaki Makaurau, are starting to speak up about the lack of cultural and psychological safety for Autistic patients and colleagues.

Education on these topics is essential for addressing entrenched problems of lacking cultural and psychological safety in the workplace, and corresponding problems of lacking cultural and psychological safety in local communities. We need systemic change. We are all in this together – neurodivergent people, everyone else, and the organisations that we are part of and participate in.

The AutCollab Education Team

  • Jorn Bettin, Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Dr Juanita Fernando, Australia
  • Christyanne Gaspar, United States

We offer professional education courses of varying lengths that can be delivered on-site, online, or in mixed formats, including self-paced learning modules, interactive lectures and workshops, and facilitated asynchronous workshops and Q&A sessions via suitable online tools.

All our education courses are tailored for specific audiences:

  1. In-depth education for healthcare professionals
  2. In-depth education for teachers, education professionals, and parents of school age children
  3. Introductory courses for professionals in other industries

All our education courses are based on Autistic lived experiences and on our intersectional participatory research, very different from education about neurodiversity in the language of the pathology paradigm, which mainly frames neurodivergent people from an external perspective, in terms of deficits relative to the current neuronormative culture, perhaps with a few special splinter skills thrown in for Feel Good Effect.


The neurodiversity paradigm

Education about the neurodiversity paradigm is not the same as education about neurodiversity. It answers an important question:

How does the mindset and language of the new paradigm differ from the language in the old paradigm?


  1. Motivation
  2. Terminology
  3. The social model of disability
  4. Dimensions of divergence from neuronormativity
  5. Intersectionality
  6. The communal definition of Autistic ways of being / Takiwātanga
  7. Anthropological background
  8. Exposing the cultural bias of normality
  9. Transdisciplinary understanding of human learning and wellbeing
  10. The connection between neurodiversity and creativity
  11. Ableism and lived experience
  12. Frequently asked questions

The neurodiversity movement

Education about the neurodiversity movement builds on the neurodiversity paradigm. It answers three important questions:

  • Why is there an urgent need for a paradigm shift?
  • Who is involved in the shift?
  • Who must learn from the neurodiversity movement?


  1. Historic background
  2. Cultural bias against creativity, critical thinking and transdisciplinary collaboration
  3. Behaviourism in parenting, education, workplaces, economics, and the sciences
  4. Disability in a sick society
  5. Cultural safety and the human rights perspective
  6. Psychological safety
  7. Autistic communities
  8. Towards comprehensive bans of conversion therapies
  9. Overcoming cultural inertia in a time of exponential change
  10. Design BY and WITH neurodivergent people
  11. Advice process
  12. Introduction to Open Space as a transformational tool
  13. Guidance for making good use of Open Space
  14. Critical thinking tools for creative experimentation

Autistic culture and lived experience

Education about Autistic culture builds on the results of the neurodiversity movement. It answers three important questions:

  • What is Autistic culture?
  • How does it relate to other cultures?
  • How does it relate to the neurodiversity movement?


  1. Autistic language
  2. Learning without imitation
  3. Autistic collaboration
  4. Competency networks
  5. Minimising misunderstandings
  6. Exposing social injustice
  7. Raising healthy children
  8. Creating thriving communities
  9. Towards mutual understanding and a better world
  10. Difference drives humanity forward
  11. Autistic clinicians, nurses, social workers, lawyers, accountants, scientists of all stripes, mathematicians, artists, musicians, engineers, and entrepreneurs
  12. Deep innovation
  13. Evolutionary design


Via our core team of neurodivergent educators and our extended global network we can delivery professional education in all time zones, and we have the capacity to support large numbers of learners in parallel.

Organisations that are committed to providing a genuinely inclusive and culturally and psychologically safe environment for staff / patients / whānau / families / customers /suppliers can inquire about available education courses and delivery formats via the the form below.


Discrimination against Autistic people is comparable to the level of discrimination against LGBTQIA+ people 50 years ago. The pathologisation of Autistic ways of being has led to the myths and the pseudo-science that powers the autism industrial complex.