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I’m long overdue for one of these … here we go.
The question came up somewhere of “what is something you find interesting in your field”. But I’m one of those arseholes who has a number of fields (admittedly, though, they do coincide – as one of those fields, actually – but that’s another story!). My fields are archaeology, engineering physics, mathematics education, educational psychology, applied ethno-psychology and autism studies. Here we go!


1- archaeology:
The fact that I could go to the village my mother grew up in and – using archaeological principles – determine the reasons for the shift in economic centre of the village and the corresponding shift in the social centre of the village based on the changing landscape, the architectural styles differences and the South Yorkshire Mining Advisory Service’s archives; it was all down to mining – firstly with a small number of bell pits in the Top Field, and eventually a properly-industrial full-scale mining operation; previously an agrarian local economy, with a couple of farriers needing better fuel for furnaces, and latterly a very strong connection to the railway and the movement of coal to power stations on MGR trains (merry-go-round).


2- engineering physics:
The fact that I was able to go into quantum Bayesianism before quantum Bayesianism was a fucking thing! I’d been investigating the behaviour of word prediction systems on a computer whilst learning how to get this shit to call people ‘wankers’ (because – you know, non-orative people’s everyday speech needs), and it hit me that every key stroke as the software was learning words would eventually lead to the prediction of letters and then words based on the empirical probability of that letter leading to that word being used. Using a concept called a ‘decision to inspect’, it was a very short leap to then using Schrödinger’s objection to the Born interpretation of quantum mechanics as a way into investigating the nature of parallel universes since every presenting option from the word prediction software represented a separate universe, and all these universes were coexisting as probable outcomes (based on the many outcomes of previous ‘decisions to inspect’). Complex probabilities allow for the existence of a number of such universes to exist in parallel and the decision to inspect leads to all probability vectors collapsing to purely imaginary (1.0i) bar the one event that actually is realised (with the probability vector collapsing to entirely real: p = 1.0). These universes present all the time and only become evident on a decision to inspect (which is really an act of choice on the part of the person involved in the inspection). Any probable outcome set can be computed for any number of stages in the future using Markov chains but, as decisions to inspect are acted on, these probable outcome sets will change based on the outcomes of those decisions made previously. The applications in physics here are obvious, but there are also applications in psychology, archaeology, anthropology and other sciences in which mathematical models and methods are now finding good homes.


3- mathematics education:
The fact that you can use a thin rubber sheet to explain why the imaginary number i (and its real-number multiples) can exist, with the outcome that real numbers are just complex numbers with trivial imaginary components and that imaginary numbers are just complex numbers with trivial real components. The clue here is that – just because the graph of f(x): x -> x² + 1 does not reach the x-axis in the _real_ part of the domain, the corresponding pattern of behaviour of the elements in the imaginary part of the domain does indeed cross the x-axis in the _imaginary_ part of that domain. This gives us a saddle-point where the value of the first partial derivative of the function (as a complex function) is 0. The x(Im)-y plane shows the inverted parabola crossing the x(Im) axis at -i and +i. Fucking gorgeous!


4- educational psychology:
The fact that too many people really do not have a fucking clue what they are talking about when they go on about ‘ABA’, and that needs to fucking stop. Like, NOW. ABA – applied behaviour analysis – is a form of experimental method by which claims about teaching methods in the real world can be assessed for validity. That is entirely it. It is not a therapy. It is not a fucking torture method. It is a way of doing science in applied settings. People need to fucking deal with this. And yet it is a topic that people prefer to remain completely ignorant about purely because it allows them to hate on people. Taking that path is anti-science in the same way that anti-vaccinationism is anti-science: an intentional misunderstanding leading to the invoking of hatred … yes, that means it leads to a fucking hate crime, folks. If someone claiming to do ABA or any kind of behaviour therapy is causing harm … look up their credentials, their code of practice and their ethics code, and any association to which they claim to belong. Compare them to the code used by the Behaviour Analyst Certification Board. And then report them to whatever authorities will investigate. But don’t take that as evidence that ‘ABA is torture’ – because it fucking isn’t. The basis for people doing this: too much Dunning-Krugerism, confirmation bias and willingness to believe all claims made on the basis of no evidence to support them. This is why engaging in this ‘ABA-hate’ behaviour is entirely anti-science.


