The field of psychology has been buzzing for a while about alternative ways to conduct evaluations that can yield more objective, less biased, and more accurate results for our clients. I wrote recently about these challenges when conducting evaluations.
Various studies have popped up attempting to determine the genetic predisposition to certain neurodivergences, particularly autism, but the community has expressed concern that these tests may be focused on eliminating neurodivergence rather than offering appropriate support. There is a word for this goal – eugenics – and I hope I do not have to explain to my readers why it is bad.
While I am not saying that every genetic study on neurodivergence has this end goal, there is always the possibility that this information could be misused.
At the same time, existing systems are biased and lead to misdiagnosis, both preventing clients from getting the support they need and causing clients to be pushed into treatments that are not right for them. Unlike infectious disease, for instance, I cannot take a swab that will definitively indicate the client’s neurotype. But maybe there is something else we can observe directly!
Recently, I saw an article with Temple Grandin, who my publisher refers to as “the most famous autistic person,” though I am not sure how we measure that. Anyway, apparently an MRI of Temple Grandin’s brain showed observable differences from the MRI of someone who is not autistic.
Sure, a sample size of one is hardly definitive. But imagine this as a starting point for the future! We could point to an image of our brain and show, “See? I knew the way I experienced the world around me was different!” regardless of whether we sat through an assessment or made eye contact.
I am excited to see where this goes in the future.