Workshop on Subtyping Autism


You are invited to attend and submit abstracts for a workshop on subtyping autism.

Date and Location: 19th of November, 16.30 to 1900, London South Bank University (LSBU)

Prior to and after the publication of the 2013 DSM there was much controversy over whether Asperger’s syndrome should be removed from the diagnostic manual. Members of the neurodiversity movement made contributions to this debate, drawing upon their lived experience of being autistic and their knowledge of the ways in which being diagnosed can be (or is not) beneficial. This conference aims to consider the question of autism and subtypes more broadly. What benefits or disadvantages are there for autistic people in adding substantive subtypes to autism? It is commonly stated that autistic people can present in many different ways. Might subtypes help add accuracy and nuance to clinical pictures? On the other hand, the boundaries between subtypes are typically vague and they can be placed in multiple places. This raises the danger that they are arbitrary impositions which do not reflect autistic experience. This conference draws upon the experience of autistic people to help resolve these issues. Possible areas for discussion include whether self-understanding for those diagnosed would be increased through being diagnosed with a more specific subtype or if this would unhelpfully impose unnatural constraints? Would the non-autistic be better able to understand different ways autism can manifest if there are significant subtypes, or would it help perpetuate unhelpful stereotypes based on an imposed limited number of ways autism would be proposed to manifest? Would the neurodiversity movement benefit from the subtypes bringing greater focus upon different ways autism can manifest or would this lead to unhelpful fracturing of the autistic community?

Expressions of interest:
Participants are asked to speak on any aspect of subtyping autism. Presentations are twenty minutes in length and are followed by ten minutes of questions and answers. Please submit a 300 word abstract outlining your topic. Please email abstract with contact details (name and email address) to and by Sunday the 13th of October

Though all are invited to submit abstracts there is a special interest in individual autistic persons presenting. The conference will be held with the ethos of participatory research whereby autistic persons give their views upon important areas of autism research.

Speakers will be asked if they consent to their presentations being quoted for a book which is being written on alternative ways of conceptualising psychiatric diagnoses and you will have the option to decline; be credited for your contribution; or have your contribution anonymised through a pseudonym. Note that full anonymity through pseudonyms will be impossible given that participants will be presenting in public. It may therefore be possible for people who attend the conference to work out who the pseudonyms refer to. All speakers are welcome to decline consent (and thus quotes from their presentations will not be incorporated within the book).

Speakers will have travel and/or accommodation paid for, up to a total of £150. Additionally, there is a fund of £250 from which non-presenting attendees can claim travel costs, provided on a first come, first served basis. For those wishing to attend the event please contact the organisers of the workshop at the above email addresses or contact

4 thoughts on “Workshop on Subtyping Autism

  1. Thomas Clements article in the Guardian seems to be an attempt to bring back Kanner Syndrome as a widely used term. I never saw it mentioned once by him or any posts in the Comment is Free section thereafter. Point is, in what context and how universally do any of the classifications and terms really go further than our own little world? Do they need to? Good luck everyone x


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