5- applied ethnopsychology:
The fact that organisational cultures in the organisations that make up a country’s system can be the cause of ill-health, both physically and mentally. Any organisation whose culture is based on restricted access to resources, in which access based on competition, and in which vulnerable groups must rely on self-protection because the culture of those organisations either exploits these groups or leaves them open to exploitation by other elements of the system … this is a sick culture that will cause these health problems because those kinds of values are counter-values: they undermine quality of life, and they lead to reactive problems such as reactive anxiety and reactive depression (against which medication will NOT be much use, since the cause is outwith the person!). Authoritarian AND Lassier-faire cultures are equally bad in this regard. Authoritative cultures are better – but I have yet to find one. Finland’s is definitely authoritarian and the UK’s has become increasingly so. The rate of suicides in Finland has traditionally been higher than most of the EU’s average, and is also higher than Norden’s average. The problem cannot therefore be blamed on seasonal affective disorder – since Sweden and Norway would have broadly similar rates to those seen in Finland. They do not. Finland came in the bottom decile on empathy scores on a world empathy mapping. Finnish social workers have been found – in a lot of Nordic research on social work in Norden – to be the worst in Norden. Practices are typically authoritarian: they choose, and you don’t; they decide, you have no part in the process.


6- autism studies:
The fact that the meme about ‘everybody being a little bit on the spectrum’ is a fucked-up mix of right and wrong. Autism is diagnosed on the basis of behavioural traits that are expressed to certain intensities, with certain frequencies and for certain durations. For some people, the expression of these traits – in any kind of cluster that could be identified as ‘autistic’ (because the individual traits are not necessarily only expressed in autistic people!) – may lead to a score in the top 25% on a given scale. They may lead to a person being given a score in the middle 50% of scores on that scale. They may lead to a person obtaining a score lying in the bottom 25% of scores on that scale. And this is where the issue of diagnostics comes in: because it’s not enough to just check of stuff on a list and call that a diagnosis: it is not. Unless you understand stuff about incidence and prevalence and error types and other statistical stuff, you do not have the expertise to diagnose. Period. Using, for example, the ASQ50 (developed and researched by the Cambridge team led by Simon Baron-Cohen), we could determine a diagnostic classification based on the likelihood of the person actually being autistic, or of being ‘autistoid’ (AKA broader autistic phenotype) or simply not being autistic (at least to any significant extent). And it is this _significance_ that is important: things can be non-significant, statistically (but not clinically) significant or clinically significant (in which difficulties present persistently in two or more different settings). And this is usually determined by a difference between any two scores that is 0, 1 or 2+ standard deviations. Well – these numbers – 0, 1 and 2 – give us a great and simple way to classify the extent to which someone is on the spectrum: 0 (not significantly), 1 (statistically significantly) and 2 (clinically significantly). Because of the way in which traits are expressed, then, it is clear that almost anyone could be seen to be ‘on the spectrum somewhere’ – even though not everyone can be seen as being autistic. And there is definitely a difference. The odd thing is that the phrase ‘everyone is … etc’ tends to be used to minimise experiences, and this is wrong. But the idea that ‘one is either autistic or one is not’ is also wrong.


And there it all is. Not all great but interesting and important. I hope to be writing on these topics in greater detail as individual blogs shortly. has a habit of invoking its Be Nice Be Respectful policy on the wrong people. On the one hand, it will allow trolls to ask insensitive and provocative questions aimed at causing disturbance, as well as allowing abusive people to continue to abuse the people they have previously abused by refusing to acknowledge their guilt in that abuse.

This is just one example of many I could cite.

Narcissistic abuser Magnus Van Agteren gave what was a blatantly victim-blaming answer to a question. And I did the proper thing – which was to remind him that his answer shows that he has refused to accept that he is the abuser and that was his choice to lie to and emotionally manipulate his victims.

He went off crying to mummy, didn’t he?

And I got a message from Quora’s moderators – who seem more sympathetic towards someone openly blaming his victims than to understanding why it is important to make sure that such abusers remember that they chose to abuse, and that the blame is not to be placed on their victims. In saying what he said, Van Agteren is essentially saying – by extension – that a rape victim is to blame for being raped.

