Presentation to the Relevance Researchers' Network online. RECORDING OF THE FULL TALK AND ENSUING DISCUSSION AVAILABLE HERE: https://youtu.be/EuNTviwKuOI Abstract: Relevance theorists are well-versed in the role of mutual cognitive environments in ostensive-inferential communication. In my recently completed doctoral research, I investigated the role that faulty assumptions about what is mutually manifest might play in the breakdowns in mutual understanding between autistic and non-autistic people, otherwise known as the ‘double empathy problem’ (Milton, 2012). This talk introduces the theoretical background of my research and describes how the analysis of recorded, naturalistic conversations involving autistic and non-autistic interlocutors highlighted the potential importance of concepts such as flow, rapport and affect, and interest to a relevance theoretic account of utterance interpretation and social communication. Finally, this talk explores what these concepts might have in common and asks how, technically, they might relate to the construct of ‘relevance’?
Different ways of processing the sensory and social world lead to profoundly different experiences of the classroom. Understanding the roles of cognitive load and flow states in autistic wellbeing can make all the difference. Minds vary more than a lot of people realize. Some of us process the world very differently from others, and that does not mean we are broken or wrong. Autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD are developmental differences which can be disabling when needs aren’t met, but which usually come with strengths as well as weaknesses. The diversity of human brains makes us a much more interesting species, but how do we as teachers work with all these different kinds of minds?
Autism is still widely seen as mysterious – so much so that the most widely recognised symbol of it (unpopular in the autistic community) is a puzzle piece. Various psychological theories of autism haven’t helped all that much, largely because all of the most established ones leave vast swathes of autistic experience completely untouched, and tend to leave people with harmful misconceptions. The one theory I think comes anywhere close to explaining the whole shebang – monotropism – has been largely overlooked by psychologists. Full article: https://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/me-and-monotropism-unified-theory-autism