Jill Bradshaw

Jill Bradshaw

Dr Jill Bradshaw is a Senior Lecturer in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and a Speech/Language Therapist -Tizard Centre, University of Kent. She has been working in this field for 25 year

Location Scotland


  • There are other steps in the course (with wider reading suggestions in the links in these steps) which explore genetics and biology and neuroscience in more detail. No single step is intended to be taken in isolation and all the different perspectives are pulled together through the course.
    We hope that you will continue with the course. We are always happy...

  • We are very sorry for any misunderstandings here. All of the academics and mentors who are involved with the course are very clear that autism exists. Indeed many of the people involved are themselves autistic. Our big question for the course centres around the current evidence around autism. There is currently NO evidence that we can find that identifies a...

  • @LorraineO'Connor I am really sorry to hear about your son's experiences and as @KrysiaWaldock has said, it sounds like you are asking all the right questions.

    I don't know whether the school have come across this resource? https://network.autism.org.uk/knowledge/insight-opinion/top-5-tips-autism-professionals-overcoming-barriers-inclusion Some of the...

  • @StephanieTaylor I am sorry that you are upset. Yes, we know that parenting is really important for all children. We explore this in future steps. Parents have a key role in supporting their autistic child and make a very real difference to their child's ability to cope. We also know that despite what some people used to think, autism is NOT caused by poor...

  • @ShilanSulaman We will explore this much more in future weeks. Certainly if you read information from many years ago, some people thought that autism was indeed caused by parents but we now know that this is certainly not the case. You might find this an interesting read. ...

  • @SusanWright sorry that you are feeling confused and hope that it will be clearer as you study more of the materials. We are asking this big question as a way of helping people to think about what we know about autism. We certainly do think autism exists!

  • Agree - it's something that we will certainly address in our updated material. Apologies for any offence caused.

  • @CarmenRose-Locke Great! Autistic researchers and practitioners have really increased our knowledge and understanding of autism

  • @KimLangridge sorry to hear about your experiences and it is good to hear that your mental health has improved.

    Waiting lists can be very long, with a recent report suggesting that waiting times are increasing. https://www.autism.org.uk/get-involved/media-centre/news/2019-06-20-new-report-adult-diagnosis-waiting-times.aspx

    You can find out some more...

  • Yes I agree

  • Hard to meet everyone's needs. Do you think that there are some core elements of 'good practice' that would help autistic children and non-autistic children too?

  • Often harder to diagnose autism in people with intellectual disabilities but certainly possible. We know that both conditions absolutely do exist.

  • I agree with you Christine that autism does exist but I can find no evidence that autism is caused by poor parenting. Have a look here perhaps https://www.autistica.org.uk/what-is-autism/autism-myths-and-causes or here https://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/volume-19/edition-7/romanias-children

  • http://researchautism.net/autism-issues/conditions-related-to-autism Dyslexia is one of a number of conditions which seem to be more likely to be present in autism

  • We are not necessarily surprised no. Important for us that we have information that gets people thinking and talking (and sometimes arguing!)

  • Important I think to note that we were presenting contrasting views here and certainly not saying that autistic people are always honest or always say exactly what they think. I wonder if you might find this interesting to read? http://www.spectrumwomen.com/my-life/thinking-the-autism-way-by-lisa-morgan/ Lisa talks about making social errors.

  • Always good to have something that generates discussion and hope that my post above has clarified the points that we wanted to make here

  • I wonder if this might help to illustrate the point? By Damian Milton
    The models of autism as presented by cognitive psychological theories, much like the triad of impairments, locate the difficulties faced by autistic people solely within the brains/minds of the ‘autistic person’, rather than the world in which they inhabit, or in the relations and...

  • These discrepancies are common. Yes. Fiona is probably best placed to comment on this.

  • Hi Ben. One of the things we will explore over the course is the diversity of skills and challenges. Some autistic people will have extreme challenges with being able to understand and use language, throughout their lives. It means we have to work harder at finding different ways of communicating. Very important that we adapt our communication and make it...

  • There is some very interesting work happening here http://bacdis.org.uk/membership/documents/Coventry_Grid.pdf
    that might be of interest. I need to make it very clear that we are no way suggesting that poor interaction or poor parenting is the cause of autism since we know that that is NOT the case. We will explore this issue in more detail throughout the...

  • Thanks for your comment Gilberte. There are many different reasons why someone might be non-verbal. You are right in that some autistic people are non-verbal but there are also many autistic people who are verbal. Children might be non-verbal for a variety of reasons. They might for example, have speech language and communication difficulties.

  • In later weeks, we will explore this is much more detail. Will look forward to your contributions and thoughts

  • Thanks John. Your comment is very helpful. Do you think of autism as a difference rather than a disability or disorder? This is certainly something we return to again and again over the course.

  • Thanks for raising this. We agree it is important to debate. I suspect we have used a mixture of person-first and non-person-first language throughout.

  • Yes I agree and we will be returning to this throughout the course!

  • Thanks everyone. One of the issues we ask about during diagnosis of autism is whether or not the child has acquired skills that they have then lost, e.g. talking. We don't have a very good understanding of what or why that happens I am afraid. Research suggests that subtle difficulties were often present before the loss of skills occurred, even if these are...

  • That is a really interesting question but yes!

  • Thanks everyone. I completely understand the resource issue but I think even with current constraints, it has to be better than it currently is.

  • I like the idea of a short table of terms to help us all keep up with current terminology and who prefers what and why. I think it would be out of date pretty quickly though. Of course always good to ask people what terms they prefer to use

  • You are quite right and we will explore this further. For me, impact of the difficulties on the person's ability to function is absolutely key in thinking about the diagnosis.

  • Thanks for sharing your experiences with us. I think come of the similarities and differences are being illustrated clearly. I will look forward to reading more as the course progresses. Great to hear about strengths as well as challenges.

  • Thanks for all your comments here. Hopefully we will answer some of these questions as the course progresses!

  • Yes that is correct. In DSM-V (the American system of classification) all of the 'subgroups' have been removed and autism spectrum includes Asperger's Syndrome. We will talk more about this over the course.

  • Very interesting comment Morgan and sadly that is our experience too. Many people wait a very long time for an assessment and the term we most often hear from parents is of having to 'fight'. That really shouldn't be the case.

  • Interesting question Sheila. We will come back to this over the course but we don't have any evidence that emotional trauma causes autism. There is a lot that we don't yet know about autism and we hope to explore that with you over the course.

  • Interesting comments on terminology here. What do other people think about whether we should use the term 'neurotypical'?

  • Good to have your comments on our introductory video and to read about your interest in autism. It seems like participants are from a diverse range of backgrounds and so that is going to add to the interest. Looking forward to reading your comments over the week.

  • Thanks Emily. It would need to be prolonged yes. For example, one of the diagnostic tools (the Autism Diagnostic Interview - Revised) suggests it must have going on for at least three months.

  • That is a very interesting point. I am not sure whether we have evidence currently of lack of prediction but certainly possible to argue for less dependence on previous mental schema. Perhaps have a look at the work of Pellicano and colleagues here: http://crae.ioe.ac.uk/post/74952404500/seeing-the-world-differently

  • Actually, we think that neurodiversity is entirely natural.

    I can certainly understand that you have strong feelings about whether or not autism exists. Do stick with us until through the course and you will, I hope, by the end, see why we asked the question and what our conclusions are. We certainly didn't intend any offence by our big question. We...