Quora seems to do this a lot.

Why does prefer to support and legitimise abuse from such people?


Well … this goes to show that Fb care more about image than users.
This went up on 28th Sept, 2018 and – lo and behold – the lad gets his profile back!

It might, however, have something to do with the fact that I sent them the link to this blog.

The fact of the profile being unlocked now so soon suggests to me that they knew they were committing an offence of harassment – they certainly did not contest the charge in their email to me. In this email, they thank me ‘for working with (them) to get this resolved’ … I worked with them last year to get this resolved. Same thing: proof of name, same explanation. What did it this time?

This blog. Because their behaviour became public knowledge.

So – the profile is now back with me, in my gaidhlig name. But I shall leave this here as a resource for others who have been wronged similarly on the basis of this particular policy.


So – this missive is going to Fb. The numbers refer to evidentiary screenshots.

This is my passport. I should NOT have been waiting this long or be having to send
this. A perfectly clear photograph was sent months ago.

This shows my name: David Nicholas Andrews.
This shows my date of birth: 22 July 1962
It shows that I am British by nationality.

I am Scottish. My mother was born there and I am therefore, like she is, Scottish.
In Scotland, three languages are spoken: Scottish English, Scots leid and Scottish gaelic (gaidhlig)

My name in gaidhlig is Dàibhidh Mac Niocail Mac Aindreais. Whilst I am not a fluent speaker of
gaidhlig, it is nonetheless a language in which I sing – 999(759). It is part of my cultural background.

In about 2008-9, a friend built me a page, which had my name in English on it – 999(758). I felt that this would confuse people because, at the time, that page was not under my control, and anybody looking me up might have tried to contact me through there. Someone did: John Best Jr, on Facebook as John Best – 999(2156).

Best was abusive – 999(757). He has a history of being abusive towards me and any other autistic adult on the internet – 999(2151, 2152, 2153, 2155). He has also a history of abusing non-adult autistic people, and my child is – like me – autistic. She has a profile on Fb and he would find her and abuse her if he could – my job as a parent is to prevent that. By using my name in gaidhlig (AND having my name in English in brackets beside it!), I was both avoiding confusions AND preventing Best and his ilk from finding my child and abusing her the way they do me.

I have done nothing wrong to deserve my profile being deactivated. I was not dishonest about who I am. And yet, for protecting my child, you arbitrarily punish me. You have not even told me of ANY infraction that could bring this about.

Given that there are many people by the name of Dàibhidh on Facebook – 999(4240) – including people who have their names in gaidhlig for cultural reasons – 999(1010), it is hard to believe that the use of my name in gaidhlig could be against community standards or be in breach of anything else. This leads me to conclude that your action against me is either a personal act of harassment or Facebook acting on behalf of an
anti-vaccinationist. Both of these acts are criminal offences in the vast majority of jurisdictions.

With this in mind, I am requiring that you either:
1- prove that a wrong-doing is linked to this deactivation
2- restore to me my profile forthwith.

I should warn you: this letter is an open letter: many hundreds of thousands will read it. It will create a very bad impression of Facebook as an organisation that harasses autistic people on behalf of anti-vaccinationists.

You do not deserve my best wishes,
David N. Andrews
Dàibhidh Mac Niocail Mac Aindreais

Not very much a fan of Facebook these days – very arbitrary and evil in their behaviour; I remember them being swift to over-act in cases where pro-vaccinationists made a non-abusing/non-threatening comment in response to (usually abusing) posts/comments by anti-vaccinationists … this does rather give the impression that its moderators are themselves anti-vaccinationists or at least AV sympathisers. Zuckerberg might have got his kid vaccinated but his staff are most likely not doing so. This makes them, of course, a very serious public health danger. Also – we have no proof that the baby Zuckerberg posed with was actually his child. Their recent behaviour in Facebook casts doubt on the legitimacy of any claims made by Facebook regarding – well – anything these days.

