We spoke with autistic academics Richard Woods, Kathryn Williams, and C.A. Watts about their recently published letter explaining why “profound autism” bungles the support needs of autistic people with co-occurring conditions, and will endanger autistic lives.
The term ‘profound autism’ is not particularly useful, as “many autistic people who do not have the characteristics the authors focus on have significant support needs, and support needs can be radically different across different domains, social contexts, and time.”
Disabled people deserve access to the supports they need, whether due to autism or to co-occurring conditions. Just as squares are not more quadrilateral than trapezoids—they are all four-sided shapes–there is no such thing as “profound autism.”
The term “profound autism” is not very useful to parents like me, or autistic people like my son. Instead, parents need connection with the communities who understand our kids’ high-support traits, like the disability and non-speaking communities—in addition to the wider autistic community.