A-evidence that what is happening in my case clearly is not reasonable:
A FORMER police officer has won a victory over Facebook after the social media giant decided his Gaelic name was “not real”. Gavin McGowan was outraged when he failed to log in to his Facebook account using the same Gaelic version of his name – Gabhan Mac A Ghobhainn – that has worked for four years.
Good on you, Gabhan!

B- 29th Sept. 2018

I have written to a journalist at the Scotsman to highlight the lack of consistency in Facebook’s policy implementation, which is a sign of how little they actually care about their users: they do not care whom they hurt or harm. What happened to Gabhan above happened TWO FULL YEARS before Facebook held my profile to ransom – I still don’t have it back. I attempted to do what Gabhan did but Facebook no longer allows the public to contact it electronically, it seems. They seem to have resented having been stung and have closed off an avenue of redress. They do not want to be fair or reasonable to their users, clearly.


SIT-REP – 23 Feb 2018

So – the situation just now.

1- After nearly twenty years of local authority refusal to assess for – and draw up – a disability support plan, a meeting was held at my house in which the point was made that my life has evolved into a mess because of the lack of an adequate support plan; and, in the first half-year after this meeting, I am still waiting for the process fo start.

The very people whose job includes helping the client to write the application for this assessment and plan are the very social workers who are refusing to even consider that such an assessment is necessary – despite the fact that my disability rating went from 40% on entry to Finland to the current 60% after 19 years of this abuse.

2- After two and a half years of battling with my GPs, I got an assessment and diagnosis for heart failure, not otherwise specified. My GPs had refused to refer because of normal CXR, even though my heart was in clinically-observable cardiomegaly in the first CXR), ECG and BNP result. The problem here is this: the GPs in question are Finnish and lack the continued education that is required for registration maintenance in the UK. Had they had this sort of education, they would know the following: that the BNP test is very non-specific, and is not therefore useful for ruling out HF; that the BNP test needs three BMI groups in order to have any screening utility, since there are three cut-off levels necessary for three BMI groups (lean people – 165 units; over-weight people – 100 units; obese people – 54; all of these cut-offs give a sensitivity of 0.90 and a specificity of 0.70 – a sensitivity of 0.90 means that the test will give a correct positive result nine times out of ten positive results but a specificity of 0.70 means that the same test will give an incorrect negative result three times in every ten negative results … not very good as a test, really). My BMI is 44 and I had BNP test results in the 70s and 80s. These are all above the 54 units cut-off below which one can rule out systolic hear failure.

3- My previously mild/sub-clinical OCD has, because of the 19yr stress package that is Finland’s health & social welfare, employment services and education systems, become moderate to the point where it now needs a diagnosis. Thankfully, the psychiatrist at the hospital understood the situation well. The hospital stuff and the public health care stuff are not run by the same people: public health care is under the control of local authorities.

4- There is no fourth item just yet. Going to publish this now, and edit when I have time.

My worst university horror stories are – surprise, surprise – Finland-based.

Don’t get me wrong – in the UK, when I lived there, the lack of all appropriate diagnoses in childhood fucked me over for a full-time place at university. But, at least back then, it was possible to go to university half-time, get disabled student allowances on a pro-rata basis, and study for a degree part time whilst on benefits at any local university. Bit different now, but there is still that paragon of educational socialism, the Open University, which provides a marvellous educational opportunity for people like me to get an education par excellence as non-traditional students. I am a UK citizen.

(But … fuck you, Finland!)

After working my fucking arse off for years, in 2001, I got a place at the University of Birmingham to study for a M. Ed., which I chose to study based tightly on the then-current practitioner qualification in educational psycholgy – the British Psychological Society’s Diploma in Educational Psychology. Everything in my M. Ed. is mapped spectacularly well onto the currriculum for the Dip. Ed. Psychol., and this can be demonstrated well.

In 2006, having studied two qualifications over a period of five years (with a disability rating at that time of 40%), I came away with a Master of Education degree that was awarded ‘with Distinction’. So, you’d think that this would be acceptable to a university anywhere in the EU, because of the Bologna Treaty on the recognition of qualifications within the EU, right?

(Well – fuck you, Finland, for signing and ratifying and then ignoring this treaty.)

So, having achieved high distinction in my degree, I inquired (didn’t even apply yet!) about doctoral studies in the psychology of education at the University of Jyväskylä, here in Finland. I read carefully the university psychology department’s project description and planned my proposal (per the university’s guidelines), with a view to going doctoral on ‘motivated learning, learning difficulties and later educational transitions’. My main research question was:

“How can Finnish Higher Education Institutions be modified to better include Asperger-autistic students and thereby facilitate the inclusion of such students into wider society after graduation via entry into work-life?”

I aimed to answer this by investigating the answers to the following questions, each of which would result in a publilshed paper:

1- What issues that lead to learning difficulties are faced by Asperger-autistic students in higher education settings in Finland? What factors combine to give rise to these issues, and how are they explained by traditional or current Finnish expertise?

2- For those issues that lead to the experience of learning difficulty, what has been offered to compensate and/or remediate for such difficulties? What has been the dominant paradigm (as seen from the occupational psychological perspective) in working with such students? Is it FPJ¹ (FSI²) or FJP (FIS)?

3- When such remediations/compensations have been implemented for the Asperger-autistic student, what has been the outcome for such students? Has the intervention been useful or has it made matters worse? Either way, how?

4- What, if any, sorts of intervention would have better served the interests of Asperger-autistic students in pursuance of their desired academic qualifications and, ultimately, their work-life outcomes?

¹ Fitting Person to Job or vice versa
² Fitting Student to Institution or vice versa

What I will say now, because it was the basis for this line of research, is that Finnish HEIs are pretty shite at dealing with making accommodations for students with specific learning/developmental difficulties. I found this out by experience and practitioner research over the eight years I’d been living in Finland by this time, and had lectured on the topic in 2005 at the University of Tampere (“Accessibility, equality and effective support measures – a focus on ways in which Higher Education Institutions can support Asperger-autistic students in learning and assessment settings.”). Students in schools at all levels who had specific learning or developmental difficulties were routinely shoved into the special education ‘dustbin’ class-room where nothing was expected and nothing got done. In total, five-ninths of my work for my M. Ed. dealt with this particular matter. Yep, I did a taught master’s degree entirely by original research. Go me.

You’d think that this would be a good background for getting to go doctoral, right? Well … I sent my inquiry to the relevant professor, just to see if a supervisor could be found (here, you have to find the supervisor before you start your application … and now I know why: it makes it practically impossible for non-Finnish-citizen students to get into Finnish universities to research for post-graduate degrees).

I emailed this professor at 8pm that evening, with a study profile, and copies of my psychological testing level, and my degree certificate – as well as the 5-page proposal required by the university, to show that I was capable and interested enough to want to go through with this. By 8.45pm, I had a response. In this response, he:

a- got my fucking name wrong;
b- got the name of the syndrome wrong;
c- demonstrated clearly that he hadn’t fucking read my proposal by stating that I should ‘try some medical faculty’!

He managed to commit these three fuck-ups inside two sentences and a fucking salutation.

And the worst of this is that he was the one (out of a number of professors in different universities) who wrote back: the ones at Helsinki didn’t even do that!

I’ve been here for nearly two decades and there’s more where this came from, going from public health care (e. g., having to fight with GPs for 2½yrs to get an assessment for – and dx – of heart failure) to social services (e. g., fighting for nearly two decades to get a proper support plan and STILL any support beyond what everybody gets still being entirely on a discretionary basis).

Can anybody spell ‘client abuse’? And – given the attitudes of HEIs here towards foreigners (I’m by no means the only foreigner who’s experienced this shite) – is it any wonder this shit goes on?

Click link:



I am fucking raging.
This bollocksing about costs people their fucking lives, and there’s nobody in government taking steps to stop this shit.
Read this article:

Anybody notice this?:
Meanwhile, the alternative-medicine schools that are accredited by the federal government are dismayed by the explosion of untrained and uncertified operators.

“They are using smoke and mirrors to confuse people by not disclosing the truth behind their accrediting agencies and their institutions,” said Dr. Jane Guiltinan, a naturopathic clinical professor at Seattle’s Bastyr University, one of the five schools of naturopathy that are accredited by a federally recognized institution.

Guiltinan is president of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP), an organization that requires that its members graduate from a four-year accredited college.

“To argue that you don’t have to have any training for diagnosing or treating patients is absurd,” she said.

Isn’t that just fucking bullshitters calling bullshitters ‘bullshitters’ because they’re not peddling bullshit using a diploma bought from an accredited diploma mill rather than one of the ordinary ones?! Fucking absurd as fuck, that is.

No wonder the public has its fucking hands full trying to tell what’s bollocks and what isn’t.

And here’s the fucking thing that gets me all fucking stabby just now:

It really doesn’t matter whether someone took a four-year bachelor degree before training as a pissing naturopath… except that, if it was a degree in science, some fucking bellend spent time and money doing a degree that they were going to use as bog roll before studying for a fucking fake degree – in a fake fucking subject – that deserves to be used for wiping the shit off an angry arse.

There’s absolutely fuck-all difference between the AANP and ANMA … regional board accreditation means fucking nothing for the validity of any of the treatments that get used by these twatbastards … because it’s ALL naturopathy and it’s ALL fucking bollocks.

If the AANP were THAT fucking bothered about validity for anything, it should be focussed on the treatments themselves. Not on whether someone’s in AANP or not. They should started teaching the proper principles of evidence/science-based medicine. That way, at the end of a four-year ‘doctoral’ ‘degree’ course, what ‘graduates’ would come away realising would be this:

1- I just spent two years of my life learning a bunch of useless fucking horse-shite.
2- I then spent another two fucking years doing a research project in controlled practice, only to find out that what I learned in the first two years of this fucking programme was utter fucking horse-shite.
3- I’ve just spent tens of thousands of dollars on this fucking programme and I’m left in a fucking position of STILL not knowing what I can do to fucking help anybody.
4- It’s time that places like Bastyr University got burned to the fucking ground, along with all the bollocks they fucking teach.

It’s NOT ‘alternative medicine’: it’s alternatives to medicine and it’s ALL fucking bollocks. And it’s costing people their fucking lives – and not a single fucking politician in government is doing a fucking thing about it anymore. Health freedom, my fucking fat, hairy, Scottish arse. Freedom to die a fucking unnecessary death, more like.

I have so much of an issue with the whole AS v. ‘classic’/Kanner autism thing. Mostly because the people using the distinction tend to be parents who for some reason are rejecting what is properly understood in the science about what Asperger syndrome actually is.

The only proper way to understand it is using set theory. Without a good grounding in that, everybody is at a high risk of getting it totally wrong.

Let A = {all humans}
Let B = {all humans who are on the autism spectrum}
Let C = {all humans on the autism spectrum diagnosable with Asperger syndrome}
Let D = {all humans on the autism spectrum diagnosable with autism}

We shall see that the union of sets C and D is a proper subset on set B, which is a proper subset on A: C ∪ D ⊆ B, and B ⊆ A.

Those sets further to the left are included in those sets further to the right.

Now it’s going to get confusing: the DSM IV criteria for Asperger syndrome required that – in order to diagnose Asperger syndrome – the diagnostician could not better explain what was going on with the examinee using the criteria for ‘autistic disorder’. So, in order to diagnose 299.80, one had to exclude 299.00 (in ICD 10 terms, one had to exclude F84.0 before one could diagnose F84.5)

This is problematic, and here is why: in DSM IV and DSM IV-TR, the criteria for 299.80 were themselves a proper subset on the criteria for 299.00; in other words, the very act of diagnosing Asperger syndrome was also an act of diagnosing autism — purely because of this set relation of 299.80 ⊆ 299.00! Because F84.5 ⊆ F84.0, the same phenomenon presents for the case of ICD 10. In either case, diagnosing Asperger syndrome will necessarily be diagnosing autism. And, because the criteria for Asperger syndrome in both systems were proper subsets on those for autism generally, it was (and still is, for ICD 10) impossible to reject the less specific diagnosis of 299.00/F84.0 in favour of 299.80/F84.5  – meaning that Asperger syndrome is a diagnostic impossibility.

Sally Ozonoff and her colleagues assessed the children in Asperger’s study according to the criterion sets 299.00 and 299.80, and found that 299.80 could not be diagnosed; the children were diagnosable under 299.00 only. As I understand it, a similar situation comes about under ICD 10 with F84.5 versus F84.0 (I’d need to find that reference again, though, in order to be completely sure).

Now – back to the set theory stuff. Are sets C and D truly different sets of people? Based on the above diagnostic issue, you’d probably think not; since 299.80 and F84.5 are proper subsets respectively on 299.00 and F84.5, the Asperger diagnoses are de facto autism diagnoses. Set C is, in fact, a subset on set D; but it is a null (empty) set, since Asperger syndrome cannot be diagnosed without the examinee also fulfilling the criteria for being autistic generally.

TL:DR – the names Kanner and Asperger mean nothing: it is ALL autism.

My first blog article for a long time, and this is something I feel extremely passionate about – and my language here tends to reflect that. It goes a bit Billy Connolly – Stephen Fry.

Hmmm …. Well, I’m not sure.

What I would say is this – that autistic people can become experts on autism, but we’re not experts purely because we’re autistic. Expertise is more than just being autistic or dyslexic or whatever. There’s serious marshalling of skills involved in developing expertise. Wasn’t until I started my studies that I found this out…. how little I actually understood compared to what I understand now.

As for autistic people being the ONLY experts on autism – fuck, no.

That’s just fucking arrogant and potentially Dunning-Krugerish. If someone diagnosed with cancer said ‘Well, I have this cancer so I am the only sort of person who could be called an expert’, we’d look at them and think ‘Fuck off!’.

I’m autistic. I’m also a psychologist who has specialised in autism issues across the life span. Before I started my studies, was I any sort of expert on autism, purely by virtue of being autistic? Fuck no. When I finished my B. A. Sc.-equivalence – was I an expert then, purely by virtue of being autistic? Again, no. Did my studies help? A bit. What about having gone through postgraduate training? Am I an expert on autism? Someone thinks so – I’m an associate editor for a journal dealing with autism practice. Does my being autistic make me that expert? Yet again – not a chance. Does my training make me an expert? Well, it gives me some level of expertise, but I don’t bloody feel like I’m an expert. I feel less of an expert NOW than I ever felt before I started my studies. At this point, I should refer people to Dunning & Kruger and their paper:

J Pers Soc Psychol. 1999 Dec;77(6):1121-34.
Unskilled and unaware of it: how difficulties in recognizing one’s own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessments.
Kruger J!, Dunning D.

¹ Department of Psychology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853-7601, USA.

People tend to hold overly favorable views of their abilities in many social and intellectual domains. The authors suggest that this overestimation occurs, in part, because people who are unskilled in these domains suffer a dual burden: Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it. Across 4 studies, the authors found that participants scoring in the bottom quartile on tests of humor, grammar, and logic grossly overestimated their test performance and ability. Although their test scores put them in the 12th percentile, they estimated themselves to be in the 62nd. Several analyses linked this miscalibration to deficits in metacognitive skill, or the capacity to distinguish accuracy from error. Paradoxically, improving the skills of participants, and thus increasing their metacognitive competence, helped them recognize the limitations of their abilities.
There is nothing about being autistic that protects any of us on the spectrum from metacognitive deficits – indeed, there is sound research that shows that we, too, are as prone to this problem as non-autistics – maybe even more prone. This doesn’t mean that we’re inferior: it just means that we are bloody human, too. Whilst ever we are, outwith any educational interventions, prone to metacognitive deficits in the same way as non-autistic people are … we cannot seriously expect (nor should we!) to be taken seriously when we make stupid statements like “the only autism experts are autistic people”. Because – given what ‘expert’ means – we are not ever going to be experts without having any bloody education or training that helps us to put our experiences into some kind of proper epistemological framework.

Know who else says “We’re the only experts because of our experiences”? Antivaccinationists.

And we know how ‘credible’ _they_ are.

No. We are not experts ‘purely by experience’; and we are not the only experts on autism. And, whilst ever any of us go around making that sort of statement, nobody is ever going to take us seriously. I cannot in all honesty get behind that sort of crass statement.

Stressed, depressed, anxious, lonely, embittered and exhausted.

And that’s only the first six things that come to mind.


As of Wednesday 17th September, 2014 …. the situation is no better. If anything, it is worse.